I’ve been practicing and teaching mindfulness for a number of years now. There are a number of benefits to meditating regularly but the biggest one might not be the one that you think of…
A few years ago, my world looked pretty different.
I was working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), had a small group a friends and was living with my best friend/roommate. Oh, and I was so painfully shy that I struggled with speaking with anyone outside of my tight knit circle.
When I say anyone, I mean anyone.
Friends, acquaintances, waiters… anyone and everyone.
As you can imagine it made my life pretty difficult.
I struggled with speaking up in work meetings.
Meeting new people? Forget about it.
It was always a full on deer in headlights situation and one of my friends would often have to answer for me.
Here I was, trying to create a life for myself complete with a social circle and knocking my goals out of the park…
And was getting stuck at every turn because of that voice inside my head that was filling me with doubts and fears.
Did I enjoy my life? Of course I did! I loved my work and my friends and ultimately I had no complaints.
Yet I knew that there was more out there. I just didn’t know how to find it.
And then in 2013 my life changed in a moment.
I went from working with kids and teens, living in an apartment with my best friend, traveling and hanging out with friends…
To having to move back in with my mom as I recovered from neurosurgery because I had been hit by a bus.
Suddenly being able to talk to people was the last thing on my mind.
I was too busy trying to heal and to survive each moment to even think about anything else.
My entire life was essentially put on hold for a few years while I learned how to live in my “new normal”.
To say I was having a hard time would be an understatement. This was literally the hardest thing that I had ever had to go through.
In addition to the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that I had sustained, I ultimately underwent 4 neurosurgeries. There’s not a whole lot that can prep you for something like that.
I was struggling emotionally, mentally and physically. While I had a great support system of family and friends and a terrific social worker I knew I needed more.
But what? I had no idea.
Then one day my social worker suggested trying mindfulness. At this point I was ready to try anything so I said “sure!”
I signed up for an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and the next thing I knew, my life had changed again but this time for the better.
A few weeks into the program I just KNEW that this was what I had been looking for my whole life.
I had a visceral moment of knowing that:
- everyone needed to know mindfulness (and seriously? Why is this not taught more in schools?) and
- I needed to become a mindfulness teacher.
As soon as all of my surgeries, healing and patient journey were finished that’s exactly what I did.
Throughout the course of the teacher training program, I started to notice small shifts taking place.
I would notice being nervous and hesitant as I approached the room with all of the other students in it. When it came time to share, my hand would often stay down. At breaks I would head off on my own, you know, all of the things that I was familiar with being shy growing up.
Over time that changed. I started introducing myself to the other students, raising my hand, even inviting a group of my classmates to join me on a trip to the beach during our break in session. (We were training in Florida at the time).
But 2 moments stand out in particular, both during the second phase of the training.
The first was when I described myself as shy growing up and someone turned to me and said, “if you hadn’t had said that, I would never have thought of you as being shy.” 🤯
And the second was at the end of the training when I took my mom out for a dinner (she had accompanied me on this trip as I was still recovering from my injuries) on a Jungle River Cruise boat and I turned to the stranger beside me, introduced myself, and started up a conversation. My mom almost fell off her chair.
Suddenly talking to people wasn’t a big deal anymore.
All of those doubts and fears that used to hold me back? Sure, they still come up every now and again, but mindfulness provided me with the tools needed to get out of my head and into my life.
And The Mindfulness Journey was born.
Now I am teaching these skills to my students and watching them grow and thrive. When I hear them tell me about the time that they were able to move past their fears since we started working together I do a happy dance.
I use my mindfulness practice every day in the service of growing my business. It helps me to stay calm amidst the chaos of being an entrepreneur. To avoid analysis paralysis. To go live on Facebook and Instagram. And to show my face and share my story with people all over the world.
In doing so I’ve been able to help so many others learn how to get out of their own heads and into their lives.
One of the ways I am doing this is inside of my private Facebook group The Mindfulness Community. As a member of this free group you have access to me, my teachings and trainings, as well as the support of other like minded individuals who are ready to remove their doubts and fears so that they can create a life that they love.
Want to join us? Click this link to sign up. We’d love to have you.