I have started meditating in 2014, thanks to Francesca. I was coming from a very hard year: working in the sport event business is no joke when it comes to stressful environment.
However, I was thinking I was doing OK: new year, new job, new city, new work domain. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, it turns out that sometimes the problem is you! You change everything you can, but you keep doing the same things with the same attitude and no surprise if you end up with the same results: I was still struggling.
Francesca figured out that I needed external help and knowing me, proud stubborn southern Italy nerd, she knew that it couldn’t be just “you should talk to somebody”, but it had to be some sort of a project I could keep doing by myself. She gave me Headspace by @andypuddicombe and everything changed.
At the beginning it was tough. I couldn’t focus on the exercise. I kept creating lame excuses like “I don’t have time for this meditation thing. I have stuff to do!”, but week after week, it kicked in.
For the first time in my life, things were different, because I was different. Being forced to sit for 10 minutes and do nothing became being able to sit for 10 minutes and be mindful.
Since then, I’m meditating every day, improving my ability of managing stress, unexpected events and conflicts, sleeping better, being focused and creative in what I do. A lot of improvement from just a few minutes of… well… of what exactly?
I put quite an amount of thoughts into this and now I can say “a few minutes of being alone”. I believe this is something that my generation lacks a lot. We are so constantly busy with everything that we struggle with being by ourselves, like if we were somehow scared.
I often got asked about my personal and professional path and the mindfulness topic always comes up. It’s always tricky because the moment I start talking about my experience and my current meditation habit, I get comments like “I can’t do it!”, “No way I can sit for that long. I have stuff to do!”, “I tried it once. It didn’t help” and so on.
After a few of these conversations, you start seeing patterns: people misunderstand being alone with being lonely. I see this a lot in my generation: a subtle, unconscious, uncomfortable feeling of guilt when you stop doing things, and so, we fill our lives with stuff to do, constantly struggling to complete the todo list.
I was exactly like this: busy, stressed, always struggling. It was a long time ago… actually not… it was just a few years ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago, because the difference is enormous and the difference is mostly in how I feel when I’m alone, in the room, meditating. I’m not lonely, I’m aware of myself, of things I can control and aware of my ability of properly processing what I can’t control.
Self-improvement never stops, because you can’t be prepared for everything that life throws at you. What you can do is working on being at peace with yourself and this reflects all around you. When I’m mindful I keep a positive mental attitude and this creates a healthy atmosphere also for those around me.
Make no mistake: I’m still a big work-in-progress and there is still a long path towards being the person I want to be, but what I can tell you is find a person that loves you and sees behind the mask you unconsciously built, find a company and colleagues that care about your happiness and find those 10 minutes to be alone with yourself.