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Wellness

Discovering Mindfulness Through Meditation

Brittany McCallum

For years I struggled with expressing my feelings and emotions. I would immediately shut down because I didn't know how to explain the way I felt. Unconsciously, I thought the best way to handle uncomfortable situations was to remain silent, hiding behind blocks and barriers until the pain went away.

Through meditation, I discovered that it’s better to turn towards the messiness of life, and allow your heart to remain open and soft. This practice is not easy for someone like me who wants to get along with everyone. We want life to appear carefree, but it’s impossible to pretend that everything is always ok on the surface while we live in a world that tells us we are not good enough. We receive messages all day telling us “you would be better if…”. It’s a deep conditioned response in our culture that takes a lot of effort to escape. I learned that the best way to break those habits is to find peace within yourself. 

Meditation has taught me not to fixate on what I think a condition should be, and has allowed me to see differently by opening me up to a larger perspective. I can now accept things for what they are. When meditating, I often find myself caught up in what has passed or what’s to come, but my practice allows me to see a situation then let it go and watch those thoughts pass by. Meditation has retrained my thinking. You don’t have to fight or hide the negative thoughts. It’s better to acknowledge them as they come, keep a sense a gratitude for the experience, then move forward and let the next thought enter.

I used to keep my feelings and emotions bottled up because I didn’t want to deal with them, but I could only hold it inside for so long. In some cases, I would explode on the person who triggered an emotion that reminded me of something painful. Or even worse, I would go "ghost" which meant I was silent and did not talk to the person for months, never explaining why I was upset. Then I would get stuck replaying the situation over and over again in my head. I'd think of different ways I could have handled it and make assumptions of what the other person involved was thinking. Through meditation, I realized that this is not a healthy way of thinking and I discovered compassion and acceptance. We must be compassionate with ourselves before we can be compassionate with others.

Mediation is not just for people who struggle like me. It is for everyone! Honestly, I didn’t know I had any issues until I dove deeper into my mediation practice. I started meditating daily when I first started working for my brother. I got caught up doing everything for my little brother, and often put his responsibilities above mine.
Initially, I began meditating because I find it extremely important to do at least one thing for yourself each day and sometimes it was the only thing I did for myself. After some time, I found balance through meditation. At first I would meditate for 10 minutes when I woke up in the morning. I would set an intention and let that peaceful time set the tone for my day. Then I met Nick Anicich, a meditation coach, and through his classes I learned the art of letting go. After lots of practice I realized that you can’t control how you’re feeling, but you can control how to deal with the feelings. When you let go of judgement and comparison you find freedom. When you keep your heart open through pain and suffering you feel liberated.