Growing up, I was raised in a Catholic family that taught me a lot more about fear than it did about love.
Like most people who grow up in Catholic homes, I understood guilt more than I understood my divinity and my connection to God. Despite feeling lost and confused by all of this, I took a lot of things away from it that stick with me to do this day.
The most important thing was a belief in something greater than myself. I always found it easy to accept the idea of something big and glorious permeating the whole Universe - something bigger than everything, like a warm blanket that held us all, even though we couldn't see it. The idea that there was something out there that unconditionally loved everyone, including me, made more sense to me than most other things in the world.
It wasn't until I was an adult and seeking my own answers that I began to understand that the pure, divine love of God isn't just something "out there", but something within me, and within all of us.
As I grew older, the guilt and fear I had buried in me became mixed with endless feelings of insecurity and self-loathing. I felt ill-equipped to face the world. I suffered from constant anxiety, particularly in social settings. I didn't believe in myself. I didn't know how to feel good, and by my early twenties, I was drowning in doubt and fear.
Like most people suffering from depression, I suffered silently. No one knew there was a problem until the day the cracks I'd so carefully concealed became too large and I could no longer hide my problems. I went into therapy and was put on anti-depressants. Therapy taught me something that I had never encountered before - I could talk about myself without feeling judged or afraid of punishment. I was also told for the first time that I'm in charge of my life. Even though past issues and circumstances had brought me to this point, I had the power within me to change it all.
This seed of an idea - that I am not powerless and helpless, but rather filled with latent abilities to thrive - would slowly change everything for me.
After a year on anti-depressants I felt that there must be a better way for me. I didn't believe there was something fundamentally wrong with my mind. I didn't believe I had been born this way. After all, I had once been a happy child who knew nothing of this kind of darkness. Surely that bright, radiant person must still be within me. I just needed to find the right tools. I needed to find how to manage stress and anxiety. I needed to understand my own innate worthiness, which had nothing to do with success, appearance, approval or status. It had to do with the fact that I existed, and my own existence was proof that I belong here and am part of something bigger.
When I went off my anti-depressants I was 22. I had no idea of the rocky road ahead of me. Seeking new and unknown ways of living and looking at myself challenged everything I had known up until that point. I was thrust into an endless state of discomfort and drifting.
For a long time I was a mess, caught between wanting to return to simply burying it all, and feeling so close to finding a new and better way.
It wasn't until I was 25 that I began exploring meditation. Meditation changed everything. I had no idea where to begin, and as this was over a decade ago, I didn't know anyone that was exploring this also. I found audios online and I began to try different ways of breathing, visualizations that shifted my perspective and chants in words I didn't understand. I had no idea what was happening. I only knew something was happening and I had to know more.
After years of listening to all kinds of meditation tracks, my desire to share what was happening in my life was brimming forth from within me. I was experiencing genuine happiness. I no longer felt like I was reacting to life with fear, but instead flowing with it, like a thread weaving through a majestic tapestry.
I eventually began this website, partly as a way to connect with others, and partly as a way to continue my own journey. Realizing I was at the point where I was ready to make my own meditations, and to share what I had learned in my own way, was mind blowing.
I had no idea I could come that far. I had no idea change could be so big and profound I wouldn't even recognize my former self.
I hope you enjoy some of what I've shared within these pages. I am still learning, still growing and still amazed at the way life continues to surprise and confound me. If you have something to share with me in return, please use the form below. I don't know what brought you here, but I'm glad you came.
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