When I left my high-profile career as an athletic trainer for professional athletes and high-profile clients over a decade ago, I did so with little support from my friends, family, and clients.
According to societal standards, I had finally worked my way into the golden seat of my career and if I was dedicated to working my post, I had a guaranteed long and fruitful career ahead of me.
But what most people didn’t know was that for nearly the entire decade I had spent between my college classrooms, high-priced gyms, sweaty fitness studios, and the beer-soaked carpets in our local pro hockey arena, there was somewhere else, more hidden and secretive, that I was working with my clients.
Shortly after graduating from college, I was gifted a book called The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Dr. Deepak Chopra. And though it would take me at least another five years to even come remotely close to understanding what he was talking about inside of those couple hundred pages, the bottom line was, a seed was planted, and it wasn’t long before it was watered.
Early into my second year working as a Trainer, I was invited to attend my first meditation course, by a perfect stranger who just so happened to be a part of another event that I was attending. Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to what she was talking about until she mentioned Deepak’s name. It was as though her mere mention instantly watered the earlier seed that had been planted, and I was in.
Trusting the journey with no expectations felt like the weirdest thing for me, but also the most natural, all at the same time. And little did I know that almost 25 years later, I would be sitting here today with not only one seed watered but an entire garden that has grown with me and from me, that extends all around the world.
What instantly hooked me on that first morning of the meditation course was the relatability between Deepak’s message and the life that I was living.
At only 22 years old, I was brand new in my career, in my marriage, and was expecting my first child. Truthfully, I couldn’t have felt any farther from the foothills of the Himalayas and the monks who chant daily along the banks of the Ganges. And yet, there was a part within me that didn’t want to give up the life that I was building but still desired the same sense of inner peace and spiritual connection that they had. In front of me was a path and a promise that I could have both, and because of that, I was fully in—hook, line, and sinker.
As I sit here writing this, my heart is full, and my cheeks exhausted from smiling so widely as I reflect back on my own path and the gift that I was given so long ago. It is one that I have gone on to share with anyone and everyone who has come to me for guidance and support over the years.
Many wisdom teachers share that the number eight is not only the number that opens us up to the infinite, but it is the path, or as Joseph Campbell described, it is the hero’s journey.
The first loop is our departure from the nest—all that is known and comfortable—and the second loop, is our journey home, carrying with us the lessons and the wisdom, ripe and ready to share with others.
For eight years, I hid in the backroom of the training studio and in the small make-shift office that I set up in the spare room that I shared with my husband and three young children. But on one ordinary, not-so-special day in August, I woke up with a deep knowing that it was no longer time to hide. The time had come to introduce meditation into the mainstream and share with others the message that had nourished my own desires in the past.
With the rapidly expanding popularity of meditation and the plethora of resources available, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that most people believed that meditation was only reserved for monks or hippies. I laugh today because that’s exactly the response that I had received over and over again as I began to tell people that the reason I was leaving my training career was to teach meditation.
What we know today with respect to the benefits of meditation has not only been backed by millions of peer-reviewed studies, but by the qualitative experiences shared by millions more around the world. Everyone from business leaders and successful entrepreneurs, celebrities and professional athletes, to householders and even children, are praising the practices of mediation as key ingredients to their health, well-being, and success.
The demand is growing, and it seems that the scales have tipped. What used to be the hidden and strange is now widely sought after and heavily practiced. And perhaps the greatest evolution is that there is no longer only one or two ways do it. No matter who you are or what you are looking for, there’s a meditation for that. A simple Google search that indicates the problem you want solved will pull up a wide range of opportunities for you to breathe, get quiet, and be still. Whether you need stress reduction, better sleep, or perhaps you are trying to manifest the perfect partner or career, meditation provides the foundation to get you there.
I’ve always believed that meditation is not the practice that is intended to take you out of the world but rather has the ability to teach you how to be in it. And when we learn how to be more peaceful, accepting, and generous, we take all of the benefits of meditation that we experience for ourselves, and we share them with all of those who we spend our lives with.
It’s one of the simplest things that we can do that creates the greatest ripple of all. And all because you have decided to forgo the life of the monk and live in the harmony of the path you have chosen.