MEDITATION & MONSTERS by The Singing Bluebird

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I am a newcomer to meditation. It is something I have only been doing for four months or so, and sometimes I still struggle with it. Meditation is something that asks a little of you, and a lot of you at the same time depends on how you spin it. At its basis, it is a very simple practice. It is just sitting down for a short amount of time, breathing, and letting go.

Letting go…

Letting go is something I have always struggled with since I was a little girl. Letting go is the opposite of what I have done for the last 27 years. Stubbornness and an independent spirit is something I have had in myself since infancy. This could have taken me in a different direction in my life. I could have been secure in myself, I could not have cared what people thought, and I could have forged a different path because of that.

I always cared what people thought though, and I was never secure in myself. This performance-driven nature was really fostered as a five and six-year-old performing in school and church plays. I was very good at acting from a young age, was able to memorize my lines well, and had clear ideas of what I wanted to perform. This is not a bad thing, to show competence in something early in life. What did make it something that could go bad was that I attached too much of my self-worth to how much people, a crowd of people, an audience, loved me.

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It was around this age that I discovered more and more that I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. I was this passionate little girl who loved sharing my passion and joy with others and being with others, but they never seemed to like me very much, and always made me feel in the way or that I wasn’t good enough to play with them. This hurt me very much and I didn’t know what I could do. Why was I the misfit? What made me a misfit? I didn’t think I was any different than any of the other kids. As a little girl I loved nature, loved learning, loved a lot of things, wanted a life full of love, but this world didn’t seem to have a place for me, but the stage did, the theater did. I knew I fit in there. So that is where I transferred by value and worth to, and this would increase with every year. The more I felt rejected in the real world, the more I would invest in my life of acting, into my ever-growing dreams of Broadway and Tony awards and fame.

The thing about people rating your performance is that it is totally subjective and totally unpredictable. We have systems in place, critics, who we learn to please and serve as soon as we enter the work. We have awards, we have gold statues, that we are told validate our work as artists. We learn that the applause means success, the standing O means perfection, and anything but means failure. If you have not found your center yet, this can be detrimental, and to me, it has been. There is no such thing as perfection, even in art, but regardless, I became hardwired to strive for it and to never stop. I learned to adjust myself to please my critics, I learned to strive for the validation of people who didn’t know me and forfeit everything in my life that was important for those things.

So, enter in meditation, which only asks for spiritual progress, which teaches you there is no such thing as a perfect meditation, just being present for it or not. A friend had introduced me to it, having had a full turnaround in their life because of it. I started using the Head-space App they also suggested, to help teach me how to do it. It was kind of a scary prospect because it meant I had to sit alone with my thoughts (which I gotta tell you, can be a hot, mad mess sometimes, and not very kind to myself), and let them be. I wasn’t to judge or latch onto them, but let them pass by like cars on the highway or clouds in the sky. I didn’t even know what that meant. I only knew how to latch onto thoughts (especially negative ones), and I only knew how to judge my thoughts, and let that become a web of crazy. Peace of mind wasn’t something I knew anything about.

Meditation also goes beyond your times of the day that you sit with calming music or silence. Its a practice, a way of life. Someone once told me to lean into the thorns the world has and allow them to let you bleed, to feel, to hurt. As someone who has struggled with a host of addictions, this meant letting go of not trying to stop me from feeling pain, rejection, hurt, grief. Brene Brown says that once you shut down your ability to feel, you don’t just cut off the ugly thoughts and feelings, but the positive ones too, like joy, happiness, calm, and love. You shut all of it down. Meditation allows you to embrace all of it, the good, and the bad. The good and the bad make a life. If it rains outside, is it bad? Or is it bad to you because it messed with your plans for a sunny day at the beach?

The problem with being driven by performance, which makes you constantly obsess over what you did good, or what you did badly in the eyes of other people, is that it makes you absent of self the more you put into it. The more investment you put into pleasing others, the less you are putting into your view of yourself, and I was always unhappy because I gave myself away to the validation of the world, and never asked myself what I thought of me, and if I did, lost the notion that even mattered. Meditation is helping me be at peace with the way things are, and giving me the head-space and spiritual space to find that center in myself, to ask myself those hard questions that I never did for most of my young and young adult life.

It also allows you to see your monsters for what they are. Sitting with yourself brings out monsters. Often our monsters aren’t big black creatures from the lagoon with gills and teeth. I have often found memories of a little girl, sitting alone at school, crying herself to sleep, a teenager who opened herself up to someone and got cut down. Often our monsters are the large, unresolved emotions those moments left us with. The longer we live in the dark, the longer we live in our cage, the more we let our monsters become bigger and scarier then they are because we never faced them in that first moment when we were confronted with them.


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