Years ago, long before I became a meditation teacher and when I was first starting my career in audiology, during an initial consultation a new patient of mine asked me: “Dr. Powis, what do you think is the meaning of life?”
This inquiry took me by surprise. At the time, I was a young, bright-eyed, and bushy tailed doctor ready to change lives.
So naturally my answer was: “to help others.”
“Oh, yes. That is important, too,” he replied. “But the real meaning of life is for us to ENJOY.”
At the time, I had a hard time wrapping my head around that idea. It sounded so selfish.
So I went along my way, eventually owning and running a successful private practice. I have seen and helped over a thousand patients over the years.
But taking time for myself was not something I prioritized. Because of this, I became exhausted and found myself on the brink of burnout.
And then my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I was in the thick of my work of helping others in my growing practice, and found myself torn between being there in New England and being down south with my dying mother.
Somehow, I was able to be with her in her last moments.
And for a long time after that, I was ridden with guilt.
That I had not immediately prioritized her…the fact that I was even “torn” between her and my work, emotionally tore me apart.
Flash forward a few years later and I am still healing.
Lots of inner work.
Lots of support from others.
Lots of self-care.
Lots of meditation.
It’s led me to release some of the painful thoughts that simply don’t serve me.
As well as to — dare I say — weave more enjoyment into my life.
My work on this earth has evolved. And I am still devoted to helping others.
But what’s different now is that I’ve included myself as one of those to prioritize and care for.
Meditation definitely has changed me but I’m not saying it’s the cure-all. As I mentioned earlier, meditation is a daily habit I layer in with other forms of practicing wellbeing.
Meditation has allowed me to start to un-peel the many layers of why I was striving so hard to achieve in the first place.
Why I had workaholic tendencies.
Why I was using food to comfort or entertain me.
Through ever increasing self-awareness which is what the style of meditation I teach cultivates.
And the result: compassion for myself. Gentleness towards myself. Which naturally leads to compassion for others.
I’ll end with this thought: we’re all already enough.
And yes, enjoyment of life is really important. We enjoy life when we feel a strong sense of connection, growth, and belonging.
Let’s connect with ourselves and to others.
Let’s grow ourselves and others.
Let’s belong to ourselves and to others.