Matthew and Kara: Interviewees
Lauren: Thank you both so much for joining. I feel you have both grown so much together! Would you mind sharing
Why did you start meditation?
Kara: I was getting so tired of overthinking about everything. I wanted something to calm my mind. My friend found a flyer for Chicago Meditation center. I had at that time hired a personal fitness trainer as well. I was witnessing death of loved ones and was feeling sad but pretending not to be, I felt empty. I decided to drop the personal trainer and work on my mind. I became more committed to my meditation.
Matthew: To be honest I started meditation because I had hit rock bottom. Lucy my son’s mother had been meditating for a long time, and I kept giving her a lot of excuses on why not to join the meditation journey. I had just had gotten a DUI and my finances were not in a good place. I didn’t really care what happened to me honestly, the only thing that kept me alive was my son. I was in survival mode. I tried everything. Going to the bars, listening to music, going to the gym to distract myself. I feel very lucky that I found this meditation. It has allowed me to find my true self and be fine with being me and living as I am.
What “meditation habits” did you have when you first started meditating?
Kara: I had a lot of doubt such as, “Am I doing it right?” When meditation helpers asked me “Did a lot of stress disappear?” I would always say yes because I wanted others to feel happy and proud of me. There were always pros and cons running in my mind. I tried to just accept everything I was being told but I didn’t really form any questions in my mind and just pretended I understood. I was very quiet and I often found myself nodding my head in agreement even when I wasn’t sure what I was agreeing on. I had that feeling of being uncomfortable asking questions to others. I just thought in more time I will understand; I would say that actually made the process of getting rid of my stress much longer for me.
Matthew: I would say I also had a lot of doubt. I would talk to students who were more experienced and had been meditating longer than and I always was asking them questions to see where I was standing in my meditation. I was judging them, judging myself, comparing, and always looking for confirmation that I was doing well and that I was doing it the right way. My mind and habit was to always question if I was really doing well. Also, sitting still was hard… and I fell asleep quite a bit.
How has your everyday habits changed?
Kara: Based on the overthinking, waking up in the morning is different now. I would before have a whole list of things to do and plans. I was always looking ahead because it made me feel in control. Now I wake up feeling refreshed, not worried or feeling burdened of the things I have to do, and just go about my morning routine with more ease. I am now also able to speak about more difficult things with others without any feelings of being uncomfortable.
Matthew: I also feel now I don’t avoid difficult situations as much. I was always looking for something to occupy my mind, so I didn’t have to think about the things I needed to face and take care of. I used to dread doing things. Now I am much more productive and I don’t put things off as much. I always felt like I was being judged, now I am more open to sharing my experiences with others and not as fearful to be judged. Now when I speak it is so much more sincere.
As a couple, how do you support each other with overcoming minds and habits?
Matthew: Kara is always there for me. We have our ups and downs and having someone to share the journey with to help you through the hard times is such a blessing. I don’t think I would’ve gotten as far as I have as we both have similar ways of thinking and goals which are not for our own selfish wants and desires. When we have minds come up we realize we both need space, instead of arguing and trying to win, we meditate. For that we are grateful and can understand each other better.
Kara: Growing as a couple is really great, but really as our own selves too, because there is mutual understanding and respect. We know when we do need space and talking with our emotions doesn’t benefit either of us. There’s this level of connection that is much deeper now and knowing we are on this journey together makes an already amazing experience, better. Now being trained to be part-time helpers make us both feel really thankful. We understand now so much more of our true purpose.
Lauren: Thank you Kara and Matthew so much! I’m very sure that your story will inspire others, keep going! You both will be amazing part-time helpers. I’m sure your experiences with help others to overcome similar battles. Let’s do it together!