Tara Mackey, in “My Organic Life,” relates an amazing and wonderful story, and has graciously given me her okay to re-publish it here:
The #1 thing people ask me about after reading my blog is Meditation: they ask about it above my job, above my wellness, above the fact that I am on 0 medications to deal with pain, depression, grief and anxiety. They ask me about Meditation above the beauty, above the fashion & above the nutrition aspect. This actually makes me really happy, because absolutely none of the other things would be possible (or were possible) for me without Meditation.
Years and years of pain without mindfulness, of stress without gain, of time spent without tact and of sickness without cure brought me to a place of complete breakdown. My average workday was spent getting up at 7 a.m., biking to work on an empty stomach, taking 10-12 different kinds of RX pills (none of which were vitamins), begging for 10 mins a half an hour into work to go get a bagel, spending 2 hours at work taking small bites in between other tasks to eat it, and then working on an empty stomach in a dark room with no windows for the next 8-15 hours. Sometimes I slept there.
My average weekend was spent dragging myself out of bed at 3 in the afternoon, I’d eat one, two, three highly processed meals, take between 11-15 different pills (none of which were vitamins or minerals), go about my day, drink some alcohol at night to fall asleep, wake up the next day and do it over.
The breaking point was a few months after I was off all my meds. I was sick. Really, hopelessly, helplessly sick and I’d lay in bed for absolutely hours staring at the ceiling asking Why Me? Why the hell was I, after all the tragedy and heartache and crap I’d gone through, not getting better when I was trying my damn best to do the right thing? It occurred to me every once in awhile to just take a Lamictal (some of the worst withdrawals I’ve ever had was coming off this mood stabilizer) to feel better. Just one wouldn’t hurt me, and then I’d be able to get up and move and speak and function without this terrible weakness, this nausea and headaches and everything looking over saturated. Just one.
I remember going into the bathroom, opening the cabinet under the sink, and taking out the garbage bag full of Rx bottles that I had thrown together when I decided to come off everything. It was full not only of pills that did work, but pills I had been prescribed that didn’t work – totaling what added up to almost 90 different bottles. I kept picking up bottles upon bottles looking for the “Lamotrigine” one. Valium? Nope. Xanax? Nope. Fentanyl? Nope. Celebrex? Nope. Zoloft? Nope. Flexeril? Nope. I discarded them one by one before I found the Lamictal bottle and emptied two, dust covered pills into my palm. I filled up a glass of dirty NY tap water and opened my mouth.
And then something truly remarkable happened.
After about 3 weeks of not taking anything, I realized what I was doing. That taking “just one” Lamictal wouldn’t be taking just one. That whenever I REdecided that being a slave to a pill was not what I wanted with my life, I’d be right here again. Sick, and debating. In 3 more weeks, or two more months, or 3 more years, this is where I’d be. Counting the pills in bottles, nauseous as an animal, and hoping I have “the right one” for whatever ailment I was facing that day. It felt way more helpless and WAY more hopeless than being sick, which I knew was temporary. Being a slave to a mood stabilizer was LIFE-LONG helplessness. And I wasn’t ready to accept that in my life.
From here I looked for other ways to cope. Josh had helped me, truly, through his own meditations. He’d lay in bed while I was sick and put his hand on my back and concentrate. Sometimes his energy worked to soothe me, sometimes it didn’t. Mostly, it didn’t work when I didn’t believe in it. On the days where I felt impossibly sick, he had absolutely no power to make me feel better. I designed it this way because I was scared – not only of what would happen if I stayed sick, but the longer I was sick, I started to get scared about what I’d have to do with my life when and if I got better. This was an especially frightening thought, because I knew that the sort of jobs that I had had in the past had contributed immensely to my illness.
To be honest, I used to think people who Meditated were foolish. Today, I cannot picture my life without Meditation. Even though, for me, the practice is very new. Meditation was not a daily part of my life until the end of 2011, but it has changed me in all of the best ways since.
So why do I find that the people who come to me – even people who come to me earnestly – about wanting to try it, have completely dismissed it a week later? I’ve compiled some proper excuses that I get:
” I Don’t Have the Time”
This is the most popular excuse that I get, and it’s a fallacy. Saying you don’t have the time to meditate is like saying you don’t have time to fill up your gas tank because you’re too busy driving. I had to learn, actually, not to get super insulted by this excuse, because the truth is: We all have the same amount of time. Saying that you don’t have the time implies that I do have the time – as in, I must not be busy enough if I can find 30 mins in my day to take care of myself. The reason that I get anything accomplished with my life is specifically because I take that 30 mins a day to take care of myself. I’ve had people sit on their computers on Facebook chat for OVER half an hour giving me excuses about why they’re not meditating. You have the time, you just don’t value it.
” I Don’t Know How “
I cannot tell you how many people have come to me and said ” I tried what you said, and it didn’t work.” or ” I’m no good at silence” or ” My mind won’t let me” or ” I fall asleep.” We put a TON of pressure on ourselves to do things the “right way”, and Americans tend to have very linear thinking. If it doesn’t look like it did in a magazine, if we don’t get immediate results or if it just plain seems too hokey, we don’t give it a real shot. The most basic, brilliant meditations involve sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing. I can’t think of anyone I know who cannot do that.
” It’s Boring “
Well, sure it is. It’s not an action-packed movie and it’s not Ryan Gosling making googley-eyes at you. If your mind won’t let you, if you feel like you’re no good or if it didn’t work, or if you fall asleep, you now have all of your reasons to Meditate more. I bet when you first laid your fingers on a piano, you couldn’t play Beethoven. I bet when you first learned to read, you weren’t picking up War & Peace. Meditation, like everything is, is something that gets easier with earnest practice. We call Meditation a “Practice” for a very good reason – you are practicing it every time you do it. And it’s certainly not going to give you the same stimulation that TV or Movies do, so don’t expect that. This is about learning your body.
” You’re a Crazy Hippie and I Won’t Hear Any of Your Stupid Herbal Remedies to My Real Problems”
The majority of people hold themselves back by thinking that Meditation only works for certain people. That they are not capable of learning themselves, or that it’s not important, or that it’s not worth their time. They think that their pain, their problems, their situations, are better, more extreme, or different than what the rest of us are going through, and that spending quiet alone time can’t possibly have any positive effects on their life. Truly, I think this is the most harmful place to be in, but one that I understand quite well. It’s very easy to get caught up, especially when we have chronic or persistent pain. I cannot tell you how many hours of my life were spent wishing that I had a knife to cut the pain from my back out. I would have done ANYTHING, including surgery, to relieve the immense, throbbing, terrible, cutting pain that I experienced every moment that I wasn’t knocked out on some pain med. And if someone had taken me aside and said “Just sit down and learn yourself, and you’ll be able to control your pain” I would have told them they were goddamn crazy. But I am here to tell you that it’s true.
Meditation is the most productive thing you can do, and there is nothing in the World stopping you from doing it except for yourself. Practicing meditation regularly will bring you to a place of immense peace, physical well being, and emotional stability. It’s the most powerful tool for creating the life you want.
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Meaningful Mantras & Adjusting the Sail
Meditate Your Life
Don’t Bully My Breed
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And if you liked this one, check out the whole story here:
Meditate Your Life