An open window let in the cool, fresh breeze. As it flowed into the room it danced its way over to her as she sat on her favourite comfy old brown armchair. It lightly tickled her from the tips of her fingers up into the her crease of neck, whilst she sat with her eyes closed and legs crossed.
As she took in a long deep breath, she closely followed the cold air delicately enter her nostrils, passing through to slowly fill up her lungs. Her chest and stomach naturally expanded as the air carefully reached every crevice. Her body was a mixture of firm, relaxed, upright and strong, allowing her mind to stay as alert as she needed it to be. She was a beautiful petite woman with long wavy auburn hair, which framed the small features upon her pale face. Without much makeup or perfume to mask her true scent, her natural beauty drew you towards her, becoming captivated by her presence. She was loving and understanding, she knew the power she held being a young attractive woman, but was very conscious of not using this to her advantage.
Continuing on, watching the intricate details of each breath, she noticed her breathing becoming less frequent as she relaxed into the moment. I’m not doing this right! She thought, I’m not doing this right at all, am I supposed to feel something right, ah, i’m thinking again, back to the breath now little lady, she continued. Quite new to meditation, she was quickly learning how her mind could easily become manipulated by itself, creating scenarios or thoughts that would stop her from enjoying herself and her experience of life. Meditation was helping her notice when she was lost in thought so she could bring herself back to the present; back to observing.
Throughout her childhood she was never exposed to any form of spiritual practice, or had a conversation about her feelings for that matter. Instead, she was lost in desire’s tight grasp, finding all of her happiness and self development through the art of materialism. All she knew was money and power, as her family had an abundance of both. This ensured she saw no further than what she knew, narrowing her perception of others and the entire world.
After years of chasing happiness in a materialistic manner, surprisingly, she never felt truly happy. The excitement that once kidnapped her whole sense of being, inducing an energy that rumbled up inside of her, faded. The love that she felt for her parents when they surprised her with a new car, low and behold, faded too. Her life was controlled externally, always finding herself chasing after the next high and bitterly disappointed when she didn’t get what she desired.
Over the years she became increasingly fed up with the ups and downs of her lifestyle and the way it made her feel. She would become easily frustrated, whilst feeling a sense of nothingness the majority of the time. A thick fog now blocked her vision and her mind, seeing no hope for her and her future. With a constant flow of people tending to her needs, always ensuring she was happy and safe, she had never learned how to do this for herself. Now trapped in her obsessively frantic mind of excruciating anxiety and despair, she had no idea how to get out.
Some time had passed and things continued getting worse. She knew that she needed more in life to keep her mind active and engaged, so after great contemplation she decided that she would try ‘giving back’. Whilst searching online she found a volunteer project where she could work with less fortunate teenagers who found themselves homeless after they were released from their foster homes. Sixteen herself, she met many others the same age who were thrown out of their foster homes because they had now reached an ‘Adult’ status. Now on the street to fend for themselves, she couldn’t quite get her head around how they survived. She met numerous teenagers who had indured terribly inhumane and brutal childhoods, filled with sexual abuse, violence and psychological abuse too. Many of these children were left with agonising anxiety, depression or simply unable to communicate properly and form relationships.
The first week was tough, she would go after school for two hours each evening, befriend them, help find them a place to stay, make food and sometimes help them with basic reading and writing. She would see what it meant to be there for someone in need, to help someone develop, increase their confidence and abilities; all to enable them to succeed or survive in this complex and challenging world. At the beginning, her anxieties left her stiff, limiting how much she could give. For the first time in her life her bubble had been burst and she was well and truly out of her comfort zone. Out of depth, feeling exposed, she couldn’t help but feel the enormous gap between herself and those struggling around her; so she decided it was time to close it.
Three months later she reached home after another difficult, but successful and rewarding volunteering session, with a tiny smile upon her face. For as long as she could remember she had felt numb from her core, feeling nothing towards others, herself and the money her parents used to buy her love with. But something changed within her, over the past few months she began to feel a warm glow develop from the depth of her stomach, creating space inside of her as it continued to grow. It lifted her up and allowed her to make the most of out life, outshining the ruthlessness of the excessive thoughts that would criticize and doubt her.
Catching a glimpse of genuine happiness, she was able to see the difference between it and the short lived moments of joy that she once thought were the same. She began to see how happiness is a way of living, a journey of self-development and acceptance. With a new lease on life she craved more of the calm beauty she found within. She started reading self-help books, watching lectures and started writing a journal which explored her fears, anxieties, passions and desires. She started meditating, downloading an app to help her begin. She had read various books which spoke so passionately about the benefits of meditation, how it helped people accept who they are and what they have, as well as being able to release the tendency to grasp onto things and others, acknowledging and accepting the continual presence of change.
Each morning, after making her bed, cleaning up and drinking a big glass of refreshing cold water, she would sit in an upright position in her favourite comfy old brown armchair. As she closed her eyes, crossed her legs, she began to take in some big deep breaths. Following each breath closely, observing her thoughts and feelings whilst allowing them to pass, her mind became stronger, calmer and more aware. The techniques she learned during meditation came in handy throughout the day too, becoming free from desire, happier and less likely to react instantly to difficult or testing situations. Not only was her happiness more consistent, her relationships were more authentic and her impact on others and the entire world was much more positive too.
The journey of desire removes you from what you already have, starves you of your gratitude, creates friction within, blocks your growth and blinds you from what happiness really is.
– Evie Pardoe
– Natalya P (artwork)