Updated: Sep 2, 2021
The first time I ever meditated I was 16 and curled up in the fetal position on a vinyl couch in an emergency room. My head was throbbing with a pain that hadn’t left me alone in days and I was on the verge of vomiting. And no, I wasn’t pregnant. This isn’t that kind of after school special.
I was a teenager from Missouri so I had never heard of meditation before but somehow, balled up on that couch, something inside me said that following my breath would help me manage the pain. So that’s what I did. I noticed my inhale. Watched my exhale. Rinse and repeat. And hot damn! It worked. Whoever was talking inside of me-let’s call her Kathy, was right.
After a few days in the hospital modern medicine finally cured me of an ailment that I literally cannot even begin to spell. And after a brief 19 year pause, Kathy popped in on August 24, 2017 and told me to pick back up the practice of meditation. Again, she was right. Today marks four years of practice. Every day. Even during the stomach flu of 2018. Even through this entire goddamn Global Palindrome. I sat every day. Some days I laid down. Some days I didn’t want to do shit but my ego and Kathy wouldn’t let me break the streak. So I did as much as I could bear. For 1,461 days I have shown up and taken my seat. To manage the pain. To connect. To celebrate. To bring me to today.
I’ve spoken before on how meditation has led me down paths that would have been absolutely unfathomable to me BM (Before Meditation). Once again, I am surprised at where it has taken me. Through my practice I found an amazing teacher in Zen Buddhist priest, rev angel Kyodo williams. After attending one of her half day online sits I joined her group, The Liberated Life Network. It was there she announced a partnership with MNDFL, a meditation center based out of New York. Together they created an online mindfulness certification program. When rev. mentioned this program was accepting submissions. Kathy piped up and said: "Sweetie, this is for you." Turns out? BIG KATH KNOWS HER SHIT.
We started on February 18th, 2021. I was chest deep in winter Panini isolation and I couldn’t wait to connect to this space and the people in it. And I wasn’t disappointed. The folks I met there were fierce, kind, open hearted, and full of grace. They could hold whatever was brought forth. The light and the dark. Every time we met on zoom I would start out a tired sack of quarantined bones and leave the two hour session a re-inflated human being. Invigorated even. There were hours of video modules and readings each week. Writings that discussed community care, being a trauma informed instructor, how racism affects the body, and much more. I l devoured every sentence. Instead of being shaped into what MNDFL thought was the "right" type of instructor, I was encouraged to lean into my edges and creativity when leading practice. I even learned that I didn't have to be perfect to be a good facilitator, I just had to be me. Holy shit! Kathy Live Laugh Loved that.
A few weeks ago I received my certification. Which I promptly placed in a frame that I bedazzled with gold jewels. And because I am Extra and the last year and a half has given us so little to celebrate, I pulled out the camera and found a couch to document this mindfulness milestone. A couch that is much nicer and softer than the couch I began meditating on 23 years ago. A couch I wasn’t on because of pain but because of pride, joy, reverence for my practice, and love for that absolute smoke show Kathy. Who to this day, has never steered me wrong.
To celebrate four years of listening to Kathy, I’m bringing back the two week free trial of The Compassionate Creative Collective, an online membership where we meditate and create in community until Monday, September 6th. Learn more and sign up for your free two week trial here!
I also offer mindfulness for the workplace. If you think your team could use some connection and maybe even some lovingkindness book a time here to discuss what that could look like for you and your company.
*As always the opinions expressed here are my own also, to be clear I do not believe mediation is a replacement for pain medication. I take plenty of ibuprofen because I am in my late 30s for pete's sake. I encourage you to explore and find what works best for you in all things because you are the expert in you. Thank you for reading!