I have a lot of anxious people in my life. I know a lot of people on meds. Don’t you? People who struggle and suffer with panic attacks, low level anxiety, worrying and racing which creates constant thoughts, or truly energetic monkey mind.
I have people who call me to ask for help with their children, husband, mother….”someone in my family has anxiety- can yoga and meditation help??”
I pause. Yes. And……
Here’s the thing.
I think anxiety is our SuperPower. I think if we re-frame it. we can look at it and use it is our guide to the inner world. We can get super curious when it arises AROUND what is the discomfort in my life? what is the dis-connect? what is happening here? what is causing this stress in my system? AND THEN… ahhh- we have access to integrating our mind-body connection a bit more. Dropping in- breathing through the feet. Relaxing the jaw. allowing space. And then we listen. If we identify and allow the body and mind to talk to us- and communicate with us WHO knows what you will uncover about yourself and these patterns. Life learning is happening everywhere.
You see we don’t always have tools these days to LISTEN to our bodies. to LISTEN to what our intuition and our soul is trying to tell us. And our bodies CERTAINLY are NOT on our human-crazy-busy time. Our bodies are not TRYING to jam and cram as much as possible into 1 day or life. Our bodies are trying to heal and rest and digest and stabilize.. if we gave them a chance to.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
I have been taking care of my kids mostly alone for the summer. Mostly living as a single parent while we had our adventurous New England Summer… Over the past few days of our time away.. I noticed that my stomach started to feel a bit bloated, a bit un-comfy.
This usually happens before and when I travel- always has- so honestly I did not think much of it. But as the days went on, and we got home and transitioned back to DC – I noticed that it was getting worse. AT THE SAME TIME- I noticed that my son was having a hard time with the transition back to DC. He was having longer and louder evening tantrums. He would yell, ” I’m STARVING” and then 2 seconds later ” I’m NOT HUNGRY” and then “I want to leave.” and then ” I want to stay” pretty much everywhere we went.
And to be honest, even though he was doing it here in DC- he ALSO did it a lot of the summer while we were away.
Coming home and having him be REALLY, REALLY difficult for a few days in a row is something I was not expecting, I don’t know why I thought when we got home…”he would go back to normal.” After a pretty terrible tantrum earlier this week, I had a panic attack. I think this is like the 2-3rd one I have ever had in my life. And as I started breathing into my body, into my feet- into my belly- I could feel it all. It was like ALL the flash backs from the WHOLE summer were coming right to me- each and every moment he wanted the ketchup and then didn’t, asked to buy something at every store we went to, and tantrums at friend’s home.. all came flooding in. As I experienced this stress and processed the breathing and felt it- I immediately felt my belly CONTRACT and release- signaling to me- THIS IS WHERE THIS IS FROM. it was like a sign from some super deep inner awareness- telling me…..
“lady, this belly stuff is from taking care of this little boy. You are doing the best you can to meet his needs. He is not acting or doing as you would like. You are uncomfortable with this struggle. You love him so much. you adore him AND you are internalizing is anger, his challenges. You want him to be different. Feel this. Feel it all. The grief, the pain, the beauty, the joy of being in relationship to children who are not you. it’s everything. all the feels. FEEL IT.”
And I did. I started to cry. I realized- OH MAN- I am SO out of comfort zone with how to love this kid. He is doing and saying things that I’m afraid of. I know how to help people! This is what I do- I problem solve, and I help. And right now, I don’t know how to help him.
I can just love him. And share with him my love, communicate this support as he struggles with being 5. With being him. HE is going through it, NOT ME. and I am not him. WE ARE NOT OUR CHILDREN. ( DEEP EXHALE) And it’s up to me to be strong and courageous for him, for myself as his mother. To do what I know best for children with boundaries, routines, healthy food and flexible structure. To awaken my own holding patterns- my own DIS- EASE.. so that I can be healthy and be well. My anxiety, my panic brought out my truth. Truth is a Super Power. It heals. It connects. It allows. IT transforms.
And we went home, and played legos and made dinner and life as usual went on.
But, I’m different now. I woke up lighter. I woke up and something has shifted in me.
My belly relaxed, I slept all night in my bed- and so did he. Something healed, something released in that awareness of the struggle in our relationship. It does not mean it will never happen again, let’s be clear.
It is super naive to think that our emotions and our physical manifestations of anxiety, depression, injuries and sleep issues are NOT related to the trauma of every day life.
And it’s up to us to re-frame our experience. Use the moments to look within. I know it can be painful in there. I know it can be dark and scary and weird and lonely. But Super Heroes are courageous warriors who face the fear and discomfort- our super power IS our anxiety- is our access point- is the place in which we FEEL being alive. What if we allow ourselves to feel the worry and pain and lack of control that this experience SHOWS US EVERY DAY?
Ideas for how to process some of this..
- if you have an on going pain or issue in your body, RIGHT NOW- start asking yourself some questions around it- when does it happen? how does it get triggered? when did it originate? what does it feel like in your body? what are ways it feels better? worse? ( I know for me.. I just ASSUMED my belly discomfort was b/c of the travel and driving, it NEVER occurred to me it was b/c of what has been happening with my son.)
- Next time your issue is communicating with you ( like my belly contracting and releasing in the moment of one of his tantrums) SEE what else is going on around you.. pay attention to your life.. and maybe something will be revealed.
***please note- if you are on medication or seeing a therapist- I am not advocating for you to make any changes in your current care. I am suggesting that this rise in anxiety that people are calling and emailing me about weekly- might possibly be a portal to the soul- to the bigger questions- to the true strengths and magical-ness of our experience. Something to explore, to consider. ***