If you’d rather listen than read:
My Day Four assignment for the “Blogging 101” course that I have enrolled in is to publish a post for my ideal audience member. Seeing as this was assigned five days ago, I’m definitely playing catch-up, but I am determined to make it!
Well, this got me thinking, who is my ideal audience member? Honestly, for me, I think it’s anyone who is willing to listen. Anyone who is looking to learn something new, to engage in new ways of thinking and experiencing the world, and anyone with an urge to add depth in their lives.
(Cue heartfelt letter)
To my reader,
I write not because I would like credit for ideas or fame for my writings.
I write because I hope to provide you with an insight or a thought or a brief peek inside my journey that can touch you and maybe even help you see the world differently.
However, no matter how powerful words can be, you are the only one who can determine how powerful they will be.
Ultimately, you are the only person that can get yourself to change.
It is so easy to fall into traps of thinking in which we excuse ourselves from the burden of having to change. We find creative ways to blame our shortcomings and our faults on our parents, our circumstances, our “wrong places” and “wrong times”. And yet, I find this strategy to be one that will only doom us until it is too late.
Let’s take a simple example. For the longest time, one of my biggest challenges was getting myself to meditate regularly.
I knew meditation was something that was important to me, a means for investing in myself and a way to relax after a stressful day, not to mention, a scientifically beneficial way for me to spend my time.
Here was this amazing thing that I wanted to do and I knew I should do. So then what was the problem? For some reason, I felt like I couldn’t do it.
As a college student, I felt constantly overwhelmed by my sporadic schedule, spontaneous outings with friends, and the never-ending “To Do” list of things that I would always be trying to finish.
For me, meditation began to symbolize an “ideal future” that we often create for ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously. It became a symbol for the kind of lifestyle that I was going to live “one day” in my stable adult future. I felt like meditating regularly just wasn’t feasible for a college schedule or student lifestyle, but I fantasized that the moment I had a steady job with set hours, I would be able to organize my life much better, and everything would just fall in place.
As is the case with many people, I had very realistic and reasonable excuses for why I just couldn’t make it happen. Homework assignments, late nights, lack of sleep, existential conversations, last-minute meetings, there was literally a million reasons why I couldn’t meditate.
That was until I began to realize something that shattered everything.
The older that I became, the more problems that I began to face, and the more I interacted with “adults”, the more I began to realize that in many ways, grown-ups haven’t always grown up. Unfortunately, I have seen adults throw tantrums, get angry, feel jealous, and do things that normally toddlers would receive a timeout for. Instead of receiving a timeout however, many adults just get to continue with their child-like behaviors. Furthermore, I have spent hours discussing personal dilemmas and issues with people decades older than me, only to realize that they themselves have been unable to resolve their own problems. While we may be able to gain wisdom from our experiences, how wise is an experienced adult who still can’t get their life together? I realized that the divide between being a teenager and turning into an adult was only an artificial one that I had created.
In turn, what creating this divide did is only perpetuate this misguiding feeling that I was suddenly going to change one day from being the somewhat lazy, perpetually tired, overstressed teenager that I was into the active, well-rounded, balanced adult that I wanted to be. I realized that the “ideal future” that I was fantasizing about in which I was a mature and refined adult with a stable life and everything in order was based on the naïve assumption that change would simply happen automatically as I grew older.
But it doesn’t.
You won’t learn how to cook until you decide to start cooking.
You won’t learn how to be more social until you begin to start conversations.
You won’t finish the books on your reading list until you decide to start reading them.
You won’t become healthier until you start eating well and/or exercising more.
You won’t become a blogger or author until you start writing.
You won’t start meditating regularly until you actually start to meditate.
You will always be able to find an excuse unless and until you decide to stop trying to find one.
So what did I do? I realized that I was never going to become the person I wanted to be until I took the necessary steps to change into that person.
I made an active effort to change. I stopped letting myself make excuses and I began to meditate everyday, no matter what. In the process, my whole life has changed completely in beautiful ways (another topic for another time).
It was over a year ago since I began to meditate every day, and I haven’t looked back since. I am still a college student with a sporadic schedule, late nights, and an endless “To-Do” list, and yet here I am, actually able to meditate every day. Simply because I started to try.
Ultimately, I believe that the lesson to learn is that it’s not enough just to idolize role models for their discipline, eagerness, generosity, or love – we need to actively incorporate those qualities into our lives. You are not just going to become more intelligent, more generous, more compassionate, more of a leader, or more humble until you actually try.
So, what are you waiting for?
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I am a student, a traveler, an activist, a meditation instructor…. and a blogger!
Come join me on my journey.