Hello, Its Julie here. Intrigued how I went from a corporate professional to a Meditation Expert?
I am originally from Canada and have lived in the UK for almost 10 years. I spent 20 years in corporate management. Somehow I survived the constant pressures of deadlines and inflexible work hours. Working at firms like Arthur Andersen (now Accenture), Shell, Nortel, GE and Barclays trained me from a young age to think in a very logical and objective manner. So, to say that I was sceptical of holistic practises such as meditation would be a serious understatement! It is fair to say that 15 years ago I thought meditation was “koo koo bananas”!
So what led me to Meditation?? Quite simply – I felt very unfulfilled with the life I was leading. In my 30’s I found myself attaining many of the goals I had set. I began receiving the promotions and raises I had longed for. I was happily married and lived in a wonderful house in a beautiful area of the world. It was all going exactly to plan! However, as I attained more of my goals, and the initial elation wore off (which usually took about 2 weeks) that familiar feeling of discontent would arise within me again. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. So I projected this unhappiness onto everyone else – my boss, my husband, my co-workers – I was certain they were holding me back in some way.
The biggest trigger for me was when I went through my divorce. Again, I felt I should have been happy with the relationship but deep inside I was so unhappy with myself that I couldn’t be happy with anyone else. Then I made an important discovery. I realised that I was looking for external ‘things’ to make me happy. So I made the decision to stop blaming everyone else for my feelings of unhappiness, and although it may sound cliché, this is where my internal journey to happiness began.
And then it all unfolded. I was on a 9 month trip around the world (in recovery from my divorce) when I landed in Kathmandu, Nepal. Have you ever experienced walking down Oxford Street in London for Christmas shopping? If you have, you probably found yourself dodging people every step of the way. In Kathmandu this chaos is tenfold! So there I was walking down the street in Kathmandu dodging animals, cars, bicycles and people, when a group of monks caught my eye. It is hard to explain but I found myself overwhelmingly attracted to them. They had an amazing energy about them and I couldn’t help but follow them. While I was struggling to get through the crowd, this group of ten seemed to float through the crowd with ease. I wanted to find out how I could get a piece of that glowing energy they had. I was so caught up in following them that I got completely lost in the streets of Kathmandu. Synchronicity had played its card and low and behold the next day I saw a sign for meditation class and I thought “maybe there is something in that for me”.
So there I was, and apprehensive foreigner sitting with a group of dedicated meditation students. At my first class, I felt my mind quietening – I had never experienced anything like it before – I knew there was something in this ‘meditation stuff’ for me!
My Meditation journey had begun. After that it was a no brainer for me. Once I became interested in meditation it seemed like everywhere I went someone was talking about it. It was almost as if ‘meditation’ was following me around. Then I began to follow meditation around. I went on holidays to places like India and thailand (often on 10 day silent retreats) just so I could learn new techniques.
The main reasons I started meditation were to attain a sense of balance, fulfilment and to deal with stress better. However, once I started to meditate, I was shocked at the profound impact it had on every area of my life. From a health perspective, Chakra meditations helped me to manage my arthritis pain, menstrual cramps and sleep problems. Meditation has also helped me maintain more emotional balance which has helped me in my relationships and to be more accepting of myself. As well, meditation has greatly enhanced my mental performance as I feel more clear, focused and productive in my work. One of the biggest benefits for me has been that I have become much more grounded, balanced and calm. I have always been a very high energy person. I still have alot of energy, but I feel that energy is now focused in a more positive way.
Discovering meditation has improved my life in more ways than I can imagine. It has become my passion and I want to share what I have learned with others so they too can improve their lives. Of course, I still face challenges and experience moments of unhappiness. However, I find such moments come to me less often and for shorter periods of time. Because I apply the concepts of meditation to my daily life, I experience stress in a different way. Through meditation I have discovered how to live more in the present moment and genuinely enjoy what and who I am with at each moment. In short, meditation has equipped me with the tools to respond versus react to life.