I am terrible at meditating. And it has changed my life.

I am terrible at meditating. And it has changed my life.

I am terrible at meditating. And it has changed my life.

During a particularly catastrophic time in my life (divorce, job loss, moving) , I started meditating every morning for 5-15 minutes. Whatever I could squeeze in before my daughter woke up. Then I began meditating before bed too. I sit up in my bed, close my eyes, attempt to breathe with a little intention and listen to exactly how loud and emotional my brain is.

This morning while I was meditating I remembered I needed to pull out the breakfast sausage from the freezer. I thought about a recent get together with a friend where they shared their own catasphrophic news. I felt through his life changes and mine. Familiar huge feelings of loss and anger welled up. I prayed. I watched myself feel, think, plan. Feel. Feel some more. I observed my incredibly noisy brain, my full to brimming heart, my steady breath. And then, my alarm went off and it was time to start my morning.  

I’m not good at mindfulness. I’m not good at meditation. But, I do it anyway.

When I only do things I’m good at I lose a lot of richness. No learning, no struggles, nothing overcome. I get to feeling like I’m supposed to be perfect. What a frightening place to be, because there’s only one direction and it will involve many bruises. It gets boring, only doing the things I feel I’m good at. It’s stuffy and lifeless and full of fear of the simplest of fuck ups. And, being scared of simple fuck ups means I’m afraid of a very foundational part of being human. It is very much like being afraid of my own shadow. It’s part of me.

Consistently doing something I’m terrible at - now that’s interesting.

Failing. Learning. Struggling. Dealing with the frustration of seeing my flaws day after day. Continually not measuring up and realizing that I never will. I’m not actually supposed to measure up to my ideals and it’s beside the point anyway.


Being terrible at meditating but still doing it twice a day has taught me this one big thing: We don’t do things to be good at them. We cook and eat to sustain our bodies. We walk and move to exercise our bodies. We sleep to rest our bodies. Most of the things we do everyday, we do because they sustain us. Perfection does not sustain us. In fact, it takes a knife to our veins and drains us of our life force. Not every pursuit needs to be transcendent.

I meditate because I have chosen to notice in a very pedestrian way that I have a mind and a soul and it might be nice to sit with those things for a moment. That’s it. No enlightenment for me.

I’m picking through the rubble of my totally disassembled life. I’m watching my mind behave much like a monkey swinging its way through the jungle. I’m watching my heart flood with anger, sorrow, joy, relief, freedom, and confusion. I’m connecting in some way to something larger that sits at the center of my being and connects to something huge and terrifyingly beautiful. It is scary and hard.

I sit with all the pieces of my recently destroyed life and continually notice that I’m still breathing. It sucks. It’s good.

How to find the hidden gems of your superpowers.

How to find the hidden gems of your superpowers.