My Journey – Chapter 1
Chapter 1: A stranger in a strange land
Meditation has been a gift on my journey, a tool for over twenty-five years. It has helped me navigate my most trying experiences, and gain clarity around my career and personal life. As this internal compass helped me make better choices on which path to travel, I gradually became inspired to teach meditation. This inspiration comes from a place deep within me where I can reflect on how a technique that goes by many names, helped shift my life.
I often joke with my friends, that I had my first midlife crisis at age 25. It was at the start of my adulthood and career that I found myself seriously pondering the purpose of our lives. As I looked around, it seemed pretty scripted, and the thought of a life of tedium and boredom was unnerving.
I had one of those talks that a daughter has with her mom. I was a few years post college and had started a job in a retailer’s management training program. My job paid more than I earned while in social work, but I realized that I hated it, worrying about pennies and the unpredictable hours of retail.
Also, I was engaged to someone whose values and ethics varied from mine. I seriously doubted that we’d have happiness over the long term. Being an introspective person, I found myself questioning whether that path would lead to a life of happiness or psychological imprisonment.
While sitting in the living room across from my mother, I shared that I was feeling depressed. She looked and said that she didn’t really understand what that meant. I lamented and asked “Is this life? You go to school, work, get married, have children and then die.” She found me to be a bit dramatic, but knew my question was a serious one.
She asked me what I feared and wanted? I explained that I felt trapped and wanted my life to be more. That more included options, excitement and fulfillment. Now mind you, my mother was a South Philadelphia native who lived within walking distance of her mother, brothers and most family members. Love and support of family was at the core of our upbringing.
She looked deeply and said, “Linda you’ve always had your own ideas about life and things. If there’s something that you want, then it’s up to you to make it happen for you. No one has promised you tomorrow, so do what you want with your life. Make it what you want it to be.”
I pondered and decided that I needed to learn who I was and that changing my environment and relationship was a good start. I had a friend who lived in Dallas, Texas who suggested that I move south, Dallas had a booming economy and jobs were abundant. I discussed it with my mother, who was petrified at the notion of my moving 2,500 miles from home; but, as usual, she and my dad supported my need to find me. Once that was decided, I submitted my resignations to both the job and engagement and moved forward.
In so many ways I was like Dorothy in the Land of Oz, encountering people and circumstances that helped and challenged me; but, most of all they proved to be a mirror that allowed me to see who I was. I met characters who supported my journey both inward and outward, and after four years I found the ideal career opportunity and moved me to Kansas City, KS.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that this moment of truth launched me down the path of a personal and professional journey that today brings me here to you.
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