I had waited years to see two pink lines at the end of that stick. Twin girls, I could hardly believe my luck. But here I was two days before the end of my second trimester in the hospital with severe contractions.
I saw my mother make her way down the hallway and I felt so incredibly guilty. At only fifty-four years old she had been told she had stage four colon cancer, and yet to me she was still my rock. I wanted my mommy to tell me everything was going to be okay, but I also wanted her to be okay.
When the doctor told me my water had broken and the babies had to be delivered, I watched in a daze as my bed developed stirrups. I gave birth to the twins, knowing full well that they wouldn’t be coming home with me. Ever.
I had already been on bed rest for three months, my career, my pride and joy as well as my identity, was now being severely tested. I felt so torn – I wanted to be there for my mother, I wanted to have a career, I wanted to have kids.
But one by one I lost everything that I had valued. I was no longer an expectant mother. I watched my mother die. My career suffered until I was finally of no use to anyone. With all the stress of infertility, the loss of our babies, and unexpected financial reversal, my husband and I decided to call it quits.
Every identity I ever had disintegrated. Mother. Daughter. Businesswoman. Wife.
The life I had known no longer existed. And yet soon I would discover that a new life was destined to emerge, one that was far more meaningful. One with far more substance.
I didn’t find meditation. Meditation found me. And as I began to cultivate my practice I found that I could access a stillness deep within, a sense of clarity that I had thought would forever elude me.
My old life had been built on other people’s definition of who I was and should be. I used to be so attached to their version of success and allowed the outer trappings of life to define me. At the time, the fancy car, designer clothes, it all seemed like the answer to the unhappiness that surrounded me. If only I had _____, surely I would be happy, I used to say to myself. A vacation, a new pair of shoes, a baby. But I never was happy. There was always something else that I needed.
But meditation changed all of that. It gave me a new perspective and showed me the possibilities that came with living life authentically. In the past I had been ruled by fear. Financial fear, fear of being alone, fear of not being enough. That knot in my gut kept me awake at 3:00 in the morning for more years than I care to remember. Yet the more I meditated the more that fear seemed to dissipate.
I started my practice slowly, doing “emergency meditation” when a crisis erupted and breathing my way to calmness. As the benefits of meditation began to reveal themselves I began to find more confidence and trust in this work. I stopped numbing myself with Chardonnay and second-guessing every move.
I started living. Truly living.
Meditation has helped me accept what is. Instead of retreating from fear, I sit with it, finding that it’s never as bad as I had anticipated.
Instead of running on an endless treadmill to nowhere I stop. I breathe. I listen.
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Sometimes I liken my journey to Dorothy’s. I, too, searched and searched only to find that there’s no place like home. My new life has new identities, each of which are filled with curiosity, gratitude, compassion, and awe.
Each day I get to choose what I want to invite in and today I’m more me than I ever have been.
I’m finally at home within myself.
In fact, I never left.
Lynne Goldberg is a certified meditation coach and co-founder of OMG. I Can Meditate!, a mobile and web meditation app that can teach anybodyhow to meditate in just 10 minutes a day. Lynne’s simple and clear teaching style has brought the joy of meditation to stressed-out business executives, soccer moms, eighty year olds, kindergarten kids, and everyone in between. She is the author of the book Get Balanced. Get Blissed.
Image courtesy of Cole Patrick.