Why the Fu*k didn’t I do this sooner?

Vedic Meditation teacher Kate Cliff of Kate Cliff Meditation on the South Coast

Today I’ve been meditating for four years.

Who. Would. Have. Thought.

Adding meditation into my life is an endeavour that I quite frankly, never thought I’d embark upon.

And if you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be teaching meditation, well I would have thought you were f-ing crazy!

I learnt at a time when I was ready to have a different experience of life.

I didn’t come willingly. Willingly would have been learning when not one, but two great physiotherapists told me I needed to learn to meditate. When they shared with me their observations of how they had seen meditation help their patients with their pain and being able to sleep, and more importantly to me, when they pointed me in the direction of the scientific evidence of how meditation changes the body’s biochemistry and the physical structure of the brain.

No. No. I came in handcuffs.

I’d like to say that the transition came about through conscious decision-making on my part, but that couldn’t be further from what happened. There was actually a series of quite spectacular events, most of which I resisted and struggled against. You see I had a very clear idea of what I wanted my life to look like, and that was how things were going to be. But life was trying to move me in a different direction. Life is pretty persistent. But so am I. So what began as very subtle messages about changing the way I lived my life, became increasingly harder to ignore.

The hardest of which was being hit by a car.

A pedestrian, on a pedestrian crossing, late one night, leaving work.

I could go into the details of what happened and the injuries, but it’s simply not important (plus I kind of covered that here). What’s important is that I was debilitated like I had never been before and this began the process of me letting go of the very specific idea of what my life was supposed to look like.

Remember I said I was persistent though, right?

So this began the process, but let me tell you a bit about that process. I was NOT willing to let go of control of my life, I was tackling it like I would a legal brief. But the pain was excruciating and no matter what I did, it wasn’t going away.

I’d actually done near death before as part of that series of quite spectacular events that had occurred. I figured I could do it again.

Then two things happened. My neurosurgeon said that last resort surgery was now unavoidable. Confirmed by a second opinion. And I got told having kids pretty much wasn’t going to happen for me.

Being a Mum is the only thing that I have ever known that I have wanted to be in my life. And it’s always been there.

I thought I knew pain. We were well acquainted. But this was next level.

I dropped the news on my brother over the phone, cried, swore him to secrecy – because I couldn’t bear to talk about it with anyone else – told him off when he didn’t keep up his end of the deal, was unresponsive to any form of communication from anyone and from memory didn’t leave my apartment for more than a week.

I was overwhelmed with grief. My world was completely spinning out of my control.

Once I wallowed in that for a while, something happened. I kind of decided that I wasn’t ok with this being the outcome of my life. The desire to be able to have children was so strong, that it got me moving. Got me to rise up. Got me to seek out a way to have a different experience of life. It got me off the floor in a pool of my own tears.

It got me to meditation. 

I didn’t come willingly. I came in handcuffs. I came when life had gotten so loud, that it had my attention and could no longer be ignored. At a time when I had thought things couldn’t get any worse, they got so shit, that I literally had nothing left to lose and everything to gain.

But I did come because I wanted change. And I was highly motivated.

Meditation provided me a sense of relief that I had never experienced before.

I started to be able to sleep and eat, my body started to heal, I got some space back from the pain and the negative self-destructive voices in my head, and I felt self-empowered – that I had a tool that I could use anywhere, anytime, that enabled me to change my experience of life.

It might sound like things got good overnight. It wasn’t like that at all. I felt relief like I had never felt before, but often it also felt like two steps forward, and four steps back. And it’s an ongoing process. As is my meditation practice.

The thing about meditation is that it doesn’t actually work unless you do it. Much like a gym membership. Just signing up isn’t going to cut it (trust me I’ve tried!). You’ve got to get your butt to the gym and do the work.

And every day, twice a day, I did. And do.

The benefits I experience from meditating are undeniable.

I spent way too much of my life in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, and pain management clinics, with people who were suffering even worse than me. You can’t be around that and not be affected by it. It was wanting relief for them too, that lead me to want to teach meditation.

I never had the surgery. I’m not against modern medicine. It’s pretty incredible. But I wasn’t satisfied with the outcomes being suggested and the risks involved. I’ve also told the only thing standing between me and motherhood now, is the right man. Let’s see.

It all sounds too good to be true. And I didn’t believe any of it at first either. But then even the lawyer in me couldn’t argue with the medical tests. Or the women around me who were now falling pregnant after having learnt to meditate.

Adding meditation into my life is the single best thing I have ever done.

It helped me move through the inner and outer hell that was my life. And it felt like my responsibility to teach other people to do that too, if they fancied.

The gorgeous Nicky Lark over on the calmlykaotic.com blog shared my story recently and her own experience of learning to meditate with me, summing things up as follows:

“Sometimes things happen that are just devastatingly unfair. But we all have an option… To stop saying ‘why me’  and start saying ‘why the Fu*k didn’t I do this sooner’…

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