What a gift there is in flexibility of thinking! A barrier to this flexibility for me at times can be because of fear of the unknown. This can cause my  brain to want to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. As helpful as this preparation may seem, for me, it’s not. It takes me out of the present moment and launches me into a place where I am spinning in the future and not tuned into my woken up life. Only in the present can I be fully submersed in the details of my  experience.  

For many of us who experience anxiety, to let things happen without planning and predicting all the various outcomes that may arise in a possible situation can feel overwhelming.  Giving up control can feel out of control. Sometimes accessing the belief that I already have within me all that I need to get through whatever unknown is ahead can be difficult. Here, outdated patterns have entered in and I can start to spin in the what if’s.  Once that train is rolling, it is only with mindful intention that I can stop the train and get off. This makes sense because our subconscious brain in the drivers seat 95% of the time. As far back as I have memory, I have also had anxiety.  Through trauma work, I know now what it is like to live without the constant humming of a body in chronic hyperalert states.  I have learned to know how anxiety shows up for me and use tools to manage it which feels amazing, but sometimes when I’m not in the present moment, my old procedural learning takes the drivers seat.  In these moments, I may be unaware of how my old patterns of thinking have crept to the forefront of my experience.

When an old memory, thought, sensation, emotion, or image gets triggered in some way our brain starts to alert us that danger is present.  When this happens to me, calmness and curiosity are not always the first things online and accessible to me. When fear enters in, I often felt an uptick of uncomfortable amounts of energy in my body, especially between my shoulder blades. Sometimes, a sudden panic sensation waves through my body and my brain goes through the old tapes and tells me I’m not safe and I  need to be on alert.  

Trusting that I am safe and I can access my strength and resiliency has been such a challenge for me in the past. With intention to focused work and  practice, I have shifted this experience tremendously and can tap into my inner strength to know with confidence that I have everything inside myself to get through whatever is ahead. I can, with more ease, tune in to where I am. I can notice where I am and what I need. If I notice I’m not calm and curious, I know that I need to focus in on the moment and ground myself so I can notice what my body and mind is trying to communicate to me. Only here can I honor and give space to figure out what I need in that moment.

Amazing things happen when I can give space for what needs space. Here I can notice, Am I safe in this moment? Am I feeling tightness and tingling in my shoulders telling me I’m anxious? Am I feeling fullness and heaviness in my head telling me I’m angry? Is my jaw tight?  What else is my body trying to tell me? What thoughts do I notice? Is this old stuff popping in or is this current? I pause and get curious what parts of me are activated and what they need in this moment. I can ask the activated parts if they are willing and able to release some of that excess energy I’m feeling. Here I can notice if I am accessing my self energy or if another old tape has taken over and activated my  system for no good reason. If there is no danger in my present moment, then my body and mind can take a much deserved rest. This allows in me more flexibility in my thinking and that is a fantastic result of  intentional healing.


Megan Shane

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