When I was younger, a lot younger, almost 10 years ago now… I had a bout with some pretty intense anxiety. I suffered from panic attacks and irrational fears. I had obsessive thoughts, heart palpitations, irritability, depression, insomnia, difficulty breathing… ANXIETY in all of its ugly, glorified splendor.
What triggered it is irrelevant in hindsight. What matters now is what I learned during that trying time. I began, while struggling to “survive” the scariest time I’d ever experienced, to “let go”. To stop struggling against what was and to actually release my death grip on control and allow what was happening to unfold without resistance. I discovered that resisting anxiety is like struggling in quicksand, it only brings you down faster. The only way out of that vicious cycle was to relax into it… Once I stopped “panicking” I found that I was able to “float” above the deadly quicksand… The trap was still there and depending upon how I dealt with it, I could still find myself entrenched in the muck. However, I’d caught a glimpse of something inexplicably useful. I’d found a tiny bit of surrender. That was the beginning of a lifetime of learning to “allow” what is to BE.
When I became pregnant with my second child, I was terrified at the prospect of giving birth. After the experience I’d had with my first born, I felt certain that I was going to panic and freak out. I’d been left traumatized by the sheer intensity of childbirth. That infinitely insane, overwhelmingly intense experience that nobody could ever be totally prepared for. I decided that I NEEDED to prepare. I convinced my husband that we needed to take Hypnobirthing classes. I practiced my visualizations, and learned to “allow” my body to do what it was meant to do without fear and resistance. I practiced deep relaxation and trust. I learned about the miraculous event of childbirth as a natural occurrence that needed not to be “managed” but experienced. I learned how to breathe into the contractions and release all tension with my exhalations. I learned a great deal about “allowing” nature to take its course and unfold without the preconceived notion of any need to force. The lessons that I attained through Hypnobirthing have had infinite applications in my everyday life. It was yet another exercise in “letting go”.
Yoga for me is yet another lesson in this same concept… I find that it mirrors a lot of those ideas of strength through release. Finding my threshold of ability and then allowing it to BE. Breathing into a difficult position and then relaxing fully and allowing myself to become pliant and open to whatever sensation arises; recognizing that whatever I’m feeling in the moment is exactly what I am meant to be experiencing. Through my yogic practice, I am furthering my understanding of the concept of accepting things as they are and not trying to “force” them into some other configuration to suit my needs. Finding the truth that what is in any given moment, is exactly suited to my needs of said moment.
This is something I aspire to everyday. Remembering to “breathe” into the uncomfortable and release it. Being present enough to relax into what IS and not trying to force it into something else but just to BE with the moment as it unfolds… Letting go of fear and a need for control. Utilizing these skills and applying them practically in my day to day experience. Difficulty, pain, and challenges are often great motivators for cultivating awareness and learning the fine art of BEING. I keep practicing. I keep learning. Life is a challenge. The key then becomes embracing the challenge. Living and loving, not in spite of the challenge, but because of it.