For the vast majority of 2017, I've had this general sinking feeling that my life is spiraling out of control. Dramatic as that may sound, I've sure you've experienced this kind of thing at one point or another. That feeling that just about everything in life in about two feet out of reach, that no matter how fast you run you can't catch it, that you're just slipping away backwards, with everything you want vanishing into the distance. Yeah, that's pretty much been my entire 2017. 

Despite being in a job that I was deeply unhappy in, triggered my anxiety like no other, and was generally a toxic place for me to be - losing it was devastating. The psychological toll that incurs when you're told you're not good enough to do something you've dedicated your career to isn't great. True, my getting let go was based quite a bit in budgeting and financial reasons, but as with any millennial, a lot of my self worth felt very connected to my career, and, sadly, salary. Knowing it was for the best just wasn't enough. It hurt, and still does. That, coupled with spending the next nine months hustling to find something else, with little luck, just compounded the general feeling of constant loss. Nine months of rejection isn't easy, and I was facing it both professionally and personally (dating is a bitch, you guys). 

For a while, I just let things happen. I put effort into the freelance jobs I took, spent time with friends, cared about those I was dating. But up until a couple of weeks ago I had just resigned myself to whatever the universe threw my way, and it crushed me. I was convinced that I was doing everything I could, that this was just the way my life was going to go, that it was only a matter of time before I ended up back in my parents' basement with my own personal collection of cats. But eventually putting on a happy face kept getting harder and harder, and I started searching for ways to not let my soul get completely pulverized every day. Yoga, boxing, running, reading - all of these were great, and I found that the more I did them the better I felt. If I had a particularly rough day, I'd hop into a yoga class. Trouble sleeping? Read. But as helpful as these things became in the immediate, deep down I began to recognize that this was how I've been for 30 years. That hard times did not sit well with me. That every sentence or word spoken was something I dwelled on for years. Never letting things go, never letting feelings go. Carrying the burden of struggle and rejection long past it's shelf life. And I realized that there had to be a better way.

Enter: meditation.

This morning I took a class at MNDFL (if you haven't been or aren't familiar, I would absolutely recommend checking it out). It was an intentions class, and with the New Year quickly approaching, intentions have been on my mind lately. Often prompted to set one during yoga, I'd say my rate of actually doing so is only about 40% of the time (sorry to all those killer teachers out there, I just can't sometimes). Meditation in general is something I've slowly been warming to. My personal practice is far from what you'd call a regular one, but the more I do it the more I'm choosing to find space in my life for it. But lately I've realized, albeit somewhat reluctantly, that it is the better way, and class this morning solidified that feeling. If you're not familiar with the practice of intention setting, it's essentially exactly as it sounds. The important part being that it is the feeling you are going for, not necessarily a tangible thing. Being asked to look inward and recognize something you need to work on, or a quality you'd like to focus on can be challenging. I'll be the first to admit that in the brief 30 minute class this morning I was fighting back tears. Calling to attention something that I, personally, have been trying to stifle has it's emotional repercussions. That thing is worthiness. And it's been coming up in my life a lot lately. It's taken me almost a year to come to understand that a large part of my frustration with all that's been happening isn't the actual job, the actual career, the actual boyfriend, the actual number in the bank account. Although those things are very real, the trigger, the underlying factor, the really, truly devastating part, is that they are all connected to this sentiment of being worthy. When those things are taken away or challenged, confidence in that worthiness is shaken. This morning, when asked to acknowledge it, draw it out, meditate on it, attach it to situations that have proven difficult in the past, I began to see that it is this feeling that has been the largest roadblock. But that it can be overcome. Mindfulness, accepting what is, recognizing this thing that is standing in your way and moving past it - those are the things that will help in continuing forward.

And that is a very powerful thing. 


Jennifer Cook