Don’t Panic. Not right now. But for sure. Definitely.
The last week or so has been tough. I don’t feel good. I had a little stomach thing and now trying to figure out if there is a bigger issue. It’s nothing to be concerned about but, regardless it’s had me down.
First of all I don’t like feeling sick. No one does right? But when I feel physically sick there is also this very heavy emotional component. It’s a major trigger. When I feel weak, tired, sluggish, nauseous I am reminded of the days when I was hungover. Those physical feelings are accompanied by the sense that “something’s wrong.” And it’s amazing how our thoughts control so many of our outcomes.
I have talked a little about the “emotional hangover” or what someone recently coined as “Hangxiety.” For many years I walked around with this feeling of anxiety, guilt, shame, and insecurity. In the beginning I knew that being hungover led to anxiety. But as my drinking went on it became much harder to connect my actions, the chemicals, and the affect they were having.
I NEVER have anxiety like I did when I was drinking. Don’t get me wrong I can get anxious at times. But I’m not nearly as irrational as I used to be. Laura McKowen (one of my favorite sober people) says “drinking is like pouring gasoline on your anxiety.” This is exactly how I felt.
I would be feeling a little anxious and instead of dealing with it I would pour gasoline on it to try to get it to go away. Before I knew it I was up in flames. I’m still in awe of how disconnected I was from my body. How is it that I was going through this life paying zero attention to my body and my mind? I called that living?
I have been reading a lot of books about meditation and presence. I used to think that meditation was sitting on a mat and trying as hard as you can to clear your mind for an extended period of time. Ha! Have you ever tried to clear your mind? If so, you know that the very act of “trying to clear” creates absolute chaos.
Now, I use meditation as a tool to bring me to the present time (the only time we have). Instead of sitting on my mat trying to void myself of thoughts I sit and take in what is going on around me. The more I do this the better I get at doing this at times when I am not sitting on my mat. So, when I start to feel anxious about things like how I will be a good mom when the kids are teenagers? I can redirect my energy to being present with what is happening in front of me at this very moment (the only one we have-and yes I meant to repeat that).
I am reading a great book by Eckhart Tolle. He talks about asking yourself this question “What is your relationship with this present moment?” He goes into a lot of detail about how your relationship in the present creates outcomes. This practice has been a game changer. And I have used it this week since my mind wanted to use catastrophic thinking to turn my stomach bug into a life threatening illness.
For example, my old self would think something like this……My stomach hurts and I am sick. I have no energy and I hate this. I will never be able to work out again and how will I get through this week? I am going to be depressed for sure. It’s probably something really bad like cancer or I will have to have surgery. I hate hospitals…
Ironically, these thoughts resulted in an elevated heart rate, emotional exhaustion, stomach pain, and an overall feeling of sickness.
But when I use the tools that I have learned through meditation it’s more like.... This ginger tea I am drinking is really yummy and soothing to my tummy. Look how sweet the kids are when they smile. The grass is greener with all this rain…that’s nice. I love this comfy sweater……
Suddenly, I feel a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling all throughout my body.
We humans have a 100% mortality rate. We know this for a fact. So why do I spend my time pretending that I will live forever? Why do I think I can “get around to the important stuff" later? Why do I waste time putting out so much negative when that’s not really the legacy I want to leave behind? How do I want to spend my time here while I am living? How do my thoughts affect my physical feelings and outcomes?
If I want a life worth living I must be present with my body, mind, and soul. When I do that I can feel the utter joy that is pouring through my windows, doors, and coming up through your floors. I can’t “create” the joy but instead I open my heart to the joy that is already surrounding me.
When I am focused on the relationship I am having with the present moment EVERYTHING is doable. There is nothing I can’t overcome. Nothing seems too hard and everything feels just as it is supposed to.
It won’t all be easy. It’s not supposed to be. The only way to learn and grow is through the struggle. But, if I make the intention to live this way life feels better overall.