Have you ever felt like your life is “great” – and if you look at your life on a piece of paper, its actually great, and yet despite this, you still feel stuck, bored, or with that nagging feeling that maybe there’s more to life?
This was me right before I began my spiritual journey.
This is a story about how and when I began a daily meditation and journaling practice.
I read the Secret when it first came out, and promptly used the law of attraction and manifestation to manifest what I thought was the best version of my life.
I had gotten in the school I wanted, graduated into a career I loved, and got hired at a firm I loved.
I had a supporting and loving partner who was always pushing me to grow and become better.
I was living with two of my best friends in the first floor of an old house that overlooked a ravine. The nights I wasn’t with my boyfriend, the girls and I would cozy up on the couch and watch TV together or chat about our days.
I was financially free and making it on my own.
And yet – I couldn’t shake this aching feeling that something was off and this undercurrent of boredom with my life. Of disconnection. Of feeling like there was something missing in my life, or there was more to life, even though I couldn’t figure out what that could be.
I had all of the pieces of what I thought I wanted in my life, so what was missing?
I felt a lot of guilt and quiet shame at that time in my life.
Because, if my life was objectively “great”, who was I to question it or want more?
What was wrong with me for feeling like something was off, or that there was something more?
For that reason, no one knew that I was feeling this way.
My social media showed happy photos of my boyfriend and I vacationing in California, out with girlfriends, and channeling my best Elle Woods as I learned to be a lawyer.
My closest friends and family assumed everything was great – and that was until Smackdown Number 1 when the jig was up.
I went to NYC this weekend exactly seven years ago to visit a friend for her birthday. We went out for dinner, and at dinner we were catching up and she asked me about my life.
“Everything is great! Work is stressful, but whatever. Boyfriend and I going to move in together soon, and we’ll probably be engaged I guess sometime this year.”
This friend said to me: “Really? Everything’s good? Because you look terrified.”
I’ll never forget it – because I felt like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Everyone else had believed my social niceties, but this friend wasn't playing my game.
It was such a simple statement and yet it caused something to shift in me.
I couldn’t fake that everything was great anymore because deep down I kept feeling like something was off.
I actually was terrified of what it would mean to admit to myself that the life I thought I always wanted wasn’t making me happy, and that I wasn’t actually that happy either.
(This is because true happiness is an inside job - nothing external to us can actually give us lasting happiness).
I actually felt like I was supposed to doing something else with my life but had no idea what.
I felt like I needed to make changes in my life but I had no idea where to start.
But, since change takes time… I was terrified to admit that I was terrified, and instead spent the rest of the weekend flirting with all types of guys who weren’t my boyfriend and drinking about 1000 vodka sodas. You know.
You can only run from yourself for so long, however. If you're meant to escape the status quo and connect with a spiritual path, the universe will wake you up.
If you don't listen to the signs or the nudges, the universe will eventually smack you awake to a point where you can't help but listen, and for me, this was a smackdown.
I had known for a while I needed to explore this whole "there's got to be more to life" thing, but I got home at the end of the weekend, hungover, tired, and with the single piece of clarity that it was time for me to admit to myself that I wasn’t actually that happy, and that I was being led in a different direction, but I had no idea what that direction was.
I knew that the main change I needed to make was to end my relationship, but in ending that relationship, it meant that I was going to give up not only him, but the very beautiful, but very safe and traditional vision that he and I had created together.
I knew, deep in my bones, that the life he and I were headed toward, a traditional, safe one of me being a lawyer, getting married at 27, and buying a house and going through the motions was not what I was supposed to be doing.
There's nothing wrong with this - I just knew, deep down, that it wasn't the life my soul was meant to be living.
The issue was – if not that life, what would my life look like?
I didn’t have the answer right away. In fact, it took months and months before that clarity would come.
What I did do at that time, however, was start meditating and journaling every day.
Little by little, I felt a sense of calm and inner peace come back.
Little by little, I started to find that clarity from my inner voice come through of the decisions and actions that needed to be taken in my life.
The decisions or ideas weren’t always easy ones, like admitting that I was going to eventually change the career that took me a casual 8 years of school to get to, or to end a relationship with a guy who fiercely loved me, but my meditation and journaling practice allowed me a safe and loving place to garner the courage to do hard things that would eventually lead me to live a life that is farrrrr more magical than anything I could have pictured.
Meditation and journaling profoundly changed my life by giving my thoughts space to roam, my intuition an opportunity to speak, the love of the universe to flood back in, and my heart a place to feel safe and joyful again.
These two practices are the two that continue to be my lifelines, tethering me every day no matter what direction the universe has been guiding me.