Anxiety. They have pills for that. However, there are no pills for anxiety’s cousins and near-neighbors: worry, stress and, the underpinning of it all, fear.
When I blew up my life nearly three years ago by calling off my engagement, I was sad and relieved. When I blew up my life again last fall by deciding to move my four legged family and myself to Arizona, I was excited, eager, confident, and ready to take on the world. Meanwhile, my basic operating system was running in the background on the trifecta of fear.
Do you know the story, I’m not sure if it’s about frogs or lobsters, maybe both, in which the poor dear is placed in a pot of cool water and if the water is heated gradually, he simply stays in the pot until he’s cooked? His nervous system never sounds out the alarm to jump out because it adapts as the temperature rises, until it’s too late. Like my amphibious and crustacean friends, I’d become habituated to stress, except that it wasn’t hot water I adapted to, it was a cascading deluge of fearful thoughts.
Around the time of the inauguration, my inner world had become such a perfect reflection of the political world that my skin seemed to exist only for show. It became a daily challenge to live on purpose, to stay focused on my true work and not the world’s ills.
And so, naturally, I became ill. I was thirsty all the time, fatigued and having dizzy spells. I was drinking gallons, yes gallons, of water a day and still my thirst was not quenched. I saw doctors and specialists and had blood tests and brain scans which all amounted, thankfully and frustratingly, to nothing.
One day, in a period of 24 hours, three experts told me they believed I needed to be medicated for anxiety. At long last, I registered the alarm from my nervous system in response to this shout out from the universe through the voices of these three disparate experts: an endocrinologist, a family doctor and a chinese medical herbalist.
My inner world turned and I took back control over the one thing I can control: my thoughts. I went for acupuncture, stopped consuming news, thanked God for my health and calmed myself every time I felt the call of thirst. My symptoms subsided in a matter of weeks.
The pain of this world would kill me, if I let it, empath that I am. And to the extent I allow the political climate to affect my emotional well-being, it will continue to do me harm. And I suppose I could let it. I could martyr myself on the cross of my values as I see so many do every day.
But here’s the thing: I want so much more for myself and I see a vastly bigger picture. I see a world that is shaking itself up like a miner sifting for gold. And I could focus on the shakes and all the dirt and that damned sieve. Or I could focus on the gold. The gold that is you and me and all that is holy in our destiny.
The gold in me is my sacred center. I connect to it through my time with horses, curiosity, adventure, exploration, and joy; through my work with clients and my creative time; through meditation. I connect to it through loving my friends and my family, and through personal work that expands my capacity to open my heart in loving action. I connect to it through trust: trust in self, trust in Spirit, and trusting in the light in others.
My dreams are big. My capacity to serve is enormous. But first I must serve myself by respecting the sacred vessel that is this body I get to inhabit during my time here on Earth.
I now have a zero tolerance policy for anxiety. When anxiety comes knocking, I meet it, interrupt it, redirect it, explore it, experiment with it…I do whatever it takes to stay conscious and to not allow myself to boil in this water.
I believe that if I focus on the gold and empower others to focus on the gold…and if you do the same…and we all act from that place of our best, most expanded selves…I believe that one day the sacred love we cherish in our inner worlds will be reflected in the outer world.
And whether I get to see that change or not, I will live a life of greater joy and meaning through following this gold-flecked path.