Do you ever find yourself feeling like so much of your life is being operated on these stories that you tell yourself over and over again? The stories that make up the chapter of your past that somehow become the pages of your future? I’ve learned through direct experience at a very young age not to judge people because as I got to know them, I learned that behind every face lies an untold story. A story of triumphs and defeats, heart breaks and head aches, hurt and struggle, love and loss, pain, grief, self hatred, and sadness.
Let me be fully open and share with you my story.
Just like you, I was born with a juicy zest for life. It’ll be a difficult task for anyone to find photos of me as a young child not smiling. Reality kicked in when I realized that I don’t really fit in with everyone else. Growing up in America as a Vietnamese-African American- Indian (yes there’s an amazing story to that), I felt different from everyone and never truly felt accepted. To those in my Vietnamese culture, I was considered too dark which is “ugly”. To those in my American culture, I was the flat chested, chinky asian girl with “fake” black people hair. Hey, I’m just repeating what they called me. I was often picked on and bullied because I was different. I had to learn and teach myself that I wasn’t going to let others get to me. So I quickly developed a strong bridge of inner strength and boy did I earn respect for that. People started gravitating towards me in a way that I would have never expected. I loved life too much to let others dim my shine. Moving up and down the east coast, my ability to connect to others and make new friends became a lot easier. My rock bottom started when I was 15 years old and my father, with his own struggles, decided that leaving his family for another was easier than to work through it. After graduating high school, it was the summer of new beginnings in college. The inspiration of my life, my best friend and the one person whom I looked up to as my older sister passed away from a 3 year battle with leukemia. Her name is Lyna Nguyen. Unfortunately, not too long after that the first relationship I had for six years ended from infidelity.
I felt abandoned in so many ways. The stories of not feeling good enough triggered from my childhood and began to creep up on me. I lost my sense of self worth. I walked around college campus feeling like a dark cloud was hanging over my head everywhere I went. But I’d smile. I began to use unhealthy coping mechanisms to run away from the pain pulsing inside of me. But I’d smile. I ate too much. I drank too much alcohol. I did too much drugs. I partied too hard. I studied too hard. I worked too hard. I gained too much weight. And before I knew it, I had no idea how I got to this place of such self hatred and misery. I started to develop all kinds of health problems- hair shedding in massive bundles, acid reflux, an irritable bowl, a racing mind and thoughts that I could not control. It got to a point where I no longer had the desire to live. I realized I was in a severe stage of depression and no body knew about it.
Because we’re all good at hiding under masks.
HOW I GOT OUT:
The first step was the realization that I needed help. I am not strong enough to do it on my own anymore. After seeing a school psychologist and deciding that the taking medication was not for me. I started with my will and desire to be a better person for the people I love. I changed my diet. I exercised more. I departed from friends that I no longer aligned with. I read more books. I changed my lifestyle. I ditched dating anybody. And through the healing of my body, I started to feel better about myself. But that wasn’t deep enough. I then used body building as a way to heal and while it helped me greatly along my journey, it was another extreme. I had no balance. The constant living in extremes and feeling confused about why I wasn’t really healing lead me to completely lose all sense of awareness and self. I then was guided by my best friend’s mom to an Ayurvedic doctor who took the time to look at me holistically. He diagnosed that I was coming out of a deep depression and suggested visit a teacher at a place called American Meditation Institute.
The next day, I arrived at the American Meditation Institute grounds and strangely enough, it felt like home. When I met the founder, Leonard Perlmutter, he asked me how he could best serve me. I knew nothing at that point. All I knew is that, “I want you to be my teacher.”
I AM NOT MY STORY. How Meditation Transformed My Life:
I quickly learned that if you do not control your thoughts, your thoughts will control you. Through the guidance of a loving teacher, I developed deep work grounding myself in a spiritual practice that entirely transformed my old habits into new healthy habits. That taught me how to truly, fully and completely LOVE myself. I felt empowered that something was finally working. I embarked on the journey to connect to the old happy me but what I found was a connection beyond that. I was connected to my higher Self. Some may call God. Some may call Life force. Some may call Universe. Whatever you want to name it, it is the Truth that is sewn in the fabric of everything and everyone that is around us. I’ve never known a love so real or a happiness so pure.
My message to you is that you are not your story. Tell it. Share it. Speak it. Write About it. But do not become it. Your purpose is greater than your past. Your light is brighter than your darkness. Through my own experience and journey, I invite you join me as I share with you lessons from the defeated depressed girl to the happy, vibrant, and purposefully living woman I am today. I hold this space for you to go to when you want to connect with your inner most self. Where you can get a little giggle because you’ll find that I am serial a goofhead. Where you can be your most authentic, blissful and purest self.
In Love and Light,
Photo Credit: Colleen Piccolino
Sandy received her BA in Communications at the University at Albany. After facing many sudden painful experiences while in college, she encountered a profound, deep-seated inner transformation that drastically shifted the direction of her life. She has been spent time reflecting and deepening her understanding on the spiritual awakening that brought birth to an earnest and empowering inward journey. She is a student of Leonard Perlmutter (Ram Lev) at the American Meditation Institute where she received a certification in the acclaimed The Heart and Science of Yoga Comprehensive Meditation course. She is currently enrolled in the AMI-MT certification program where she is learns comprehensive training to be a Meditational Therapist. Sandy is a meditation teacher who devotes her life to speaking and writing about awaking to inner peace, self awareness, the philosophy of Yoga Science and Self care practices as a part of the healing in the consciousness of our human condition.
AMI Meditation: The Heart and Science of Yoga
Mind-Body Psychology: Bhagavad Gita Study
Balancing the Chakras
Teachings of the Buddha
Anatomy and Physiology of Easy-Gentle Yoga