Over the past couple of years, I've been struggling with anxiety - in a pretty intense way at times. As anyone who has experienced this level of anxiety knows, it feels awful and all-consuming. Your thoughts go into overdrive and the feeling of fear is pervasive.
When I examine anxiety, it is essentially a strong feeling of fear about the future. It's the fear of an anticipated negative outcome. It's a sense of impending doom. It's related to intolerance of uncertainty and the unknown. In my experience, it is a discomfort with not knowing what's going to happen. People, like me, with anxiety try to control situations with the hope that they will turn out favourably. This is an absolutely futile endeavour as we all know that it is impossible to control every aspect of what happens to us. Often, trying to control things simply results in living very small. We choose to stay within defined boundaries that we feel we can control. We don't take chances. We don't stretch ourselves. We remain firmly within our comfort zones. Maybe nothing bad happens in this safe zone, but likely nothing really good does either. Then one day, if something bad does happen, we're thrown completely out of sorts. How could something bad have happened when we worked so hard to protect ourselves and avoid negativity?? Clearly, this is an ineffective strategy for living life.
I've always wanted to be a person who had faith that things in my life would turn out as they're supposed to. You know, I wanted to believe that "things happen for a reason", "what's meant to be, will be" and "what's for you, you will get" and all those other lovely adages we often hear. But when anxiety would strike, panic ensued and all those sayings flew out of the window. I didn't know how to truly believe that the Universe had my back.
I recently attended a course at One World Academy in India. I felt pulled to go there and looking back, I think I was seeking a way to feel this trust and faith that have always eluded me. While at OWA, I experienced this feeling of trust so deeply on a couple of occasions. Like I really felt it to my core, not just in my head. The feelings of peace and joy that accompanied the sense of trust were so profound and so beautiful. Words cannot describe how healing and calming that sense of peace was. I was actually brought to tears. For anyone who has experienced the incessant spiraling of scary thoughts that anxiety brings, you will understand how miraculous and amazing it felt to have stillness in my mind and an absence of fear.
Now that I've tasted the beauty of that experience, I am committed to cultivating trust in my life. When I speak of trust, I mean trust in God, in the Universe, in myself, in others and in the process. I'm almost scared to write all of this because I don't want to jinx myself! It's what Brené Brown refers to as foreboding joy. I'm in a good place now, but I'm almost scared to be happy about it because what if the other shoe drops and this all goes away and I'm back to not trusting and living in fear? Well, I'm going to be bold and take the foreboding out of the joy and just experience it purely. I've learned that this is all a process and things are always changing. So I'm just going to focus on the joy and peace that I'm feeling now and not worry about how I'll feel tomorrow. I'll continue to practice what I've learned to be able to live in more beautiful states in my life. But I'll also try not to panic in times when anxiety shows up on my doorstep.
I'm starting 2018 off with the intention to cultivate trust in my life, in addition to the peace and joy that accompany it. I hope with all my heart that 2018 will be a very happy year for us all and that you will focus on the intentions that will bring you all that you're craving in your life.