Where it Started
originally posted Oct 14, 2019
After teaching my first mindfulness meditation workshop, I felt something light up inside of me. Like this is what I have been meaning to do all my life. I have been through a lot in this young life. I was bullied, didn’t have many friends. I’ve had friends make fun of me. I was always the butt of the joke. I was never the popular one or the pretty one. I was always the outcast or the weird girl in the corner.
I went against all social norms when I was in my 20s. I had a strong urge to live abroad and out of my comfort zone. I followed a path that I knew was very hard. But it couldn’t be as hard as my adolescent years. I wanted the challenge. I wanted to go and do something no one in my family had ever done. Then there was no way to measure if you were doing it wrong or right. It was my own experience.
I wanted to know what it was like to struggle and work hard without the comfort of my family.
Meditation began for me as a place to find my voice and a safe space to express myself. If it was crying, yelling or just looking up to the sky to ask for help from my past loved ones, meditation helped me cope with past traumas and emotional hardships of my childhood. I really started to feel the effects of meditation when I was taking the first of many Bodyflow classes. At the end of the class we had meditation and relaxation, their form of savasana. I physically felt energy vibrating above my body. This energy was telling me to follow my heart and move back “home” which might have been my home in a past life.
I remember feeling tingling and something pulling me to stand up for what I want. “Don’t be afraid,” it whispered to me. Something was telling me to follow the energy that was pulling me over the big blue ocean. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I cried a lot before actually leaving. But it was what my soul yearned for. It was what made me realize that this world is so much bigger than the little town I grew up in. There are so many people who can enter your life if you move yourself to a continent many miles away.
Oh the things you will learn about people, Katie! About life. About love. About how the world is affected by the actions of your country. Why is it so hard to see that when you are right in the thick of it? You are blinded by what you believe to be so, but when you see your country, your people through the eyes of Europeans, Africans, Asians, Irish, English, Australians, you see yourself as a citizen of the world differently too.
It is a great gift to be able to live as an immigrant. I loved every second of it. Because it taught me to listen to everyone’s story. No one person’s story is the same. I saw and felt things I would have never felt if I had never left home. I opened my mind and my heart to new ways of thinking and being.
Meditation while living as an immigrant only really happened for me when I was struggling. My go to place to find comfort and support was a tiny church in the heart of Florence. Santi Apostoli. I was introduced to this gem by my art and architecture teacher, Vera, in the spring of 2002. My first study abroad experience with my university that lasted for 3 months. The best 3 months of my life. I knew that was only the beginning of my schooling in “living as an immigrant”.
More stories and lessons I have learned from coming up in future posts.
This blog will dive into many things, meditation, yoga, self-empowerment, self-discovery, but most of all, how meditation has improved my life thus far.
I hope you’ll enjoy this journey with me.
Light & Love,