Strange. It’s hard for me to remember who I was before meditation — the 20s and 30s me (I learned to meditate right before turning 41). The person I was then seems so far away now. A different person, really. When I try to remember her, I see someone who seemed to be winning at life according to all the things you’d check off the list of what success meant to me then. Married, two incomes, two kids, one dog, brand new house, yard, corporate gig, big church, cars, trips. Nothing fancy, but plenty of stuff.
Today I sit in a humble bungalow by the light of my morning windows listening to the mourning doves and happy birds sing as I write this. There’s no one in the house but me and my Goldendoodle, Carly. There’s a stillness here that wraps me up like a baby’s blanket. I look around my little house and love the colors I’ve chosen for the walls. Dark turquoise. Love the vintage chairs I bought off a friend, a spicy gold. I don’t have much in the way of stuff, except books. I have way too many books. I’m divorced (again) and my kids are adults. I don’t have anyone else sending me paychecks every Friday or contributing to my pension or 401k. I have what I need and a few things I love but not much more than that. Well, except freedom.
On my walls, I have drawings in bold red marker my friend Kim made for me. There are 5 of them, each one a representation of my core values. I came up with these values during a year of hardcore transformation. That girl I barely remember now was transitioning. Moving out of her cocoon into a new life. A messy process indeed! Not only was she leaving her home, marriage, and life as she knew it, she was leaving her shell of a self.
Those 5 red marker drawings hanging up today are: Beauty, Freedom, Adventure, Connection, and Joy. Each one has stood the test of time and proves to be just as real and true for me now as they were for the woman who emerged from that cocoon years ago. She has fewer things on the checklist of success but what she does have is a power that comes from something beyond the checklist. Beyond the to-do list. Beyond the raging norms. Beyond the mind. Beyond the expectations of everyone, even herself. It comes from deep within.
There’s a deep stillness that feels like an elixir of life and goodness that flows freely inside me as an endless spring, causing me to be nothing more than me – moment by moment – me. So how I show up in the world now is so different, I’m so different, I can barely remember who I was before meditation. Before I was consumed by stillness.
The girl I was then did plenty of winning at life which led her straight to a breakdown. That’s where meditation found me ten years ago, sitting naked in an empty bathtub in a zombie-like paralysis, with no desire to keep going and no clue what to do next.
That breakdown is what led me to meditation.
Meditation is what led me to my breakthrough. Ten years later I’m alive — really alive. My red marker drawings like reminders, signposts for who I am, how I live, and what matters most to me now.
Live in Beauty.
Feel deeply Connected.
Know I’m Free.
That girl back then — she’s not gone but she’s changed. She’s not who she used to be, she’s just more me.