I lost one of my guides at the age of fourteen when my grandpa died. At his funeral, I listened to people share memories and stories of him with such deep love and reverence. The stories and celebration continued back at his and my Gram’s country home. I snuck away from the gathering to walk his gorgeous property. It was Spring in Virginia - all the flowering trees (crab apple, cherry, pear, red bud, and more) and the multitude of flowers in their gardens my grandpa had devoted himself to were beginning to bloom. I sat down under the weeping cherry tree by the fish pond contemplating his legacy. And wondering what influence I had over mine.
“Is there such a thing as a living legacy?” “Who do I have to be?” “How do I have to show up in life to be remembered as a good and loving person, like grandpa?”
Throughout my childhood, my mom praised me for being a good girl, for making a difference. She said that was what life was all about. I came into this life wanting to make a significant impact and live joyfully. From the time I could walk, I lived to see people smile and know that I played some part in their happiness.
I was a sensitive child and a people pleaser born into a family of perfectionists. When I would get in trouble, the shame of not measuring up would knock me down a peg or two. I’m sure it didn’t help that my parents would dismiss me to my room while asking me in disgust, who do I think I am? I would retreat into smallness - “I am nobody.” “I am nothing;” a message of shame my inner critic would play out through my entire teenage years. I felt worthless. I was misunderstood. And no matter how much I tried to perfectly live up to the expectations of everyone around me, my good was never good enough. Hello shame, my old “friend.”
By seventeen years old, I was ready for some new “friends” - I was outgrowing shame. I began to sit still and be quiet until I felt peace all around me and within me - something I often did as a child with grandpa. Later I would come to learn that what I had been doing along side my grandpa was a form of meditation; although he never named it, the instruction was the same - sit quietly, in stillness and breathe.
In these quiet, meditative moments, alone in the woods by my house, I felt the presence of my deceased grandpa; and I felt Spirit. The feeling of peace would wash over me, hushing the shaming inner critic. I would connect to Spirit, give up the burden on my heart then drop into stillness, and wait for a reply (another nugget from grandpa).
The wisdom in the powerful messages I received during these meditative moments took me years to fully embody, and even still, I have to remind myself of these truths from time to time.
I’m not this body.
I can’t be defined by..
what I do..
what I have..
what others think of me..
what my inner critic would have me believe of me.
I am no-body and no-thing.
I am free. I am Love.
Me and My First Meditation Teacher a.k.a. Grandpa
Looking back, and listening to my family tell old stories of my grandpa, it seems he already knew these things to be TRUTHS. And instead of simply telling me WHAT was true, he showed me HOW to find it for myself.
Turns out my grandpa was modeling how to be an effective coach; and the crab apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!
As a coach, I guide my clients in HOW to find their TRUTHS..HOW to listen to (and trust) the still, small voice within..HOW to befriend the inner critic (because you can’t beat ‘em otherwise).