If you read my last post, I talked about how a component of grasping self-sufficiency was dealing with my personal emotional stability. When I reference emotional stability, I don’t mean that I’m walking around perfectly fine then all of a sudden I’m smashing things, but I’m acting, as most of us do, in a way that does not reflect how I really feel. I suppress things because it’s better to not deal with them, to save others, and/or to hope that they will eventually go away. With suppression, I’ve tried to tone this part of me all the way down so I am not perceived as crazy and it has only translated to me lacking display of emotions altogether and leaving me with people constantly questioning, “What’s wrong?” I robotically answer, “It’s not me, it’s just my face,” but I’ve recently started to center in on the “it’s not me” portion. When I found myself an emotional low point this semester (yes, it’s possible even when you’re having the time of your life), a friend of mine recommend I meditate.
The concept of meditation is not new to me. I’ve always been interested in starting meditation, but I’ve found myself at a crossroads between not being able to because I can’t “quiet my thoughts,” and the whole pseudo-spiritual nature of it all. I can now say that I was dumb for believing that. I did also realize that I’d already opened that door for myself since I graduated high school when I read Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and I unabashedly fell in love with Eat, Pray, Love. Cliché, I know, just like my choice to have a picture of the ocean as my post image, but these were my first steps. After revisiting both, I decided to embark on Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge and I have not turned back since. I completed the challenge this week and I was actually sad at first. I was fearful of the idea of having to practice this without a daily guide especially considering how much I looked forward to it. This morning was my first morning going at it alone and it was pretty hard to get started without having a centering thought or focus of the day, but I managed to find a way and for that, I am proud of myself. I’ve never felt more in control of my life and my emotions. I see things through a completely different lens and I no longer feel the need to conform to social standards and unspoken rules.
The 21-Day Meditation Challenge is more than sitting in silence or soothing sounds with your thumb connected to your middle finger and humming aloud. In fact, it’s none of these things (with the exception of soothing sounds). It’s about becoming interconnected with your spirit that includes centering in on your thoughts and recognizing your worries, fears, excitements, all the things that make us who we are. It’s about practicing how to become more in tune with your mind’s natural daily functions and using them to benefit yourself. The first week is about defining abundance and how to begin creating it within your life. The second week is about putting the desire of abundance into practice. The final week is about practicing what you have learned and reflecting on how you’ve ultimately become in charge of what makes your life. Just from changing my thought process, and not even to positive thoughts necessarily, I’ve seen changes manifest daily. I will say that meditation is not a full-proof system. It doesn’t work for a lot of people. It takes a lot of diligence, willpower, and patience. It also requires a lot of attention. I would recommend if not for anything but having an outlet to re-center yourself.
To top off the closing of my meditation challenge, I also challenged myself to get off of social media (with the exception of Tumblr) for a week. I just felt it was, for lack of a better description, taking over my life. Foolish as it sounds, I think some people would agree with me. I needed to detox and the first day was brutal. I felt so out of touch. I saw notifications popping up on my home screen and the little red bubble was taunting me, but I resisted. I can honestly say that after a while I didn’t feel much of a need to check my social platforms outside of just wanting to get rid of the notifications. It also allowed me to be fully engaged with my friends and family as I returned home this week. I’ve decided to do another week starting tomorrow because I’m pretty ashamed to say how quickly it sucked me back in. My goal is not to ween myself off of social media indefinitely or even for an extended period of time, but to learn to reconnect with others in a way that I am fully present.
If there’s anything I learned from these past three weeks, it’s that self-care and simply acting out of what benefits you (assuming no one else is knowingly getting hurt in the process) is not being selfish. If you find ways to take care of yourself, you’ll learn how to be of service to others. It’s a gratuitous feeling to be able to be present in daily life without waiting for your turn. In devoting myself to this practice, I’ve found the release I’ve needed since junior year of high school. The weight of expectation, from all sides, has been lifted and I finally feel genuinely happy and free. 🙂
“There is that in me-I do not know what it is-but I know it is in me…Do you see O my brothers and sister? It is not chaos or death-it is form, union, plan-it is eternal life-it is Happiness.” – Walt Whitman