May 10, 2018

Why I decided to do a 3 month Meditation Sabbatical

When I was growing up, I hated meditation. Sounds bad to say these days with so much talk about mindfulness and meditation,

…but it’s true.

When both your parents are meditating every day in the ‘meditation room’ (aka the converted shed in the backyard) and that’s the best time for your brother to pick on you, you’d probably hate it too.

So for the first 30 years of my life, I had a huuugggeeee aversion to meditation. I’d convinced myself there was no way I could sit still long enough to ‘quiet my mind’ and it was just straight out boring anyway.

The most annoying part…every time I asked my Dad (who is a Psychologist) for advice about pretty much anything, guess what he’d almost always say?

“…Sarah, you just need to learn to meditate.”

I wanted to scream.

Secretly, I vowed never to meditate and NEVER to become a therapist like everyone else in my family.

From the age of about 10, I spent every school holidays working at my parents College where they ran Counselling & Psychology courses – soooo boring…

Fast forward 30 years – I’d been through a divorce, suffered with anxiety and depression most of my life and low and behold I came upon some very good therapists.

Coupled with starting my Coaching business which required me to retrain (aka doing a shed load of personal development), I was making huge inroads in my life.

At the same time, my Dad finally convinced me to ‘try’ a meditation retreat with a Psychologist & Buddhist Meditation Teacher from Harvard (that sounded a bit more interesting than the boring idea of meditation I had in mind).

And guess what?

I loved it!

So it would seem that the two things I HATED for the majority of my life – Meditation and Psychology, have turned out to be the two things that have helped me the most.

Together, they’ve helped me heal my anxiety and depression and manage my thoughts and emotions so effectively that I can now assist others to do the same.

Thus, I’ve been feeling pretty chuffed with myself lately…

But recently I did something that’s taken me to the ‘next level’.

Vipassana.

That’s the style of meditation my parents were doing all those years ago. Still Buddhist, though different to what I’d been doing with my teacher from Harvard.

To learn it though, you have to do a 10 day silent retreat at the meditation centre. This was part of the reason I never thought I’d be able to meditate.

Me…10 days…no talking… You’ve gotta be kidding!

That was, until 2 months ago, when I decided to tackle this meditation bootcamp for the first time.

Although I’d done 5 meditation retreats to date, none of them were silent, so this kinda felt like a big deal – doing my first 10 day silent Vipassana course in the Blue Mountains.

And guess what? I’ve never felt so happy and relaxed in my life.

From the moment I got there, I felt like I was home.

It’s possible, as my parents have both done over 20 courses each at this Centre (my mum did two when I was in utero) that somehow this style of meditation was in my DNA the whole time.

So much so, I didn’t want to leave when the course was over!

‘What now?’ I asked the Universe on Day 10…

The message was loud and clear…Come back to the Centre.

This felt so right I had to pursue it!

So I’m off on a 3 month Sabbatical in the Blue Mountains where I’ll be living and breathing Vipassana. I’m not sure where I’ll land at the end of this adventure but nothing has felt quite this right for a long time.

If you’ve ever struggled with anxiety or depression, or just wanted to learn to meditate, check out Vipassana. There are 170 Centres around the World and everyone is welcome. Courses are run by donation and founded on the premise that each person is ‘paying it forward’ for someone else to take a course rather than paying for yourself. I personally love this idea!

I hope to see you there.

Walking beside you,

With love,

Sarah xo

 

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