An open letter to Tara Brach on her birthday

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Happy Birthday to the inspirational Tara Brach. Although I have never met you in person, I regard you as a mentor who has helped alter the course of my life.

There was a time when I ran my life in a state of fear, anxiety, agitation, self-obsession and blame, self-pity, self-loathing and anger. I didn’t know what being present even meant and even if I had known I didn’t want it.

I was far too focused on what I could get from the world and how I wasn’t getting it and my mind was utter chaos; so scrambled by thoughts and stories that there was no clarity, no calm and definitely no peace.

When my sister suggested to me one day that I listen to some of your meditations I hesitantly agreed, not really understanding mindfulness or meditation or what it could do for me.

All around me people were talking about meditation and when it came up in discussion I would nod in agreement, when really I had no idea what they were talking about. But there was a part of me that was curious. Something deep within my being was telling me that maybe, just maybe, meditation might be the answer.

In 2011 I travelled to Thailand by myself for several weeks, armed with a backpack and my IPhone. On it was one of your 10 minute guided meditations. Every day for three weeks I would sit quietly on the beach, at the end of my bed, or on a rock and listen, not knowing what it was doing, or what I was doing for that matter, and since then my life has taken on a whole new meaning.

I suddenly noticed what people meant when they said ‘All we have is this moment,’ for I realised that for 27 years I had been lost in thought and away from this moment.

I started to see that continually coming back to the breath and the present moment was like a breath of fresh air, a constant awakening: it was in this moment that I found love, peace, calm and surrender.

Over time, meditation has shown me how to become aware of my thinking and the power that comes from shifting my focus from a place of fear to a loving presence. In each moment, instead of engaging in my fearful thinking, I can ask myself ‘What would love say?’ or ‘What would love do?’ and immediately it changes my reality.

Being aware of my thoughts, behaviours, and emotions has freed me from the negative self-judgement and fear that consumed me on a daily basis and the life I lead today is like nothing I ever could have predicted.

Today, my personal and professional life revolves around meditation and conscious awareness and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to run a business working with individuals on a journey of inner transformational change along with women striving to make an impact on the world through conscious leadership.

Thank you for continuing to inspire me with your talks, meditations and guidance.

With gratitude,

Tess x

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