“I realize every day that my true purpose is to evolve.”  Deepak Chopra

In my last post, I mentioned that I had just started the free 21 day meditation experience led by Oprah and Chopra; that I was going to try truly meditating for the first time and see how it went.  My favorite part about the experience was that every day there was a “centering thought” that you were supposed to focus on, and the centering thought on the very last day, day 21, hit me with a bang:

“I realize every day that my true purpose is to evolve.”

I’ll be honest…I didn’t enjoy the entire 21 days, and there were a few days when I couldn’t fit in the 20 minute experience and did a double session the next day.  There were a couple of times when I just fell asleep during the 20 minutes.  There were really probably only a couple of times when I was really able to clear my mind and focus on the breathing, but I believe that the entire experience was worth it for me to just get to this last centering thought.

It is my job…my duty….to evolve.

Let me explain.  If you have been following this blog from the start, then you know that I have had a complete internal evolution in the last few years while still keeping the same job, living in the same place, and being married to the same person.  But there have been many times when I have had a sense of guilt associated with that evolution…. a sense of guilt over changing and not being the person that I used to be.

I fully expect that as a whole as a community, a society, a nation, and a universe; we need to progress, we need to evolve.  Look at the progress, if slower than we would like it, that we have made in terms of civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, human rights….(and we still have a long way to go)

But when it comes to myself, I often feel guilty about my own progress….my own evolution.  I have some friends and family members(not my husband), who have had a little bit of a hard time with the change in me.  I, myself, feel guilty often that I do not necessarily have the desire to spend as much time with certain friends…. friends that I made over 20 years ago, that are some of the best people in the world that I know, but that I just don’t have as much in common with anymore…. That doesn’t mean that if they really needed something from me I wouldn’t do everything I could for them… it just means that our lives and interests took different directions….

There are times when I feel not guilty but a certain sense of unease or not being valid when my personal interests change… even when it comes to fitness…. There was the phase when I was really into a particular exercise class and built a relationship with a particular instructor, and then that phase ended and I feel bad about an instructor viewing my moving on as a rejection of them… when it’s really just a change in me.  There are times now as I am just starting to build back up higher mileage runs while I prepare for the NYC marathon that is less than 100 days away when I start to think about changing the direction of my running after the marathon and I feel bad…. I’m still running at least 4 days a week, but I’ve been looking more forward to my speed interval days than my long run days… and for some reason this change in interest makes me question the label that I give myself as a runner….  And as I get more involved in yoga, I wonder if the day will come when I may just get over the yoga and move on from that… and for some reason I have a sense of unease with that… as if it is not ok to currently call myself a yogi if I’m not sure that I’ll be a life-long yogi….

Deepak says that it is actually my job and duty to evolve.  Not only is it ok to change… it is what I should do…. how boring would it be if I was the same person for the rest of my life….Just like a person can be a friend for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, so can an activity or interest…

There are many labels and roles that I will either try on for a little while or wear for a few years or many years….runner, doctor, sister, wife, daughter, yogi, margarita enthusiast, marathoner, shopaholic, friend, mother….  Of these roles, the most important one that I will whole-heartedly wear forever is mother.  Other roles such as wife, I will continue to invest in as long as I am reciprocally being invested into.  While marriages are certainly rarely exactly 50-50, I don’t believe in staying in a marriage that is 80-20…..you invest in me, I invest in you, we invest in us.  Some like marathoner and doctor have been earned and will never be taken away from me…If I never run another marathon, I’m still a marathoner…. If I retire from practicing medicine tomorrow, I still earned the degree…. and some I will wear temporarily until I decide I need to make room for something else….

“I realize that every day my true purpose is to evolve.”

I feel the need to repeat this centering thought to myself over and over.  I shouldn’t feel guilty about changing… I should embrace it… I should celebrate it. It is ok to not want to spend as much time with certain friends as I did before.  It is ok to be interested in an activity for a while and then move on to another.  When a family member says to me, “you used to be like this and now you’re like this,” I should not feel bad but own it.  It is ok to be passionate about one cause one day and then another cause another day.  It is not just ok…. it is my job and duty to evolve.

Thank you Deepak… the role of meditator I tried on for 21 days… and I can tell you that for now, it won’t be a permanent daily practice.  It will be one that I’ll try on some days…. but your last centering thought, I will remind myself of everyday.

*This post was originally published on 7/31/15.

Paria Hassouri