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How Meditation Led Me to Calm and Clarity

August 24, 2020

I’m Audry.
An empathic, crystal-loving 30-something who is committed to empowering women and making the world a better place. Dog mom, moon priestess, & yoga pants for life.
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Meditation changed my life. Meditation has supported and guided me on an incredible journey to clarity and calm, to healing and becoming the person I am today.

In this post, I want to share the story of how meditation and I met. It’s been heavy on my mind these days as we’re gearing up for a meditation challenge at the end of the month. I’ll share all the uncomfortable, hilarious, awkward details. So, get comfy and dig in and then reach out if you want to learn to meditate for yourself!

Meditation called to me

Meditation always sounded cool to me. Maybe you can relate. I’d see people doing it in movies or read about it in books and I thought WOW, I want that kind of calm. I was super envious of that perceived Zen lifestyle, of the clear confidence and peace meditators always seemed to have

You see, I didn’t have that confidence or that peace. A lot of my life was surrounded by drama, hurt, abuse, and constantly seeking validation from the outside world. I spent my teen years bouncing like a pinball between sketchy relationships and parental discord, lost friends, and apartment after apartment. I was a young high school graduate (16) starting college which may have looked cool, but in reality, my internal life was an absolute mess.

God and (my) History

I spent a good part of my life going to church 3 times a week, praying before every meal, and participating in youth groups, church camps, and bible studies. And sometimes, in all that, I saw a glimpse of that peace and the connection and support that can come from belief in a higher power; but often, I saw drama, men who abused their power, lies, and contradictions galore. I stopped going to church well before I graduated from high school and found myself identifying as some confused and noncommittal mix between an atheist and agnostic for years.

I spent so much time like this. Tapping into no power, feeling no connection, and living in internal chaos and scarcity.

Meditation: Dipping My Toes In

In my early 20s, I met this awesome girl who had Buddhist prayer flags hanging in her bedroom. I was intrigued. This started my real foray into Buddhism and meditation.

I read lots of books and tried meditating by myself. It did not go well. I couldn’t sit still, and the concept of “stilling my mind” was so far beyond my capabilities at that moment. Focusing on my breath was a challenge because, again, I couldn’t get my mind to stop spinning long enough to even close my eyes. I desperately wanted that clarity and calm feeling, but I had no idea how to reach it.

Then, driven by some undercover desire to unlock a hidden treasure I knew was there, I cozied up to the almighty Google and found a meditation retreat a few hours from my house. A silent meditation retreat. A 10-day, silent meditation retreat. And something convinced me this was a good idea. I just knew this was going to be my moment. This was how I would get centered and find my own version of Zen. I was convinced I’d be a whole different person after this.

Nothing like jumping in the deep end, huh…

Feeling Like a Failure at Meditation (and Life)

I packed my bag, drove to a random retreat center outside of Dallas, and surrendered my cell phone. That’s where the madness began. You think you’ve seen anxiety? Imagine being an emotional wreck in your early 20s and having to hand over your cell phone for 10 days. Holy shit. I started to spiral. I imagined all these scenarios where bad people I knew or bad shit I had done would come back to haunt me. That somehow they crawl out of the woodwork in the next 10 days and ruin the life I was enjoying. I imagined the pile of rubble and smoke my life would be when I got my cell phone back.

I made it 3 days. Three whole days.

Three days of silent meditations, ungodly early mornings, chanting OM, and not making eye contact or acknowledgments when we received our meals (lentils, so many lentils). Three days of crying and panicking and just knowing that my life was going to be ruined. That all the ghosts of the shitty way I’d been living for half a decade were coming back to haunt me.

I faked a stomach ache, went to the Director, cried, and said I had to go. There was no other option in my head. I got my things and I hauled ass out of there.

The drive home was beautiful. Peaceful. I had my cell phone and nothing had happened at all (shocker, right?).

I felt relieved to have left and then it hit me. Shit. I failed. I’m not cut out for this. I’ll never be Zen or feel clarity and calm.

I felt like I didn’t even deserve the beautiful parts of the life I was living and the incredible people in it. I was a train wreck (see a theme?). My brain started spinning ways to blow it all up.

The Chaos Within

I say all this to give you insight into the mind of an anxious, depressed, unsure 20-year-old. To feel the chaos and madness that was happening in my mind. The chaos I was trying so desperately to “cure”.

But I also say all this to show you the moment the iceberg started to poke through the surface.

I knew I felt something when I meditated. When I got quiet and actually let myself to process the chaos. I knew I wanted more but I also think that I wasn’t ready.

After that, I would dabble with Buddhism, meditation, journaling, and the magic of my own mind for a few years after this. But largely, I would let the iceberg pass, let it float on by me, not paying it much mind.

Seeing the Shift

Enter my mid-20s (which doesn’t seem like that long from the first story, but felt like a lifetime). I got married, dealt with lies, feeling suffocated, losing myself, reacted with my own bad behavior, and then landed in a psychotic rebound, and eventually, divorce.

Turns out in some ways, this was all a gift.

Through all this, I found myself. This was the moment in my own life when I realized decided I wouldn’t compromise myself for anyone ever again. The moment when I decided to embrace my weird, love myself, and accept that no one knew better for me than me.

Then the iceberg started to poke through again. Fast and furious.

Uncovering the Spiritual

My life was in a much better place. I was much calmer, but I still had this nagging feeling that there was something more. That there was a way to calm my soul, to feel “centered”, to get “clear” on what I was doing, and to be a part of that secret club that yogis and meditators clearly have a pass to but the rest of us can’t even get in the door.

When I picked me, everything shifted. Life started opening up. The drama stopped, the anxiety lessened, I felt whole again.

When I started meditating and journaling again, I started to experience the magic of changing my mindset and shifting my energy.

Expanding my Practice

I had so much to learn and still do, but the knowledge that there was more propelled me forward. The knowledge that I had the key to unlock some powerful magic.

I knew there was a connection beyond the external stimulation and expectations. I knew there was a way to calm my mind and create my dreams. To unlock the magic within.

Expanding my meditation and sacred self-care practice has opened the door to this magic.

How Did I Get Here

Looking back, I can’t place exactly “one moment” where it clicked, where it all changed…

I knew I wanted a spiritual practice and I had a vague idea of what that meant, so I started digging. I read a lot of books, I listened to podcasts. Eventually, I found blogs that talked about magic and healing, priestesses, and witches. I took an energetic and spiritual coach training, which taught me about shamanic journeys, energy healing, and deeper meditation than I could have ever imagined.

All this conspired together to give me a practice. A sacred self-care ritual that allows me to tap into my inner wisdom, to ask questions, and gain clarity. To feel the calm, connectedness I always dreamed of. Meditation is a part of my practice, my ritual, and it has held the key to such magic for me.

Turns out my brain wasn’t wired to focus solely on my breath or the tip of my nose as I breathed, but it embraced a vision journey, a meditation to connect to a higher power (call it god, goddess, spirit, universe, whatever – sometimes I call it all those!). My brain felt at home with meditation that connected me to myself. Meditation that acted as a tool to drop into my inner wisdom and ask for clarity and guidance. This all made sense. It felt right. It felt like I was home within myself.

Meditation in the Modern World

Woman on yoga mat meditating with dog next to her.

And now, I see and hear it everywhere. It’s part of my everyday thoughts and actions and conversations. I mean literally, it’s everywhere. Gabby Bernstein talks about your inner guide, Glennon Doyle talks about your inner knowing or wisdom, about finding that clarity in yourself. Marie Forleo hints at it. Oprah. It’s freaking everywhere. It’s incredible how the moment we open our minds up to something, it becomes such a powerful reality).

It’s a part of me now. A part of my everyday life.

Where I Am Now

It was a long, weird journey to get here, but I wouldn’t trade this version of me, this version of my life for anything. My brain is clearer. I’m way more stable and calm and centered. I know what decisions I want to make, what I will and won’t accept, and that I can accomplish anything I want to if I’m in it for the right reasons and connected to my power. Meditation is part of my daily practice now, and it makes such a huge difference in how I show up in my own life. It’s also something I share every time I get a chance because I know how much it helps.

That crazy meditation retreat changed my life.

Meditation Changed My Life

Finding this way to connect to me, to the universe, to the energy of the world has fundamentally changed how I exist every single day. It’s changed what I talk about, how I show up at work, and in my relationship, it’s changed how my brain works and all of it, 10000%, for the better.

Meditation changed my life. Meditation has walked with me and held my hand on the journey to clarity and calm.

Which is why I want to share it. Why I’m weird about sticking it into conversations. Why I talk about “inner work” and knowing yourself and connecting. These things sound funny and woo to some people, but they have changed everything for me in the best way possible.

Creating Your Own Journey

Woman in meditation pose on the floor with candles and incense in front of her.

In my experience, this journey is not one size fits. Meditation is not one size fits all. This journey will feel very different for everyone, it will take longer for some, it will be super quick for others. It may feel weird or clunky, or it may be the most natural thing in the world. It depends on where you are in your life, in your own journey and your own timing. No matter how the journey goes, though, I firmly believe it’s a journey worth taking. At the core of it all, you get to know yourself more. You get to feel more connected to yourself and find your calm and your confidence. And hey, you may learn some fun new things or meet awesome people on the way.

Because of how meditation has changed my life and my deep belief that it can change yours too, I’m offering a free 10-day meditation challenge starting August 31st. Click here to join the challenge and start your own journey (or continue it if you’re already on the path!)

So tell me below, do you meditate? If so, how has it changed your life?

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  1. […] Today, I want to share with you a super quick Guide to Meditation so you can understand the benefits and learn why you should start your own practice today. We’re gearing up for a Free Meditation Challenge at the end of this month so meditation is hot on my mind. It also has been such a huge part of my own life that I want this joy, calm, and clarity for everyone; you can see more about my own meditation journey here. […]

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