I’ll let you in on a secret: 2016 was the year I decided that my life desperately needed to change. Some might label what I experienced as coming-of-age growing pains, but there were parts of me that I knew were not going to change or improve unless I took serious actions to put myself on a better path.

I have known my flaws for many years – Being an independent, strong-willed, Type-A perfectionist can grace me with the many blessings of organization, problem-solving mastery, and determination, to name a few, but it can also give me anxiety, fear, the feeling of not being ‘good enough,’ and the innate belief that I always have to be at the top of my game for everyone and everything. The past year was filled with beautiful, inspiring successes and moments I will never forget, but the challenges I faced were made so much harder because of how I dealt with problems through these personal blocks. Once I started to tune in to my feelings when I would have these moments, I came to realize that these were not just growing pains or things that would eventually pass – they were issues that I was afraid of dealing with because something in me was scared of experiencing the pain. The way I deal with situations can sometimes come off as me ignoring it and moving on – I realized I could no longer do this to myself.

The irony is that I can’t say I “got help.” Help was given to me at a time I least expected it. Going into a semester with a new job, applications, the LSAT, and normal academic activities left me barely any time for self-improvement. And the last thing I wanted was to sit in an office, watching someone hear me pour my guts out. I needed tools. I wanted something to tell me how to get unstuck and what I could do for myself. One of my long-time personal goals was to get on a daily meditation practice, but no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t do it. I noticed I was becoming more aware of taking time for myself in the mornings and making sure I had my quiet moments, but I wasn’t all there yet. I wasn’t really on board – until December.

The day after Christmas, I attended my first course in a four-day sequence for training in Transcendental Meditation. It’s a form of Vedic meditation that involves meditating twice a day, for twenty minutes each. The course was given to me as a gift, and I had to go into it with an open mind. I was excited, but I was also skeptical. Is this really going to help me? What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t commit? What if it conflicts with my religious beliefs? What happens if…? I had meditated in the past at various centers, but something in me was hinting that this was the real deal, and I knew it was going to be transformative because I could feel the fear. I was afraid to experience what was coming next, but I was intrigued and drawn to it. It was happening.

The second half of my Christmas break was largely defined by the inner experience that occurred while reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. Bernstein is a spiritual advisor and what people might call “a guru.” I asked for her books as a Christmas gift because I was interested in what she had to say. Even then, I was still skeptical. But, in short, I picked up this book and everything started to make sense. What I appreciated about it is that she provides explanations and baby steps we can take to put our love and trust back in the Universe and believe in the possibility of miracles. She explained the intertwined relationship between fear, our ego, pain, and why we have these imaginary worlds in our heads that convince us to believe all of these negative thoughts about ourselves and our environments – and to ultimately believe that miracles can’t exist without these struggles. A passage, one of many, that stood out to me says this:

“You need to take a look at the wreckage from your past to understand fully how to transform the ego’s patterns. Accepting the fact that you chose fear and turned your back on love is the first step. Don’t beat yourself up about this. You couldn’t have known any better and you’ve been doing the best you can to cope with the ego’s projections for your entire life. But now it’s time to fully understand what went down in order to create change. Please know that even if you’ve forgotten about love, it never actually left you…I’m here to remind you that the separation was merely a choice, and that you can choose differently now.”

Friends – things got REAL for me with this book. It made me see what has happened, why it has happened, and how I can help myself moving forward and without tearing myself down about it. It was exactly what I needed to hear, it came at the perfect time, and I accept it as a miracle. I am finally understanding what it means to change and become the person I aspire to be – and for the first time, this involves me. This is not related to power, material success, academics, or business. This is about me and my own development as a human being, and creating a life I can truly love to live.

Today, on January 18th, I am thrilled to say that I am three weeks into meditating every single day, the longest the streak has ever been, and my 2017 goal is to do it at least once a day every day. I am also reading my second Bernstein book, The Universe Has Your Back, and I recently joined her online membership that comes with monthly talks, meditations, podcasts etc. I felt like this was all really meant to be – I feel more calm, more open-minded, more peaceful, more accepting, more forgiving of myself and others, and more self-aware than I ever have before. Things are changing in the most beautiful ways and I can’t believe it’s only been a few weeks.

I’m not saying I’m a new person. I can’t say that life isn’t going to be difficult. It’s going to be an adventure of all sorts, and I’m about to enter what might be the most rigorous three or four years of my life – but I feel more confident knowing that I am entering it with a clearer mind and the tools to keep myself on a positive path full of love, gratitude, and clarity. My life is turning into something I am cherishing and loving, and I cannot wait for what it has in store.

With love and all the good vibes – Nama’slay. 😉