I was a disgruntled and troubled kid. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, witnessed the L.A. riots firsthand, and made my fair share of court appearances. This compilation of childhood events left me suffering from PTSD and debilitating panic attacks, along with an underlying feeling of discomfort, fear and overall insignificance.
Values I strive for now seemed foreign unattainable at the time. Words like powerful, present, supported, creative, respected or strong – they were another language entirely. Something I wasn’t privy to; perhaps something that wasn’t possible in this life.
Craving a deep sense of relief is what ultimately led this scared, anxious teen to meditation. Though as many can attest, this practice was no magic pill. There was no immediate flick of a switch or an instant turn on a release valve. Instead, I had swapped my external angst for a different kind of discomfort: the kind that shows up when you sit with yourself, when you sit with your thoughts, and when you get curious about what arises.
There were little glimpses of peace, though they weren’t the only thing that kept me coming back – to classes where I didn’t “fit in” and experiences that were so unlike everything I knew. I also gripped tightly to my identity of being a survivor. And survivors didn’t quit.
Eventually, survival gave way to surrender and flow. This is where my real healing began. It was here I learned that the relationship with one’s self is, by far, the most important relationship we’ll ever have. And we need to create space for it.
What we feel, we can heal, and this was the first time I had unlocked access for feeling, for being, for listening, for letting go. Ultimately, for practicing Radical Self-Love.
In its simplest form, meditation is being alone with one’s thoughts. And when I was finally ready to be still, I was given the opportunity to listen and take in what felt real and true. Inch by inch, I discovered my own personal beliefs. I discovered who I was.
Synchronously, I was also letting go. Not ignoring, nor pushing away. I was creating a relationship of fluidity, and letting life move through me. And I think moving through is what ultimately leads to moving forward and moving beyond.
There’s never an easy fix. And meditation is a practice that must be… well… practiced. I think it’s also important to mention that no spiritual practitioner – or anyone, for that matter – is safe from falling. However, the climb and the fall are both opportunities for growth; and integration needs to occur before expansion.
My own story is a colorful mosaic of lived experiences. And I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter many amazing teachers, mentors, and guides who have helped me on my journey from troubled teen, to where I am now: newly published author, speaker, international yoga and meditation teacher, and award-winning podcast host.
But in the end, I continue to find that the most healing begins within each of us – simply by being still. In its loudness, in its messiness, in its moments of true surrender, fluidity and peace.
In this way, meditation and self-love are one in the same.
Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than twenty years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s new book, You Are Radically Loved: A Healing Journey to Self-Love uses her own journey as a framework for presenting meditations, journaling questions, and practices for identifying and honoring our own radical truths. It’s an empowering and accessible guide to the essential spiritual practices Rosie uses to create a radically loved life. To connect with Rosie and grab your own copy, visit www.radicallyloved.com.