For as long as I can remember I have been a person who always had a genuine disdain for myself. I am not someone who has had a horrible childhood or a person who has had a significant life changing event that contributed to this feeling. I have had the most supportive family and friends throughout my life that have been there at every turn to try and lift me up.
So why this feeling you ask?
My mind! My mind is what told me these stories about myself. It told me I wasn’t good enough, in every sense. The thoughts in my mind would continuously beat me down, even when there were great things happening in my life, and even with all of the support from my family and friends. When I was a teenager the assault on my mind became so intense that I began to create a sort of cocoon within myself so that it could insulate me from outside threats that could harm me. I started pulling back from life so I could protect myself from things that could go wrong. If I were to put myself in any type of situation where rejection could take place I would simply avoid those situations. And If I happened to be in a situation where I was rejected in any way then all of those self hating thoughts I had towards myself were justified.
I lived like this for so long that I was avoiding all things that could make me happy simply because I was scared. I literally dated nobody in my entire 20’s and I worked at the same job, refusing to put myself out there professionally. This was supposed to be the best time of my life, when I was supposed to figure out who I was, and to take steps forward. Instead I took no chances and covered up the sadness and loneliness with alcohol. Like most people in this situation I was great at hiding the pain inside.
When I turned 30 my life script was about to change. I met the most beautiful woman inside and out and she started to change my life. We met online and luckily she was persistent enough with me because my mind was trying to talk me out of meeting her. When we did meet I fell for her immediately. She was smart, beautiful, and had the biggest heart I have ever seen.
However, at the time she had met me I had already done a lot of damage to myself. On the outside I was charming and funny but on the inside I was full of self hatred and I was masking it with alcohol. When I drank alcohol it was the only time when I talked positively to myself. It gave me courage and for that reason it was a very hard thing for me to give up. It wasn’t long before she began to realize this about me. She mentioned my drinking many times before she finally had enough. There was a ultimatum put in front of me. Lose this wonderful woman or continue down the path of despair? This is when I made the most important choice in my entire life, I quit drinking and continued to build a relationship with her.
Quitting drinking was just the first hurdle that needed to be cleared. I still had significant strides to make in my personal development. I still kept myself isolated from the outside world by not taking any chances, this problem was as deep seeded as it gets. Professionally I was non-existent. I worked the same job for the longest time and refused to better myself because I was scared to death of the world. With encouragement from my wife, I took a leap and became a licensed real estate agent, alongside my wife. While the feeling of accomplishing this was empowering there was the ever so familiar back drop of fear behind it. My mind started to ramp up again like it never had before. The self doubt was so incredibly intense that it sucked the breath right out of me. Real estate is a very demanding business and it can be very overwhelming at times. My wife tried to help me through the trials and tribulations of the business but there came a point when I could no longer overcome the stories in my mind and I completely shut down in a cloud of depression and anxiety. My doubt was at an all time high and I was experiencing deep depressive episodes and severe anxiety attacks. It became quite apparent that real estate was getting the better me and I needed a change.
After I quit real estate I was quite depressed for weeks, feeling like I have let everybody in my life down. My family began to get quite worried about my behavior, I would go long periods without talking at all, I was completely stuck in my head to where I could hardly communicate with my own family. This next decision made by my wife is what turned my life completely around. She contacted one of my oldest and closest friend’s, Jordan Lally, Jordan had lost his father, Ed Lally, to depression a few years earlier and Jordan himself had been through similar depressive issues that I was going through. My wife was desperate and thought with Jordan’s past in this matter that he could help guide me out.
Not long after my wife made contact with Jordan he called me and simply asked to meet up with me as soon as possible so we could talk face to face. We got together shortly after our conversation and he began to talk with me about his issues with depression and anxiety. I just soaked it all up because his experience and mine were similar in a lot of ways. There was one thing though that I noticed while I was sitting there with him and that was a glow in his eyes, it was a brightness you don’t expect to see in someone suffering from these issues. From that point on I was a sponge. I wanted to know how he lead himself out of such darkness, what was his secret?? He went on about meditation and how he learned how to not emotionally react to his thoughts and how he was living his life blissfully and moment to moment.. I was hooked!! I wanted so badly to feel this way so I asked him what could I do. He told me the titles of two books to read and he told me to text him or call him with any questions that I may have during this process because he knew I would have many. The books were “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” by Eckhardt Tolle. After this meeting there was a spark underneath of me that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these books and start learning this secret of his.
I first read “The Power of Now” all the while asking Jordan a million questions along the way. I began to take the teachings from the book and from Jordan and meditate on a regular basis. I was obsessed with the teachings of being present and being still within your mind. I finished that book and moved to another and I haven’t stopped since, reading over 20 books now from some of the greatest ever spiritual minds! I cannot express into words how powerful meditation was and is for me. I have learned how to sit and observe my mind and thoughts that race through it without reacting or attaching to the them. The same thoughts that were responsible for my despair are now something that I see and chose to let go. The beautiful thing about this spiritual approach is that you are never done growing. Each day I learn something new about myself. When you decide to dedicate yourself to spiritual practice you must know you will need to face yourself and surrender to your fears and anxieties and if you do I promise there is so much beauty on the other side of it. I approach each day looking through the same lens and have dedicated myself to living a life of presence and not allowing my thoughts to carry me away from my purpose.
My life was forever changed by my friend Jordan Lally, and his life was forever changed by his father Ed Lally. This is why Jordan and his family have created The Ed Lally Foundation. It’s a foundation that wants to let those who struggle with depression know that there is another way to approach mental illness. Ed Lally was a beautiful human being with the purest of souls and unfortunately that soul fell prey to his mind. The Foundation will always be there for anyone who wants to learn how to quiet the mind and return back to their truest selves..