For the past two months I have been standing in front of my peers with a slideshow behind me, clicker in hand, and a mouthful to say about mobility & movement and healthy eating.
Last week we changed gears and started a 4-week journey into mindfulness and mind training. Leading up to the first seminar I was panged with anxiety.
How could I most authentically convey the importance of meditation and mindfulness?
Reflecting back on my own journey, I remembered that I didn't start meditating one day because I thought, "oh yes, this is a good for me, let me do this everyday."
No, it was more like, "I don't have a choice but to do this."
Doubt filled my mind.
"Who am I to talk about meditation? I'm no renowned spiritual teacher."
"Who am I to layout steps towards happiness and contentment?"
"Am I even happy?"
I've walked for miles up and down mountains, driven for hours solo along the coast, camped in nature for days to reconnect with the force of Source, traveled to India to learn meditation, spent countless hours in the yoga studio and gym, spent thousands of dollars on coaching and workshops, have a well-established library of self-help books, have filled journals cover to cover, sat in silence at a meditation retreat for hours on end for 10 days just watching my crazy monkey mind, all in the quest for happiness.
And after all of that, I've learned that happiness does not come easily.
Happiness is a practice; it takes work.
To tell others, "just watch your thoughts and let them go," would be a gigantic disservice. Mind training may be simple in theory, "be present, equanimous, release attachment to thoughts" but let's face it, actually practicing that stuff is tough.
Sometimes it's really hard to let go and we get stuck. You can be stuck for minutes, days, or years. You can't plan on when it's coming and you can't run from it when it comes; it consumes you.
But, without those dark moments life would be terribly boring.
It's very important to know that there's nothing wrong with you when you feel low. I'm pretty sure everybody does sometimes; it's just that no one talks about it. It's as if we put on a mask to the outside world and get really good at replying, "I'm great" when others ask how you are. So you suffer alone.
But this is not true....suffering is part of the human condition. There will be love and loss, there will be disappointments, pain, and failures for everyone.
Look at the bright side- there will be love, there will be miracles, joy, and there will be authentic success!
When I feel stuck I discover my greatest strengths. I learn ways to get out of the dark hole:
a) courage to face the darkness
b) faith that the moment will pass and faith in Source and universal intelligence
c) self-discovery, healing, and life lessons that I am then able to share with others.
Standing in front a room full of people with all eyes on me sharing one of my darkest moments was terrifying. I let go of being the expert. I let go of self-consciousness, and I let go of the barrier that stood between my peers and myself.
It was terrifying, but simultaneously immensely liberating. It was as if it came through me without my control, thought, or effort.
In that moment, I learned what it truly means to be vulnerable. I felt seen, heard, and most importantly loved.
Sometimes we think we are only loved or liked if we achieve more, acquire more accolades, more money and success; live the life we think we ought to rather than face who we are. I'm learning that loving all of myself no matter what the circumstance is the greatest achievement.
When I teach meditation and mindfulness, I am sharing my journey. I teach because I am a student of myself and this life experience. We are all in this together and the best thing we can do is support each other through the good and bad until we see it all as one in the same.