I am sitting in Starbucks getting a charge and having some quiet time as I continue to write my story. I know your probably thinking, Starbucks and quiet time, what an absolutely absurd combination but being a frequenter of Starbucks I’ve realized that every Starbucks has its own personality, atmosphere and community. This is the largest I’ve seen. Its has a very intellectual and laid back personality. Now, I’m still in Starbucks, so there’s always several daily gatherings and business meeting happening but the majority of the frequenters seem to be readers, students and the occasional writer. There’s also a large segment of frequenters who are over the age of knowing. The ones with a little to a lot of gray in the hair, if you know what I mean. So, for me, this is the perfect place to sit, charge my phone and write.
Before I continue with my story, I want to pause and say thank you to M. You helped me start the path to awakening myself and for that I am eternally thankful and grateful. Not only for what you’ve done for me but for bravely and diligently doing the work first for yourself. A work that prepared you to help me rediscover who I am. Thank you, your an amazing person and I say I am blessed to have you in my life.
Now, M seemed to have a way of always knowing the perfect time. I now know why. It was her connection to her spirit. M seemed to since in me when it was time to move ahead. Keep it moving as she often repeated and still does to this day. But this next step, meditation or quiet time, was as foreign to me as seeing a lion laying down with a sheep.
Quiet time to a Type A personality, on steroids, is much like trying to hold running water in your hands. It’s never going to work. To many place for stuff to fall through. I admit it was terrifying, difficult and scary at first. The difficulty and scariness was facing all the crap that had accumulated in my mind and consciousness. I believe this is way I developed such an over the top Type A personality. To avoid all the garbage that was festering within me. I had no desire to confront the painful memories or relationships. So I kept busy, always creating something to keep me occupied. Quiet time or meditation was about to put a stop to that. I wasn’t going to be able to run from myself anymore.
Meditation: sitting in quiet focused stillness, breathing while bringing the mind into stillness. Sounds pretty easy, sitting in focused stillness, it wasn’t. In the beginning, as I was working to acquire the skill, I could only sit for a few minutes. It seemed like hours but in fact it would only be about 3 or 4 minutes before my mind was bombarded by so much chatter that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I needed to stop. Thankfully, M somehow knew exactly how much time to play the cassette. She never asked more of me than I could handle, but the seed was planted.
Everyday M and I met and everyday after we had completed our activites, which were usually filled with fun and laughter, M would find that perfect moment, pop in a cassette, light a few candles and we would set on the floor for quiet time. To be honest I didn’t like it at first. I didn’t like feeling all the stuff that rose up and I definitely didn’t like feeling out of control. There’s the rub. Here was the core of my problem. I didn’t like the feeling that I was losing control. I soon realized the illusion, I was not in control. The truth was, my life was vastly out of control. I had constructed a false since of control in an attempt to never face myself. Why, because I had allowed others to convince me that I wasn’t good enough, that I needed to be different and that there was something wrong with who I was.
This was the garbage that was fermenting within me. So, with a great deal of efforting, I attempted to create myself around the expectations of others. Who and what they thought I should be. The more I pretended, the worst I felt. The worst I felt the more I efforted to be different. The more I efforted to be different the more I had to pretend and the worst things got. Through all the efforting I could only maintain the illusion for a brief period of time, than I would show up. The I that wasn’t good enough. The I that loved life and having fun. The I that was loving, kind and
non-judgmental, who only wanted to be happy be who I was. The I that loved making everyone smile. All of that sounds great, so who would want to change me. Here is the problem, I was non-conventional and non-traditional in every way. I didn’t want to fit in society as I saw it. I tried being like everyone else but I had my own way of looking at things. I couldn’t fit into the traditional norms and be myself. I knew there had to be more. More to life than just fitting in.
Overtime and with lots of deliberate focused practice, meditation helped me to feel a calmness and acceptance of my true self. The turbulence was beginning to subsided and healing had began. Those few minutes in the beginning grow to hours. I grow to love the stillness and quietness of meditation. I began to wash way all the expectations that had caused me so much pain and discomfort inside. I was becoming my authentic self. There are still times when I wobble a bit and allow outside noise to penetrate my calmness. But I now understand that my mind isn’t a hotel. I was getting my power back and I didn’t have to allow anything to take up residency that wasn’t in alignment with who I am.
I’ve been on this journey for over 30 years and meditation is still a work in progress. I don’t think I’ll ever master it but I’ll never stop working at it. At this point I can say, with confidence, I’m not who I thought I needed to be anymore, I am that, I am and in complete happiness with I AM.
to be continued…