One year ago I made a decision to change.
Nothing was really wrong in my life, but nothing felt quite right either. Things just felt dull, distant and disconnected.
On paper, I couldn’t complain. I had a job girls would kill for, a man I loved immensely and all of the privileges that come with being a white, upper-middle-class Canadian girl.
But inside, I felt like I was dying. Like I was losing the sparkle that made me special.
Everyday felt like a blur. Stress became my new normal. I became so focused on being the best employee, the thoughtful girlfriend and the cool best friend, that I’d completely lost my sense of self.
I’d feel her only in little glimpses. On a long summer hike, or laughing hard at my boyfriend’s inside jokes. She was there. But I’d buried her beneath a thickening layer of expectations, pressure and fear. And I could feel her slipping, further and further, with each passing day.
One year ago I made a decision to change.
I decided I was done being a character in other people’s stories. It was time to write my own tale.
It took a breakdown and a pile of self-help books to get me there. I felt scared, incapable and guilty for desiring more than I already had. But once I’d made the decision, there was no going back.
After years of trying to be somebody else, I was finally free to be me.
I spent last weekend totally off the grid at a retreat center in Algonquin Park called Northern Edge. Surrounded by the rugged beauty of Mother Nature, I reflected on my year of spiritual self-discovery. With nothing to distract me, there I was.
It’s so easy when we’re caught up in the day-to-day business of life to lose sight of the big picture. But, unplugged, I could see how much I’d transformed.
I’m a different woman today – in ways that can be measured, others that can’t.
While sitting on the floating dock with my feet splashing in Lake Kawaymog, the wind dancing through my hair, my intuition told me to write about my journey. To put into words the lessons I’ve learned and the wisdom I’ve gained since embracing this spiritual path a year ago.
I wrote this for all of you who are struggling to find authentic happiness. For those of you who feel disconnected, lost or stuck. We all have our reasons. We all carry our own stories, doubts and fears. I understand what it’s like to feel scared, buckling under the pressure of an achievement-based world, unsure of who I am or what I stand for.
Just know it doesn’t have to be that way. That whenever you’re ready, that life you’ve always dreamed of living, is available for you. You just have to remove the armor you’ve spent most of your life putting on and embrace the light inside.
1. Truth will set you free.
So many negative emotions stem from our inability to be honest with ourselves. Instead of looking inward, we look outward. And this starts early. As children and teens we choose “fitting in” instead of “being ourselves.” In university or college, we study subjects we couldn’t care less about because the economy tells us we need to get a “good job.” As adults, we date the guy who looks good on paper. We wear clothes that reflect a certain status. We chase the career that will make us appear a certain way to others.
We spend so much time crafting our image and so little time discovering what it is we truly want.
No wonder so many people struggle with anxiety and depression by the time they reach their twenties.
If you genuinely want to experience freedom, you’ve got to tell yourself the truth. You’ve got to begin to get real with yourself. To find out who you are, what you care about and why you’re here.
You’re an individual, with gifts, strengths and talents nobody else on the planet has. Your life’s work should be uncovering these unique abilities and finding a way to share them with the world. Not trying to be like everybody else.
Our power and our freedom lie in our authenticity. If we spend all of our time trying to be like everyone else, we will forever be powerless and trapped.
But if we embrace our authenticity and uncover our inner truth, life takes on a whole new meaning. It flows, magically and effortlessly, taking us on a journey greater than anything we could’ve ever imagined.
Happiness, love, joy, abundance and freedom – they all come from truth.
2. Fear vs. Love
Every thought, feeling, action and word is rooted in either fear or love. It’s that simple. There are only two choices.
When we act from a place of fear, we create more fear. When we act from a place of love, we create more love.
Before you speak, act or create, ask yourself, is this coming from a place of fear or love?
If it’s coming from a place of fear don’t do it, say it or think it. Instead, invite love into the situation. Try to see your struggle through compassion. And choose a thought, feeling, action or word that is rooted in love. If you begin to do this, miraculous shifts will occur in your life.
3. Meditation = Miracles.
My on-again, off-again relationship with meditation began when I was 19. It was the summer after my first year of university and I was struggling with an intense relationship. While reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, I became fascinated with the concept of meditation. While reading about her experiences in Bali, Indonesia, and India, something inside me lit up. I tried to meditate, but found it impossible to sit still with my nervous brain for more than 30 seconds – a sign that I was definitely stressed out.
Fast-forward six years.
Three months after I made the decision to reconnect with my spiritual self, I was guided to a meditation teacher in my hometown that teaches a technique called Transcendental Meditation.
She taught me how to calm my mind with a mantra and transcend into divine bliss. I’ve been meditating daily since January and have never felt more at peace myself, and the world. When we meditate we leave the stress of the physical world behind and connect with the divine. In stillness, the answers we’ve been searching for just come.
I could literally write an entire blog post about all of the serendipitous, auspicious and very trippy things I’ve experienced since opening up to meditation (… and maybe I will), but for now, just trust me. Spending time in stillness will create miracles in your life. I promise.
With SO much love + light,