cassidy thedorf be here now

A Woman’s Quest to Find Purpose

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10 years ago, I seemingly had no reason to be so unhappy. My career in sales was going well, I had great friends and family, my health was intact. Yet despite this, I had a lingering sense of something… missing. It always seemed that my happiness was a milestone away, to be attained as soon as I lost 10 pounds, got that raise, or purchased a home. I would work tirelessly to reach my desired milestone, only to see happiness on the horizon yet again, attached to a new, faraway goal. I was going through the motions, with some days feeling like a scene out of Groundhog Day. Whose life was I living, and why?

Determined to make a change, I started keeping a daily gratitude calendar. At the end of each day, I would take record of everything which went well. This allowed me to see some variance in my day-to-day ongoings, and encouraged me to be more present to the blessings unfolding around me. It helped, but it wasn’t enough. What did I need to feel content, to be complete? Was it religion? Marriage? Children? Intent to answer the question, I put my social life on the backburner. For months, I wrote endless chronicles in my diary each night, soon reaching the conclusion that everything I did was in the name of one thing – happiness. So what would it take to achieve that, and why did it seem to be so elusive?

Research on the topic of happiness became my passion project, as I sought to learn as much as I could about it. I interviewed the happiest people I knew, as well as the happiest people they knew. I devoured books on the subject, signed up to see motivational speakers on stage, attended self-help seminars, watched documentaries, detoxed from alcohol, and more – much more. I purged my home, strengthened my yoga practice, stopped watching TV, and saved money to travel to India, Bali and Thailand. I worked with a hypnotist, started floating (aka sensory deprivation tank sessions), ate a vegetarian diet, and prayed. I practiced one good deed a day, every day, for a year. I repeated mantras and made vision boards, while smudging my home regularly. I jumped out of a plane, went bungee jumping, got my motorcycle license, tried hang-gliding, and took up surfing. I volunteered. I learned about CBT, reiki, and crystals. I turned my notifications off on my phone, and unsubscribed from newsletters. I changed all of my passwords to positive affirmations.

As the next few years passed, I became well-versed on the subject of happiness. While feelings of peacefulness and contentment were present, they were fleeting, until I found the one thing that would forever change my life. I didn’t find it at the top of a mountain, nor did I find it in a plush bank account. It wasn’t when I fell in love, or lost 30 pounds. Quite simply, it was when I sat still.

Meditation was coming up often enough in my research that I decided it was worth a try. I was surprised to experience that in finding my breath,  I found lasting peace. I found pause, between stimuli and my chosen response. I found that I could watch my busy mind, without seeing myself as the mind itself.

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Meditation reminded me that I had a choice – that is, a choice in perspective. A choice in narrative, the option to tell myself another version of the story. I started seeing my life, and myself, through a lens of compassion, kindness, and gratitude. Perhaps most importantly, I began to reside in the present, rather than looking ahead to the future for contentment.

Today, I teach meditation in Toronto. I turned many pages (both literally and figuratively) in many books to get here. I often share with people, if you feel that you are on a path to find purpose, I invite you to find your breath. Maybe the rest will fall into place, as you find the beauty in this moment, right here, right now – one breath at a time.

cassidy thedorf meditation

Cassidy Thedorf
Cassidy Thedorf is a Toronto-based meditation teacher with Just Be Meditation. Certified in the Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation and Applied Specialization in Mindfulness Meditation through the University of Toronto, you can find her teaching at Hoame, the Sony Centre, Lululemon and other locations. Inspired by travels to places like India, Bali and Nicaragua with deep roots in the practise of meditation, she will often remind you to "allow yourself to be here, now."

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