Much as I like stories and parables, this time around I would like to share a personal experience and a “discovery” that gave me a fresh outlook on anxiety, self-awareness and presence.
Not a long time ago, my life was turned upside down. I had to leave the country I had been living in for 7 years, the country where I was (re)born. I left behind a life in which I was (and felt), for the first time in my life, fully aligned with my true essence; the country where I finally accepted and celebrated who I am and what my mission in life is. – . I invite you to read my article “My October visit in Gabon – My spiritual birthplace (or where it all started)” to get to know what I mean.
On top of that, I found out that I would have to move to a new country, with customs, traditions and laws which, I thought, (please pay attention to the verb I used – thought), would not allow me to be authentic any more, where I would have to “hide” again, where I would be away from my “tribe”.
All this “thinking” provoked a lot of stress. I would wake up every day feeling stressed out without even knowing why. I just opened my eyes in the morning and, before I could think of anything, I could feel worry and a constricting sensation in my heart.
These feelings and sensations were present from the time I opened my eyes in the morning to the time would finally fall asleep after turning and tossing in bed until the early hours of the morning. These feelings were not new to me. I could recognize them and put a name to them; anxiety!
I had already experienced those feelings during a very difficult time in my life. When I was 25, I underwent brain surgery to get a tumor removed that pressed on the optic nerve and had severely affected my vision. After the surgery and the rehabilitation, I suffered from anxiety having had my whole world turned upside down for the first time. At 25, when I felt “immortal” and thought that the world was my oyster, I realized that life could be cut short any minute and, because of that, I was afraid to live. I felt so anxious all the time that I could not even do the simplest tasks. I just lay in bed feeling miserable. I was incapacitated until I sought care which was the first step forward to becoming who I am today.
Well, back to the present time.
I had been feeling like this for about a couple of weeks when I observed that, despite those very uncomfortable feelings, I did not feel incapacitated as I had in the past. I started observing more closely and I realized that not only was I fully functional but I was also making plans and arrangements as well as taking bold action. During the time of my “anxiety”, I organized my trip to Gabon for trainings and sessions and a long lay over in Paris for another weekend training. I could experience myself feeling anxious and, at the same time, I could see myself sending emails informing people of the trainings, booking tickets, finding the venues and even tending to my social media profiles, which I had never done before.
When I talked to a dear friend about what was going on, I told her that I felt that I did not have any control over my life. I said that I was experiencing anxiety but, at the same time, was very active and productive. I did not know how I was doing all those things feeling the way I did. I said I felt like a puppet and yet there was no puppeteer. “Who is making me do all those things?” I asked her. “Nobody is forcing me to. There is no puppeteer other than myself! I am the puppet and the puppeteer alike! How can this be?”
My very wise friend asked me, “Which part of you is telling you to do all these things?” “My inner voice!” I replied with no hesitation, surprised at my own answer. “I am telling me what to do!”
“Is your inner voice the puppeteer?” she asked.
“My inner voice does not judge, nor does it label. My inner voice is aligned with the flux of life, it goes with the flow. No resistance, no judgement. Mere presence! Pure being!” I replied.
“Then who is talking about puppets and puppeteers?” she insisted.
“It is the frightened child in me who is calling my inner voice a puppeteer!” I cried in astonishment. “The frightened child who constantly feels in danger and is deluding itself by thinking it should and can control its surroundings in order to survive. It is the frightened child in me who is judging and labeling and sees puppets and puppeteers… I am where I should be, I am doing what I should be doing, and I am experiencing what I should be experiencing. No resistance, no fight. Everything is the way it should be.”
I cannot tell you I did not really know where these words came from. They came from my higher self. I was channeling my higher self!!! This had happened to me before, that is talk to someone and start channeling his or her higher self without being in an altered state of consciousness, but it only happened when it was absolutely necessary/urgent that the person receive the information, and, believe you me, I have never been the judge of that. Then and only then was my “switch” bypassed by a “higher power” and I started channeling without having the intention to. But I had never been the recipient of such necessary/urgent information! I had never automatically channeled my higher self!
From that discussion on, thanks to which my higher self manifested itself without a “special invitation”, the anxiety disappeared completely! I did not, and still do not, feel any stress whatsoever and I am able to retain a calm, almost nonchalant attitude despite the setbacks I have been experiencing. Even as I am writing this article something came up that would have stressed me out but somehow and I manage to remain untouched by the incident.
It is something so new that I do not recognize myself anymore. “Who is this person who is unaffected by circumstances?” I ask myself. And the answer comes automatically; “My true self, my essence, me denuded of conditioning and fear”.
I do not know how long this feeling will last. I do not know how long I will remain impervious to what is happening around me. What I do know is that, even if or, to be more realistic, when I experience fear and anxiety in the future, I will always have this memory of what it feels like to be “present”, an unattached observer who goes with the flow, free of judgement and fear. And I hope that this memory will become a reality for me more and more often, and then, who knows, maybe a habit.