Six months of darkness- my run in with anxiety.

Anxiety is a force that can shatter our once peaceful minds and turn our lives upside down. We may feel as if the rug has been ripped from underneath us. My first bought of anxiety came when I taught inner city high school right out of college. My fear of inadequacy roared and my heart pounded with terror of the big F word: FAILURE. Six months of panic attacks, sleepless nights, paralysis of the mind and intense fear left me shook to the bone. I lost 15 pounds, felt like a zombie and walked around with the feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest.

I had to find my grounding again to begin the healing process. I had to PAUSE for peace and sink into the present moment- the only one I truly had. I went to gospel churches, sang my lungs out and cried until their were no tears left. I attended spiritual healings and called every soulful friend for any type of wisdom.  I was ripped apart and felt unable to break through this feeling of suffocation. I could not find the "fix" to my anxiety. I didn't realize it then, but I had to lean into the feelings in order for them to pass. I couldn't resist this, only let it pass. 

This six month period was in 2012. I came out of this dark place after finding my grounding on my quiet farm in Wisconsin. I had to sink into STILLNESS to come back home to my heart. I now monitor my energetic body and check in with my level of peace. I have a fragile nervous system and am vigilant on creating a calming environment for my rest and the release of my emotions. I realize the power in NOT DOING and find myself connecting more and more to the present moment. Mindfulness in action.

Symptoms of anxiety can include: 

  • A feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest making it hard to breathe.
  • Sweating.
  • Pounding heart. 
  • Dizziness.
  • Upset stomach/ sick to your stomach.
  • Feeling very cold/ chills.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Not remembering conversations.
  • Feeling impending doom is coming.
  • Feeling of fear creeping up.
  • Constant worry.
  • Blank mind.

This list is not inclusive of symptoms caused by anxiety, but many of the above were brought up in this morning's Heart and Soul Workshop: PEACE. 

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This morning, 16 women gathered at Desoto Central Market for the PEACE workshop. With the new moon in Leo, we had a lively group of laughter mixed with engaged conversation. The women were eager to connect and embrace one another. We began the workshop with an introduction of our personal relationship with PEACE. For many women, this was their first workshop and the energy was healing.

We then continued with a 15 minute visualization meditation and set our month intentions:  I AM GROUNDED. I AM SAFE. I CHOOSE PEACE.

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Following this, all women shared their stories, and the space was open for emotions and authentic connection. A lot of laughter in this group!! I loved the energy!!

The lesson of the workshop had a few key takeaway points, including insights from many of the women. 

The big question: HOW DO I FIND AND EMBRACE PEACE? See our nuggets below to try for yourself. 

  • Ask yourself: what do I worry about the most? Secondly, ask yourself- is this something I can change? If the answer is YES > develop a plan to change. If the answer is NO > practice self care and release your emotions. 
  • FEEL your emotions. Lean into the discomfort. We cannot skip this crucial step!
  • Release emotions. This could be in the form of talking, crying, laughing, dancing, chanting, singing, screaming or writing.
  • Make SPACE in your daily routine to connect and find stillness. This could be 5-10 minutes every morning of journaling, reading, meditating or breathing.
  • Do what makes you feel peaceful- make it a priority. Perhaps this is riding in the car without music or heading to yoga after work. There is a lot of TOUGH LOVE that happens at workshops and I hold all women accountable for their intentions. 
  • Join a group of women to SUPPORT you on your journey. The Heart and Soul fall workshop lineup is a great place to connect with inspiring and authentic women. 

What will you commit to doing in order to add more peace into your life this month?

Table Scape & Gifts: Meg of @darlindarlinaz | Photo Credit: Britt Johnson | Gift Sponsors: Lisa of @beyoujewelry and Amanda of @sunnybrookeco.