The following is written by Karlie Everhart and originally published on her blog.
I started meditating ten years ago. At the time, I had suffered from intermittent bouts of anxiety and was looking for a way to calm the surmounting pressure I constantly applied to myself. The only new-agey person I was familiar with was Gabrielle Bernstein, so I bought her book and her companion meditation CD and that’s how I started.
I listened to Gabby’s meditation tracks until I got bored of hearing the same voice over and over and then I switched to the Calm app and random youtube videos of Oprah and Deepak Chopra. In 2015, I was trained in Transcendental Meditation (TM) and that is what I’ve been doing ever since.
Meditation has been a saving grace to me in many ways. It keeps me focused, grounded, and sane. Over the years, when I’ve felt nervous, anxious, and scared I’ve turned to meditation. I’ve meditated in my car before job interviews, before big events – my wedding, my bridal shower, speaking engagements, and I’ve meditated for months in a small broom closet at one of my corporate jobs. I would be let in by our IT guy every morning and afternoon to practice my TM for 20 minutes.
I often get asked by clients or people new to meditation what the benefits of meditating are and I always stumble through some prescribed answer that I found on the internet, which is all true but feels a bit sterile to me. So let me tell you about what happened when I stopped meditating because I think that identifying what you don’t want helps you to clarify what you actually desire.
I’m embarrassed to admit that over the last year I have fallen hard off the meditation train. I’m getting back into it now, but this particular day a few weeks ago I didn’t meditate and let me tell you how my day went.
Despite the 8+ hours of sleep I had gotten the night before, I woke up feeling unrested the moment my eyes opened. I drove to drop something off to a friend, someone cut me off and then flipped me off, I gave them the bird right back – as if to say, “good morning to you too.” When I pull up to my friend’s house I pull too close to the curb and destroy the rim of my tire. When I get home my dog excitedly greets me, trying to jump high enough to kiss me on the face. I shamefully scream so intensely at him to stop. The anger way too intense for the crime he had committed. After all, he was just trying to say hi. Finally, I pour my son a bottle of milk, holding him as he drinks it. He fills his fleshy cheeks with milk, something I didn’t notice as his cheeks permanently look like he’s stored a month’s worth of nuts in them – a feature I hope he never loses. And then he proceeds to spit his entire mouthful of milk in my face, spraying me like a sprinkler. As I stand there soaking wet, milk dripping off my chin and onto my brand new dress, my son is laughing his ass off as if it was the funniest thing he has ever seen in his entire life because after 14 months, it probably was. I admit defeat. A full day of unfortunate events, all before 1PM.
This is life for me without meditation. Life feels hard and clunky, I have a short fuse, low energy, exchange middle fingers instead of friendly hellos, I trade in moments of laughter for moments of defeat. I don’t feel connected with who I truly am. I feel out of control.
I’ve recently gotten back on the meditation train — choo choo. It feels good to be back, to be consistent, to be laughing, brushing things off, calm, connected to myself, unbreakable and enjoying every puppy kiss – even if I do get knocked over every once in a while. This is the impact of meditation.
Karlie Everhart is a life coach and writes in her bio, “I have developed mastery in helping Millennial women through serving nearly seven years in the tech industry, developing myself in management while guiding and mentoring young women to achieve their career goals, earned a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology with an emphasis in Consciousness, Health, and Healing and am a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation […], all because I never want another woman to be stifled by her own self-doubt.
I am committed to giving women the tools to experiencing unconditional self-love, which feels like the biggest impact I can make.”