I wasn’t always a meditator. In fact, I was as close to a never gonna meditate in my life person as one could get. The thought of sitting there with my eyes closed felt impossible. I didn’t have to try very hard to imagine the types of thoughts that would undoubtedly come to mind. They popped into my head when I was busy working, in conversation with friends, while nursing my babies. I knew that closing my eyes wouldn’t change a thing for me except to make me more miserable. Every moment with my eyes closed was filled with dread and anticipation, like going to the cinema without knowing what movie is playing but having a sinking feeling that you’re in for a horror show.
For years I lived with undiagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder. My main symptom was violent intrusive thoughts. I experienced these daily, on a loop. They caused extreme anxiety and panic attacks. To combat these feelings I kept myself busy, making sure to occupy my mind as much as possible. There wasn’t a lot of room for rest and relaxation so I eventually ran myself ragged. With the help of an OCD specialist, I learned how to manage my symptoms. I figured out how to deal with intrusive thoughts and how to take my anxiety with me but I was still stressed and overwhelmed by real life stuff.
It wasn’t until the start of the pandemic that I discovered meditation. “Discover” is a funny word to use because I had known about meditation for most of my adult life. It wasn’t a secret that had been kept from me. What I should say is, it wasn’t until the start of the pandemic that I discovered that whatever I was doing to manage myself wasn’t enough. The therapy and the “self-care” weren’t cutting it. I decided to try the thing that I swore I would never do because it wouldn’t work and was too scary. I signed up for a learn to meditate course.
I guess I should tell you now that it worked. I’m a meditator now. Through meditation I’ve learned that I can make make room for whatever experience I am having, even if I don’t particularly like it. I’ve been able to access this space within myself that remains constant even while everything else changes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the same messy mom of two that loves eating takeout sushi at the park. I still show up late to the occasional school drop off, give my kids too many French fries and refuse to drive on road trips. But I am no longer scared to be with my own mind and that is something.