By Autumn Righino

It started ten years ago, I began dabbling in meditation a few times here and there.  Curiosity arose from a sense that there is ‘something more.’  This inquisitiveness has taken me on some serious tangents, but I managed to always somehow meander my way slightly further down the path.  

Then, after two-ish years of dabbling, an autoimmune disease caused me to have a stroke and heart failure and then needed heart surgery to repair the damage.  Once I made it through the years of that nonsense, I needed ‘something more’ so I started adding enough regularity to call it a practice.  

After a few months, I definitely noticed some benefits.  There was an ability to not explode over my partner not putting his dishes in the dishwasher, an ounce of compassion (which I had been lacking) and at least enough openness to realize I had feelings.  These felt like huge milestones.  In the years that followed, I definitely sharpened those skills, but that felt like the extent of my progress.

Recently though, after about four years of consistent (mostly) daily practice and participation in the Mind Oasis Meditation Immersion; I have noticeably crossed another milestone.  Whatever irritating thing that is happening in the moment (that feels like nails on the chalkboard), is just how it is.  “Next,” I think (like a checkout person), “how can I respond constructively?” 

Now that I created this space, I also was able to start healthily processing some of the trauma stored up in my body (this has taken a mass amount of effort, practitioners, tears and support; but it proven to be worth it). In addition, I learned how to rest. I learned that I was loveable.  I learned I was enough. I learned to appreciate my body. I finally truly internalized these lessons.  

This, friends, has been a gamechanger.  

Don’t get me wrong, my trail is far from worn.  I still have a long, undulating journey ahead…one that will last as long as I am alive.  But my intention is to shed all the layers I need in order to find that pure self, my true nature.  I am getting closer, I can feel it bubbling up from within.  

I’m not writing this to toot the Mind Oasis horn, I am writing this because I am the perfect case study in how meditation can (despite all the hype, apps, woo-ness), help people learn the skills necessary for living a life that is more full of joy and fulfillment.  Meditation doesn’t make your life better; it sharpens your awareness of the small beautiful moments and allows the shitty moments to fade to the background.  That, in my opinion, makes those 20-30 minutes per day completely worth it.

I am ready to take one breath at a time and experience whatever adventures lie ahead, both good and bad, and to see what I can learn in the process.