How I Found My Happy Place Through Meditation

Meditation: How A Country Boy From The Sticks Found Peace 

I first discovered the joy of meditation in July of 2017, however I'd been mystified by it for years. It always seemed beyond my reach, though, something so exotic and ethereal that I shan't dare try, for fear of making a fool of myself. I felt too plain to practice it, too country and simple, and so I quietly observed from the sideline. Meditation was a gift reserved for enlightened vegetarians who had no carbon footprint and rallied for the bees. It was not for a podunk boy from the sticks who thought nirvana was a band. Poor boy, if only I knew then what I know now. But I guess that's not the point, huh?

Naturally, as is the story of my life, I was in rehab when I decided to fully commit and try meditation. I refused to psych myself out or set my expectations too high. I entered my first group with an open mind, eager to learn and explore. It was a guided meditation led by an elderly hippie named Bernard. To be honest, it wasn't anything special. Bernard was as sweet as the day is long, and had an excellent voice for meditation, but I did not experience any euphoria or epiphanies. I was relaxed, yes, but I felt no change. No magical rush of healing poured over me. No lights or choir singers. I didn't float, which was a bit disappointing. But in all seriousness, it felt very anti-climatic. I was let down, but a feeling within me told me to keep going. So, I continued to attend each and every one of Bernard's meditation groups.

In the beginning, I would follow Bernard's breathing exercises as he took us on journey's across mountains, forests, and oceans. But after time, I began to use the steady rhythm of his voice as a tether, freeing up my mind to wander. Slowly and organically, I started to create a "happy place" in my mind's eye while listening to Bernard or the singing bowl. It was life-changing, no BS, to mentally escape to this retreat and nourish my soul, allowing it a breather and a bit of respite.  While I'd like to skimp on the deets of my mental zen den, I would like to share the emotional benefits I experience after slipping away to my refuge. For they are both immediate and long-term and it's friggin great, guys!

So, let's break down my most used, most relaxing meditation. It's quite simple and requires nothing but your body and the floor or a chair. 'Twas created by myself, you see. And I'm sure serious practitioners think it's sweet and oh so cute that I'm trying. But that's okay, I'm excited and hope you are, too!

I prefer to lay on my back when meditating, but I have several friends that sit crisscross or in a chair like a sphinx. You can do whatever you want, there are no rules. I use a squishy rug, diffuse some oils and switch on my singing bowl playlist. Decorating the atmosphere is important, so make sure you feel calm and comfortable.

Once I'm settled, I inhale to a count of four, hold that breath to a count of four, exhale to a count of four and then rest to a count of four. This was taught to me as four-square breathing, but I've also heard it referred to as square or box breathing. I'm sure it has many names because it's so dang effective! I repeat this process seven or eight times, paying close attention to the tension in my muscles. During each round, as I exhale, I imagine my muscles softening and melting into the floor. I focus on the air around me, giving hyper-awareness to my sense of touch. I hone in on the slightest breeze or texture, and listen to the world around me. I push my energy toward heightening my senses, as if I'm a cat on the brink of pouncing.

From here, I envision my sacred space, evoking deep feelings of safety and security. I know myself in this space, I am able to find my truth in this space. I was able to forgive myself here, and from that spark, a boy was re-awoken and set forth on a path of self-renewal. I can breathe here, I can learn and grow in this space. Sure, my mind still wanders with random squirrel thoughts, but it's easier to watch them flow down the river when I'm vibing in my den.

At times, I will meditate with a particular question or issue in mind, so that I may draw the most appropriate conclusion. My decisions are much more sound in this state of mind, for I'm harnessing my emotional and logical intelligence in tandem. I, for the life of me, cannot do this in the moment (in real life), thus the need for meditation. A wiser Charlie emerges during these times, and I call him Charles.

Charles is a sage ol' man who's seen some life, dude. He doesn't act too quick, judge in haste, or stew on the unnecessaries. He understands life is precious, something to be cherished and adored. He delights in the simple pleasures, joyful to smell the roses and taste the rain. Charles will make lemonade out of lemons and be happy as a clam about it. If only Charles would stick around longer, but alas, he's a busy man. He visits me in my sacred space and then we go on our separate ways, sure to meet again.

If I do not have any specific thought in mind to dwell on, I totter around my space, recharge my batteries, and reflect over a gratitude list. Intuitively, I know when it's time to meander back to reality, and I do a couple sets of four square breathing to bring myself around. Opening my eyes, I find I'm usually smiling. It is so refreshing, to step away from the chaos of the world for a moment and nestle in a cocoon of self-love. I am lighter and more present in my everyday life because of this. It allows me the capability to slow down and enjoy the little nuances of life. I am proud of myself, I have changed my life from torture to nurture and it is a beautiful sight.

After meditating, I take an insane cat stretch that morphs into an Irish jig and this is when I feel most energized. My senses and mind are alert and active. I'm rejuvenated and so very grateful. I am so honored to have found this form of therapy, and it has most certainly helped save my life. I've met myself again, through meditation, and for that, I will be forever thankful. It is in these moments that I know I am one of the lucky ones. So many of our peers succumb to the disease of addiction each day, and I have to wonder, what if they had found this tool? Could it have spared them?

I believe it can spare us now, if we use it. Please, give it a try. There are so many resources available by doing a simple Google search. Pursue one that interests you. Apps are available, I use a playlist on my music streaming service. It's available through almost every platform. I'm, umm, not going to mention any specifically because I don't know the law and what I can write, but I do know you can lay on your bed, take a deep breath, escape to the safety of your heart, and awaken better. This, I do know.

Listen. Have fun!


  1. I have always wanted to try meditation. You make it sound so pure Charlie! ❤️

  2. Shucks, thank you! It sure does feel pure while I'm meditating!


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