I see anxiety in clients (and myself) dissolve before my eyes every day. The cure for high anxiety is not in mind’s hopeless quest to control outcomes; it is in knowing how to reliably transform fear of our OWN emotional states. In other words, is not the outcome itself we fear, it’s how we will FEEL about it! The worst of these anxiety-provoking fears is the PROJECTED ‘future fear” that we will go into the painful states of guilt or regret around the actions we take (or don’t take). So, ironically, finally knowing how to soothe guilt and regret about the past pretty much took away my fear of the future!!! That’s why I am so passionate about sharing the PDF and video that show my “HOW”. XOX
Once you’ve read the story of my early morning ‘low anxiety’ turned to action (written to a client tackling some strong anxiety that is SO like mine used to be), you may want to CLICK the pic to download The Wheel of Self-Love and the FREE video (my first with music…still tweaking]–a powerful antidote to anxiety because it transforms the states of regret and guilt that we fear into self-forgiveness and action–as well as trust in yourself and in life’s outcomes.
Here is what I wrote to her:
“Hi Sweetie, thanks for writing. Like you, I woke up VERY early today, in a pitch-dark hotel room in Williamsburg,VA., with my daughter and my friend. I thought of you because my mind was also going to that anxiety provoking impossible thought we worked on in your session: “I need to fix everything before something bad happens.”
It wasn’t high anxiety, like I used to have so often. But it WAS enough to keep me awake. I notice that when I do that, part of what feels ‘urgent’ and time-bound, fearing outcomes that will happen if I don’t do something. And the bigger part of it is really about not wanting to go into my old crushing state of regret that I DIDN’T do something. (again, I rarely go into that ‘bad’ place any more, but if there is fear, i notice it is more fear of my future emotional states than of the actual outcomes of what I do or don’t get done).
That’s one reason the Wheel of Self-Love (WOSL) that we are studying right now in the MMM group is so important. Once I learned how to really deal with regret by finding my own innocence (self-forgiveness), facing my fears and finding I can’t know that the worst-case outcomes I fear might not be the ‘best-case’ in the end, then giving myself the reassurance I would want from others or life to know that my past actions were OK (those are basically the three steps), it has allowed me to have a WHOLE NEW approach to life: Doing what I could do and trusting around the rest. (It’s kinda like LIVING the serenity prayer, which I couldn’t do back when I was saying it almost non-stop on any given difficult day when I was doing 12-Step work).
BEYOND MINDFULNESS-TURNING FEAR INTO A CALL-TO-ACTION
Because I couldn’t get back to sleep, I decided to lay there and do the ‘Beyond Mindfulness Map’ ….tuning in to and being a kind presence for whatever i was feeling in my body, noticing my sweet creative mind…. then I gave myself permission to have fun making plans related to its concerns–kind of like brainstorming without “YES-BUTing” about how it would get done–,and thinking of what I wanted to do to be pro-active, making a list in my head.
Just because we can calm ourselves and not let myself go off the deep end into anxiety does not mean we become a ‘doormat’ or do not also take action. And in fact that action becomes much more effective because we are not anxious or distracted. (It is phenomenal to me how focused I can be after years of not being able to concentrate. I was managing editor at a university and I often had to read the same paragraph or sentence over and over–not because I don’t love editing but because my anxious thoughts would captivate my attention).
SENDING AN ARROW INTO THE VORTEX
I took a moment to remember how it works when I turn fear into a call to action….. that reminded me about ‘THE VORTEX,’ from the book by Esther and Jerry Hicks. While I have my issues with the way “Law of Attraction” lore gets interpreted and some of the ‘more harm than good’ that has come out of that for many clients who come to me. Once you know what do to with the scary thoughts, as you are learning, it frees to live the theory they share: They explain that when something you DON’T want comes onto your radar screen, it AUTOMATICALLY sends an arrow of desire for what you DO want out into a universal energy vortex “where all creative relationships are assembled.”
If you keep the focus on what you don’t want, you’ll feel bad and in some ways make that ‘bigger’ with your attention on it and your belief that your fear is real, and if you keep the focus on trusting that what you DO want is already in the process of being created, then… well, you get to notice and enjoy how it is, as well as becoming an active part of the process. (However, be careful not to fall into the trap of beating up the little part of you that doesn’t know how to stop focusing on the negative; that’s who we are here to help. and you can now see its well-meaning inttentions).
THE HOW IS NOT UP TO YOU
Moving into the actions that come to us to take feels good to us because it is aligned with what we want deep down in ways our miniature monkey minds can’t possibly plan or imagine or orchestrate. You just have to receive. And also do what comes to you to do that feels aligned and ‘right’ and feels good because it is not fear-driven, but just letting yourself follow where you want to go next. (it’s just that I didn’t know how to help myself do any of that till I learned the WOSL and The Work, because my thoughts had me by the throat!)
USING YOUR FEAR AS A SPRINGBOARD
I laid in bed and thought, “Why am I feeling worried about this stuff? What is wrong with noticing that there are things I want to do? What am I really fearing?” And while there are some potentially scary outcomes awaiting, the only ‘problem’ I really found is, “I want to sit up in bed and work toward solving the objects of my concern, or at least make a list so I won’t forget what they are–but I don’t want to wake my roommates!”
So I consciously USED what I fear or don’t want, to create a vision and then an action plan for what I DO want. Of course I can’t control outcomes (that is the part people kinda miss with all this), but I can take action on what feels good to me and feeds my soul and feels like what I CAN do right now (that is the serenity prayer again–accept what I can’t change and change what I can).
Even tho it took me 10 minutes of tip-toeing around the dark room (not even the light of my phone as charger was in the car), I am now happily writing to you in the hotel lobby. It felt so much better to get up than to not get up… I was actually excited about the things I wanted to accomplish (i was up at 5 yesterday morning too, and while I don’t usually like ‘detail’ kind of work, I was SO motivated and had so much fun knocking things off my list!)And today, I had other things to do but also wanted to send out a post to our mailing list and HH group, and while I had one idea, my response to you helped me remember that my goal this week was to get the Wheel of Self-Love out to folks and to invite them to work through a real guilt or regret or 2nd-guessing situation they are “kicking themselves” about.
Your note to be about being anxious and my answer to you have now provided the perfect entre into inviting folks to download this great PDF (even if you’ve seen it before because it comes with this new video that starts and ends with music–new for me!). That’s how it works! I’m not in charge of what gets created in the VORTEX, the best I can do is notice what comes to me to do and notice whether or not I’m doing it and notice whether or not it feels good or bad (and if it feels bad then I notice what I’m believing and question it). You are learning to do that, and I see your mood and your life improving so quickly as you embrace it. Here is a new piece that helps SO much with anxiety and depression.