After a week of distractions from blogging or journaling, here I am at 6:40AM forcing myself to get my thoughts out of my head and on to paper (well, cyber paper anyway). And to think I've been up since 5:00AM? Restlessly tossing and turning, trying to hide from my racing thoughts and fluttering chest, only to find that when I would open my eyes my body was still heavy, I was still tired, and there was nothing in my present existence to encourage such racing thoughts. Closing my eyes once more, I re-entered the Polar-opposite Express heading straight for anxiety. My heart rate increased with each thought that zoomed by. So quickly, in fact, that I barely was able to get a glimpse of it. It was there, then it was gone. Over and over again this happened until I had finally had enough. I shot my eyes open, jumped out of bed, and grabbed a crumpled sweatshirt off the floor as I snuck out of the bedroom.
I spent the next few minutes pacing in the study that currently doubles as my yoga and meditation room. Tapping my fingertips of my right hand on my chest as if to sooth my heart, "Calm down now, girl, you are fine. Your thoughts are getting ahead of you. They are irrelevant and nonexistent. Just be present."
I made my way to my reading chair and sat down, closing my eyes with hopes that a morning meditation would steady my uneasiness. But it couldn't, my anxiety continued to build. Even at the sound of my Husband, Steve's, voice reaching out to me to ask why I was up so early, my racing mind was unsettled and instead building tension and irritability. What was going on with me? I am not consuming caffeine or refined sugar, both known to cause such mental stimulations. I had recently returned from a relaxing vacation with my In Laws where I had no responsibilities or worries (thank you again Mamma & Pappa G). So what the heck was going on??
Last January I was enrolled in a Leadership Institute through the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. To kick off the program, all participants were asked to take a DISC assessment, in which we would learn about our personality, our motivations, and our behaviors in both our personal vs. professional environments. In the group discussion following the receiving of our results, we were asked to notice the differences between our behaviors in our personal lives and our professional. I remember then being informed (in more formal words) that a difference could result in stress or anxiety due to not having the ability to express our true nature throughout all facets of our lives.
It is very often that we find ourselves shifting personas to greet different environments, situations, and even people in our lives. We do not act from the core of who we are, but rather develop our behaviors or personalities upon the foundation of external influences and circumstances. There is not always a "diagnosable" reason for this behavior, either. It can be as simple as not yet knowing our true nature or even being so distracted that we forget to slow down and reconnect with who we are at our core.
This is where the importance of the Other aspect of our Wellness Program comes in to play. Beyond the food, that nourishes the physical body and on to the essential need to nourish the Innermost Being. There are many different ways to cultivate this sense of nourishment, and respectfully, we all have the individual right to decide what works best for us. These moments of nourishment can be found in activities such as reading, running, prayer, hot showers, nature walks, and for the sake of our wellness program, journaling, yoga and meditation. Making sure to nourish your Innermost Being is JUST as important as nourishing your body through food. It is Self nourishment of the Soul. And you must do so and do so without pressuring yourself. Make sense? If not, feel free to ask me for clarity.
So what about my anxiety? Where did that come from, how did it develop, what can I do? I still don't know all the answers, but I have a good hunch. I have been overwhelming myself with thoughts of future longings, thoughts of things that do not exist. I am excited and nervous and so caught up in talking about my future plans and scheduling for them that I have forgotten the life that is going on right now, right in front of me. And I don't want to miss out on it. My anxiety stems from my lack of being Present. As an old friend said to me over tea this week, "Just take it one week at a time, nobody knows what the future holds." So right now, at 8:06AM on Thursday, January 30th, I take this time to slow down, acknowledge what I sit with right now, and just Be.