The need for change was evident

Carina Conte, Uruguay

Carina Conte, a meditator from Uruguay

Growing up in Uruguay, my early encounters with the divine were evidenced by my grandmother’s loving devotion, and the deep silence I encountered on my occasional visits to church. It was a time when rituals and moral precepts were the dominant tone of most of the voices that spoke of God, and this focus pushed me away from religion as a teenager and a young adult. My career path took me quickly to executive positions in marketing and management, and these professional responsibilities, combined with raising children, became a heavy burden to bear. By 35 I was overworked, stressed, and out of balance. My stress level brought on physical discomfort; the need for change was evident. 

Help came in the form of Martín, a wonderful Yoga instructor. He introduced me and my husband to yoga, taught us meditation, and walked us through the sacred teachings of Hinduism and BuddhismAs we went deeper, I found it difficult to integrate the experience of meditation and the teachings; I was confused and yearning for more. Reading the Bible as part of the meditation practice was the next step, and the presence of Christ soon began to take root in our hearts.

By 35 I was overworked, stressed, and out of balance. My stress level brought on physical discomfort; the need for change was evident.

One day, as I was seeking deeper insights into Christianity and meditation, a Google search finally connected the dots: there was a Benedictine monk who taught Christian Meditation, and he was leading a retreat in Córdoba, quite close to Montevideo! We went off to the retreat with our friend Philippe Sauval and his wife. Our 2011 journey was truly a one-way trip. Listening to Fr. Laurence was for us like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

Philippe became WCCM National Coordinator in Uruguay, where there was only an incipient community. I began teaching children to meditate in our local parish, an amazing gift of love. My husband and I and several friends each started meditation groups for adults, where we discovered the grace of spiritual friendship and community. Sharing the path of Christian meditation with my husband, Pablo, has been a revelation of unity in Christ that brought new depth and perspective to our life together.

As for work stress, I can’t say I never experienced it again after beginning to meditate, but the permanent burden and the illusion of control I felt disappeared. Compassion and hope became faithful companions, turning around my leadership style from controlling and demanding to delegating and nurturing growth.

Meditation has also fostered creativity, inspiring in me a new way of expressing the spiritual growth experience through icons and other paintings. It also led to further personal development through the study of coaching as a way of helping others in their own growth paths.

At the beginning of this year, I was asked to take on the National Coordination of WCCM for Uruguay, a challenge that honours me and fills me with joy. I trust God will continue to grace our community with his love and patience to lead us in his path.

Quarterly Newsletter

Carina Conte’s sharing is part of the August issue of the WCCM Quarterly Newsletter.

Read and download the full issue here.

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