{Why I started meditating}

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{Why I started meditating}

The art of meditation is described as an awareness of self suspended in time. To calm the mind and to become aware of your own divine power. We all have trauma that shows up in adulthood which many of us never truly heal. This is the story of my meditation practice and why I started meditating and how, by simply changing my mind, I healed parts of myself that I never knew needed healing.

2020 and 2021 were by far the most exhausting yet somehow the most exciting times for me. I personally have never in my 39 years on this planet we call Earth, ever experienced such highs and lows, and yet have managed to fall so completely in love with being alive! How is it possible to describe the transformation that I have gone through? Words seem to escape me when I sit down and try and write it all down. Yet I feel compelled to share my story.

The end is just the beginning

Growing up as an immigrant child in Canada was by no means a perfect upbringing but it is also what has led me to live a life I so proudly honour and defend. My past is part of my story. I will be the first to admit that as a child I was very confused about who I was. I suffered with identity crisis and thought I knew everything yet was so unsure of myself I lacked the ability to think for myself. But I always questioned what was normal. I never fit into any mold. I was always an outsider looking in wanting so desperately to fit in that I put on any mask and pretended I knew who I was. I was a sports geek, an oversized loner, a goth, a hippie, a drug addict and an alcoholic and even thought I was gay at one point in my life. Nothing was normal and I longed to find out who I was.

Throughout all those experiments and facets of my identity I was always unhappy. There was always something missing from my life. I was always a shadow that could never been fully seen. I guess you could say I floated. An empty shell that lied to myself about knowing who I was and what I wanted. Through each experience I gained snippets of a very large puzzle which to this day I’m still trying to piece together. Enter a “pandemic” that has now forced me to sit with my stories and exhume them one by one. I have felt so many emotions and feelings in the last year and a half that I still find them hard to navigate. I am by no means perfect but I have finally come to realize that my story matters and I matter. In the grand scheme of things and how the world has evolved I am here for a reason. I have a purpose and so do you. What has felt like an end has truly become a beginning. I know I’m not alone. I know there are others out there who feel the same sentiment about the current state of our world. I know deep in my soul that we are destined for much higher and greater things. We are after all souls having a human experience. And that my dear is where we need to start.

My spiritual closet

I guess you can say I grew up in a spiritual closet. Although I was brought up in the Catholic church I denounced my faith early on. My first memory of school back in Poland was weekly walks to the church down the street from our school. I have vivid images of nuns slamming rulers on knuckles of my schoolmates as well as myself for not praying loud enough. Or not praying correctly for that matter. Catholics have always been known to be somewhat extreme just ask any good Irish Catholic. Although I was raised to go to church, pray and practice being a good catholic, I was never actually told HOW to be a good catholic. According to everyone I knew, it meant going to church, praying and practicing all catholic holidays.

There were far too many questions that I struggled to answer. Yet I found myself so conflicted with what I was TOLD to do versus what I felt was the right thing TO DO. So naturally at the age of 14 I started to look elsewhere for answers. It saddens me to acknowledge that I fell for the trap of the dark world of Satanism. I was intrigued because I was unable to get any straight answers from any catholic in my life so I went so far opposite I became obsessed with the occult. Mind you I did not at the time fully understand how dark and how far this hole went. I became obsessed with musicians like Marilyn Manson and NIN, even went so far as to read literature about the Manson murders, shaved my eyebrows off, only wore black clothes and black makeup. I also smoked a lot of pot, drank and skipped school daily. I was a rebel. I denounced any sort of spiritual connection to source. I had no time for trivial pursuits but was angry with the world and my own family for not having answers. I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused. And I lashed out at the world and at myself.

However, during this time of confusion I still had a deep knowing that there was something else out there. I had to look so deep outside myself that I abandoned the gothic lifestyle and went once again looking for answers in a different direction. When I was 16 I changed my look, grew some dreads and became obsessed with era of the 60’s. I smoked even more pot and continued rebelling against the establishment. I looked to Buddhism, Hinduism, Tarot, tried meditation and I also started experimenting with mushrooms and LSD. There were moments that I recall when I longed for the experience of escaping my life. I was always escaping. Even when I look back and think that I was being “spiritual” I was just looking for a door to escape through. I was not battling my demons but suppressing them further down. I was not yet ready to deal with myself.

There are no accidents

Once high school ends things move rather quickly and you’re forced to become an adult even if you’re not ready. The world doesn’t care. You start working or go onto post-secondary. You loose contact with friends. You move. You meet new people. I however needed to truly find myself. And in order to find myself I had to start from the beginning. So I stopped drinking and doing drugs and I went back to basics. I moved in with my boyfriend, worked two jobs and I became a recluse. I watched everyone living their best lives and partying but I had no interest. By the time everyone caught up to me I no longer craved those experiences. When everyone was going to the bars I was going to bed because I had to get up and work. This lifestyle continued for a few years until I felt myself becoming a ghost again. An empty shell of a human. During this time I felt a strong urge to go back to school as I needed to do something with my life. I remembered taking an aptitude test back in high school and according to that test my best suited career path was Massage Therapy. So that’s what I did because that’s what someone told me I should do. And so I enrolled and went to night school. Life was good. I was safe. I had my little apartment and my boyfriend and I was content. Until, I wasn’t.

In the summer of 2003 I travelled to Europe and spent 2 months backpacking Amsterdam, Austria, Germany and Poland. It was the happiest and the safest as well as the most connected to myself I felt in a long time. I felt like I had found a small piece of myself on that trip. But upon my return to Canada my life was halted as my 4.5 year relationship came to a screeching halt. I was faced with the daunting task of picking myself up and continuing on. So in my depression I turned to drinking. The only thing I could do to escape yet again. I moved in with a good friend and I stopped working, going to school and started going to the bars instead. This pattern continued for months. The drinking did not fill any void. The partying did not fill any void. For I was still forced to look at myself in the mirror every morning as I struggled to get out of bed and pretend I was happy with what I was doing.

So in my downward spiral of self pity I became more and more unhappy. I still had no idea who I was or what I was supposed to do with my life. I was empty and miserable and running out of money and options. So I booked myself a one way ticket to Australia and got myself a work visa and made plans to once again look for an escape. I still refused to look at myself as a product of my own reality. I was desperate to find something that brought me joy and I remembered how amazing I felt during my trip to Europe the year before so I felt like travelling was my best bet to finding happiness. But the universe had other plans. I met my husband before I departed for Australia and so Australia ended up being a place I only visited for a brief moment in time.

With the immense support of my now husband, I went back to school in the fall of 2004 to finish my Massage Therapy program. I began working in 2005, had babies, got married, bought a house. Did all the things that I thought I HAD to do in order to find my happiness as an adult. I escaped so far outside myself that I latched onto others to find what I lacked. I lacked the inner knowing that I was enough. That I was happiness. I was love. I was everything that I was searching for. For years I floated in between what felt like space and time. Empty. Miserable. Full of self pity and resentment for not feeling like I was doing enough or accomplishing what others around me were achieving in their own lives. The trap of the Matrix is a massive construct that enslaves us into doubting ourselves. A world were we are not taught how to heal ourselves. A world meant to keep you miserable and dependant on the system itself. It is not until you realize how to heal your past traumas and heal yourself that you can rise above it and find a way out. I found that way out through meditation.

Beyond the borders of the mind

For those who know me, know my journey had stared in 2017 with the overhaul of my lifestyle that encompassed healing my physical body. My carnivore journey is what brought me to this current place and time in my life. Healing the physical was only part of the process. It wasn’t until 2020 hit that I was yet again forced to take an even closer look inside myself. 2020 had proved a tumultuous year for billions of people on this planet. It was a time of upheaval and uncertainty like we have never experienced in our lifetime. It was also a year that I finally learned the real truth about myself and the world around us.

While healing the physical I was able to get a better sense of who I was as an individual. My mental clarity from my diet and lifestyle proved that what you eat and consume does make a critical difference in your outlook on life and yourself. I have always been an advocate for healthy eating and healthy lifestyle options but it was not until I started incorporating daily meditation that I truly became aware of myself on a whole new level.

When I first started meditating it felt awkward. Like I was an imposter pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Yet, the more I sat with myself, the more I listened and the more the inner knowing grew. I started to truly sit and listen to that little voice we call “intuition” or our “gut feeling”. At first it was very quiet but over a few months it grew louder with each passing day. An inner knowing that maybe everything that I had been searching for wasn’t found in anyone or anywhere else. That my happiness was solely my responsibility and that I was in full and utter control of my life.

I stared experimenting with changing my thoughts on a daily basis. Through meditation I was guided to start looking at my life in patterns. What I usually wanted to achieve on a day to day basis became easier to manifest. There was no need to invest in self help books or gurus. No need to join a church or a group that studied religious texts. I simply changed my thoughts and my days began to change rapidly. From dreading the mundane of everyday I began to wake each morning with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. With each encounter I grew to listen to what that little voice inside my head was telling me. Be patient. Be kind. Trust the universe. As time progressed I wanted to learn everything that I could about the world around me. I became intrigued with the things that we cannot see but rather the things we feel. I paid closer attention to nature and was able to start feeling energies more and more rapidly. It felt like an explosion went off inside and I had to get as much information as possible.

I started to feel at peace with myself and those closest to me. A deeper knowing grew inside and it started to manifest in ways I never would have thought possible. The doors to my spiritual closet were wide open and I felt compelled to keep it growing. I had a drive to feed it almost daily. I no longer looked to a specific religion or a group of individuals. All I had to do was listen to my own voice. The more I listened the more I knew that I could not escape myself. No matter where you go, there you are. I had to become uncomfortable with all the things I avoided my entire life. I would have to feel all the emotions of childhood traumas no matter how uncomfortable to start the healing process. I would often find myself crying and laughing at the same time during some meditation sessions. The overflow of emotion and the comfort that it brings are not something I can describe. There are no words that can begin to come close to explaining how profound opening myself up to myself has been on my life.

Meditation is not a one stop shop. It’s not what everyone thinks it is. It’s a daily practice of getting to know the real you. The one that you know exists. Not the one your parents told you. Or your teachers. Or your friends. You know yourself better than anyone ever could. And that’s where it has to start. To truly know thyself is to look at life and know that what you do matters. To know that you are here for a reason and a purpose. And to be kind to yourself. To be gentle. To be everything you know you can be without judgement. Without resentment. With utter and unconditional love for yourself.

Between the life that we lead and the one that we pray for

Give us balance on the past that there’s no need to ask for more

Between the love that we seek and the love that’s already there

Let it soften my soul and focus my stare

Drew McNamus
Aneta Dang

Aneta Dang

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