3 Amazing Changes Meditation Has Made To My Life

I have been meditating daily for over a year now. Here are the 3 biggest changes I have noticed since I started to meditate over a year ago.

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Enjoying the beautiful garden in Stockholm, Sweden. (Pre-meditation me: insecure and unsure about, well, everything.)

I feel confident, beautiful and may I dare say sexy (!) in my own skin.

For years, I have been dealing with low self-esteem. This low self-esteem usually stems from my own insecurities, but it also comes from toxic people in my past. I have learned that the opinions of others does not matter. As corny as it sounds, “the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself”. It has taken me years of self-love and now a year of meditation to realize that I am beautiful just the way I am.

I think about the food I put in my body.

At least I am starting to. I am learning to tune into what my body is telling me and I am (sort of) starting to listen. I am lactose intolerant so I often turn to vegan alternatives instead of dairy. When I start to feel tired I know I need to increase my iron (I have perpetually low iron). Recently, I have been getting more colds, which may mean I need more Vitamin C (at least this is what my mother and sister think). I am certainly no expert, but I am learning and I am gradually starting to think about the food that I put into my body.

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Delicious vegan crepe from the Hibiscus Cafe in Toronto.

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Amazing Vegan COOKIE DOUGH Ice cream at the Vegan Fest in Guelph.

I am setting boundaries.

Well, I am starting to. I was told by countless people growing up – “Meghan you are too nice” and “you need to stand up for yourself”. Growing up people would take advantage of my kindness. But those days are long gone, I have a newfound respect for myself and I am now able to stand up for myself.

Have you tried meditating yet? Go on give it a go and  let me know how it goes!

Travel – running away? Or perspective?

Last year, I went on my first solo journey to France.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was using travel to run away from the things I was not yet ready to face.

My lack of direction, more accurately.

I went to France to run away, but realized while I was there that I had to face my fears directly. I could no longer rely on other people. I had to rely solely on my own.

I learned a lot about myself during those two months:

I love spending time on my own, in fact, I need it.

I am very patient and calm during stressful situations.

I am a good teacher.

So while this trip originated from a place of confusion, desperation and loss, I ended up finding much more than I expected.

I ended up learning more about myself.

 

 

It’s been a while

It has been a while since I have written a post. I mentioned in a previous post, a few months back, that I had enrolled in a Teaching English as a Second Language course at a local college.

Well, now I am finished that course.

I underestimated just how much work the course would be. The course was challenging and fun. I learned a lot about myself over the last few months.

I started teaching English to adults, and I learned that I absolutely love teaching.

I started practicing yoga six days a week. Even if my practice is only about 5 minutes, and consists only of 5 sun salutations I consider that a success.

I started standing up for myself, and making difficult decisions on my own.

A lot has happened in the last few months of 2015. It certainly has been a very challenging and rewarding year.

I have grown in more ways than one, and I am excited to continue pursuing my dreams.

I love languages

This week was my first week back at school. It’s wild to think that I have been out of school for a whole year already.

After France, I decided to pursue my love of languages, by enrolling in a teaching English as a second language (TESL) diploma program at a local college, and by taking a French course.

Walking into my first TESL class this week and sitting through my first full day of classes, meeting people who also have a love of languages I knew I made the right choice.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”. – Nelson Mandela

I think learning a new language is not only fascinating but humbling. I think it is important for all people to experience the struggles associated with learning a new foreign language – such as English or French.

It is not an easy feat to learn a completely different language from your own. Having an understanding of this fact and other languages not only makes it easier to connect with other people but it also opens our eyes to the vast cultures that exist on this planet. Cultural difference is incredible.

“Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children” – Michael Gove 

I cry… a lot.

Now that I have returned from France I have been more confused than ever. I have been unsure about my choices, direction and purpose in my life.

As I tend to get overwhelmed with feelings and insecurity – I have been crying a lot the last month.

When I say a lot I mean I usually cry at least every other day. Usually everyday. But then there are days when I feel like things are looking up and then I don’t cry for a few days.

But then I have a reality check usually provided by someone close to me who feels the need to remind that I am still unemployed.

THANKS.

Like I needed that reminder.

“Everything will work out”

This is something my Nana says fairly often. Actually all the time. I think I have said it before – I do believe this to be true. But damn it is hard to make it through the crap to get to the other side.

When will everything be all worked out? Will everything ever be all worked out?

“You will spend your whole life wondering what to do with your life”

This is something my dad said to me recently. And I had never really considered that before. But maybe he is right. Maybe I will never have everything all figured out. Is that really even possible?

Maybe I just need to learn to enjoy the ride.

It’s hard to be kind when you’re miserable

Alright, here is some real talk.

I started this blog at the end of last year because I wanted an outlet to put my thoughts, and be held accountable for my actions.

But something I have realized is that it is pretty damn difficult to be kind to other people when you are really unhappy.

I know for me this is certainly true. When I feel at ease (which is rare) I find it much easier to smile at strangers, offer them help and be kind to people who I love. But as soon as my mood shifts, I become overwhelmed and get really unhappy, that ease sort of disappears.

I have been reading a lot about the power of positive thinking and the difference that changing your perspective can have not only on your current mood, but also your entire outlook on life.

I do agree with Charles R. Swindoll when he said – “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”, however, I found really difficult to follow through with what he is talking about.

Yes, I know shitty things exist in this world. Sometimes it feels like that is all there is -shitty things that apparently have no solutions. Or that nobody seems to give a rat’s ass about them.

Why don’t people care that there are human beings living on the streets? Why don’t people care that some families can barely afford to put food on their tables, clothe their children, and provide them with a safe and loving home? Why don’t people care about animals being slaughtered and being kept in horrifying conditions? What about animals being tested on, why does nobody care about them?

Have people become so self-involved that they don’t care about anything that doesn’t impact them directly?

I don’t know about any of you (whoever you are reading my blog) but I will never stop caring. I will not change who I am, I will not stop caring about human beings, all living things and our environment.

No matter how miserable I get I will always be grateful for the world we live in.

I am at a confusing time in my life – I am unemployed and cry regularly – but no matter how miserable I get in my life I will always make an effort to extend kindness to others and the world we live in.

I hope you all do to. We all have our own stories and are fighting our own battles but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help each their along the way.

France – Day 42 – 46: Lyon & Orléans

My final days in France were spent enjoying Lyon and Orleans.

I had a wonderful time in these cities, although they were a little more lonely. I stayed in a hotel in both Lyon and Orléans so meeting people was definitely more of a challenge. I am shy, and to be honest I was really looking forward to be heading home in a few days, so at times I was not in the mood to talk to many people (especially in French).

Lyon

Lyon was a wonderful city, rich of history and amazing food.

Each meal I had in Lyon was absolutely incredible, and the streets were all extremely charming. I went to the Musée Gadagne where they had a really interesting rose exhibit detailing the history of roses in France. I am kind of a nerd and love going to museums to learn about the rich history of each place I go to.

Lyon, France - food

Vegetarian Meal from Ramen Shop

Lyon, France - river

Gorgeous river view in Lyon

Lyon, France

Amazing grilled chèvre cheese sandwich in Lyon

Lyon, France

Statue in Lyon

Lyon, France

Charming side street in Old Town

Orléans

My last stop – Orléans! This was an adorable, small little town located in the Loire Valley. Orléans is one of the oldest towns in France, and was the location where Joan of Arc liberated France on 8 May 1429. If you get the chance to visit definitely check out Cathédrale Sainte-Croix  and the Jeanne D’Arc statue. There are also several museums in Orléans detailing the history in the town. Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit the museums, as I was only in Orléans for one day.

Joan of Arc - Jeanne D'Arc, Orleans, France

Jeanne D’Arc Statue in Orléans, France

side street Orleans, France

Charming side street in Orléans

Cathédrale Sainte-Croix - Orléans, France

Cathédrale Sainte-Croix