For many years, I did a lot of things.
I ran a lot of miles.
I did a lot of exercise classes.
I was very competitive in all of my hobbies.
I worked very hard at my job.
I drank a lot of wine.
This is what I thought I liked at the time:
The structure and cadence of working towards a goal.
The long hours it took training or practicing for the goal.
This is what it looked like on the outside:
I was goal oriented and focused!
I was committed!
I was an overachiever!
I was a fun!
This is what others said they thought of me:
You’re such a fast runner!
You’re so fit!
You’re so balanced with your health and profession!
This is what was going on inside:
I can’t take a day off from running or I will have to face myself all day with energy.
I can only face myself if I’m tried, worn out or buzzed on wine.
I already achieved some goals, now I have to keep achieving goals because that is what others expect.
I know my flaws so if others know them, they won’t like me.
This is a pretty raw and honest post. Stay with me, I have a point.
All of these things were distraction tactics. I needed to distract myself from me (Real-Deal-Me) and my flaws. I had built up my small flaws to the point that they completely overshadowed everything else. The more I distracted and separated myself from RDM, the bigger my flaws were and the more I needed the distraction. So the distraction itself fed the need for even greater distraction.
It was a pretty brutal cycle and it caused me a tremendous amount of suffering. I felt like I was fighting a battle, my RDM wanted to be acknowledged and honored, but I kept pushing away. I felt that if I honored my RDM, the ‘me’ that the outside world perceived would crumble. The ‘outside’ had a very strong and controlling grip on me.
Meditation is the practice of going within. It was my meditation practice that gave me a means to start to pay attention to the RDM. Going within started really simple for me. I found the edges of my form and focused on keeping my awareness within that form. So the minutes spent in meditation became my time to spend with RDM. I had to meet her. And I had to get to know her. And then eventually, I could pay attention to her.
Over time, the cycle changed. It has come the point where not listening to RDM is what causes me stress and anxiety. Feeling separated from her, or too tired to listen to her, is now my uncomfortable place. I’m ok with saying no to the things I honestly don’t want to do. The self-imposed pressure to maintain the ‘outside-me’ has lessened, to the the point where I would say that it no longer has a controlling grip on me. The ‘outside-me’ no longer controls my thoughts or my actions.
I noticed this last weekend when I went to a wine festival with a friend. I remember a time where I didn’t think I could ever go to something like that without getting sucked into the need to dampen my thoughts or my internal connection with a glass or two of alcohol. But when I was there, I didn’t want to remove myself from me. I wanted to be me the entire time.
In my meditation journey, the question of ‘how do I know if it is working’ often comes up. It can be hard to allow mediation to take it’s due time, so I wanted to share this experience that was apparent last weekend during the wine festival. It wasn’t a quick switch, but over time, meditation has really helped me with self-honesty and to be comfortable in my own skin. I am more comfortable with me than I have been in a very long time, flaws and all. For me, this is a true sign that meditation is working.
Meditate & be well.