Anxiety and fear have ruled me my whole life. Both have been my mantra, my direction, and in some moments my savior. But, living in a state of fear and anxiety rots the soul, and the body, and spreads that rot to all who come into contact with it. I was given the gift of facing death in the last five years. Looking directly at your own mortality is like looking into the vastness of space. It gives you perspective.
Last year – summer 2015 – I decided, after reading Aung San Su Kyi’s book Freedom from Fear, to let go…to relinquish the vice grip that anxiety and fear had on my heart. My life was forever changed. The seed planted then is still just growing now and each day it needs mindful tending and the weathering of many storms, but a new way of being has been planted and its roots grow stronger each day.
Life is too short to live in fear, worry and regret. There is only now. Each moment is the last moment to choose – peace or fear.
On July 27, 2016, I embarked on a more intentional personal journey toward peace and happiness. A daily sunrise practice of yoga and meditation has become my new anchor. Enlightenment and compassion my new life path. I have read that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Each day now is a step toward this mastery.
After only 6 1/2 hours of meditation to date (like a tip of my toe in the water) I have noticed a marked difference in my way of being in the world. I feel more at peace each day. I feel less stressed, anxious and worried about the future. I am less angry and impatient. I am more mindful of how my actions impact others and have more compassion. I can sit and focus on a single thing for many minutes at a time. I am more productive. I feel happy. I am more confident and comfortable in my own skin. Only 6 1/2 hours…
This is a journey of 10,000 steps and then many many more. In Buddhist thought it may take many lifetimes. It is a lesson in the little things adding up, the incremental, a gentle patience and recognition that the journey IS the outcome. I am curious what I will learn along the way. I am curious how this path will change me. I am hopeful that this path will infect others around me with happiness as well. I share this journey in the hope that others may learn from any insights and struggles I come across along the way.
Mindfulness is the backbone of the slow life. It feeds the growth of all other areas of a happy and meaningful life by helping with us recognize that it matters how we spend our time. What we do with the moments of each day defines us and ripples out beyond ourselves.
For anyone interested in taking up meditation I highly recommend the App “Calm”. It is a good way to start as a beginner and it can be taken with you anywhere.