I woke up with anxiety this morning. Some people refer to anxiety as a disorder but I see it as a natural response to life experiences that were or are overwhelming. For those of us who grew up in homes that were unsafe; that lacked nurturing and a foundation that could be relied on, anxiety is hardwired into our nervous system. I spent most of my life trying to hide or manage anxiety so that it wouldn’t show on the outside. Hiding and managing anxiety would inevitably lead to a panic attack followed by self judgement, shame and overwhelming grief. In an attempt to feel safe and cared for I made many poor choices in my life. Choices that were fueled by the sympathetic energy of fear and anxiety. Choices that I have come to view with eyes of loving compassion. It was a looping in my physiology that governed my reason and capacity to care for myself.

This morning I am here like this. This is my mantra every morning when I wake up and throughout the day. Whatever is here is welcome here. This morning anxiety is here and it is allowed along with everything else that is here. I know that might sound radical but as someone with a life long relationship with anxiety I have realized that the only way to be with anxiety is to let it be here. To meet it with curiosity and compassion. So here we are. 

Rupert Spira says, “to live without fear we have to first learn to live with it”. I have learned to live with it.

It’s a gorgeous morning and as I settle into my seat I notice a black squirrel run across my back yard. Black squirrels have a bad reputation here and it seems that they are also seen as something that we need to get rid of. Some say they aren’t “native” to this area and that they will kill all the brown squirrels. I don’t know if that’s true but I just enjoy watching them run across my yard with their bushy black tails. They look pretty innocent and curious to me. A little nervous perhaps but definitely not dangerous. 

I feel my feet on the ground and the cool air on my legs. As I feel my feet on the ground I know that I am home. This is a consistent “practice” of mine and one that I emphasize over and over again to my clients: feel your feet on the ground. and the weight of your body on the seat. Here like this…. Without an anchor into the present moment having anxiety is like being lost at sea. Tossed about like a little cork on a great big ocean. Allow the awareness of your feet on the ground and the weight of your body on your seat to become an anchor into the present moment for you. 

I look around the room. The same room I have sat in for over a decade and I notice that it’s safe here. There is no immediate threat. I can see out into my yard so I check out there too. No threat. Looking around I see familiar objects; candles flickering; a vase of yellow gerbera daisies; pictures; a little ceramic pelican and a humming bird feeder outside my window.I can see that I am safe and yet the anxiety hasn’t quite got the message. That’s ok. No pressure. Slow and simple. It takes time. Sometimes I will get up and walk around a bit if the pressure is intense but this morning it feels ok to sit. 

I notice the sound of traffic; familiar and soothing to my system. I’m not sure if you’re aware how familiar sounds send cues of safety to the nervous system. The sound of the clothes drying; the dishwasher; your families voices in the background; a lawnmower or a fan running. It’s as if the nervous systems says; oh she’s noticing these sounds so she must be safe.I have a smile on my face as I imagine a bunch of little minion type characters running around in my nervous system saying, “she’s noticing sounds; she just took a nice big yawn; she smiled; she’s looking at a squirrel; she’s just sitting” she must be safe so let’s dial it down. Our survival system has one job and that is to keep us alive and whether the danger is real, imagined or a reiteration of the past it’s going to make sure that body you inhabit stays alive.

I read something this morning and I wanted to share it as part of this piece:

“Remothering is the self-care practice of turning within to access the nurturance, belonging, wise counsel, acceptance, love, and other mother qualities we humans naturally seek.

Remothering is the work we do to deepen self-connection so we can thrive forward in self-alignment.”~the remothering journey

Tending to my system with slowness and loving compassion is one of the greatest gifts I have learned to give myself. It is especially important when anxiety is here. 

The simple gesture of putting your right hand under your left arm pit and your left hand over your right upper arm in a warm hug communicates safety and holding to your system. And the words whispered gently to your physiology, “I’ve got you” will help to reassure your system that it’s safe to stand down.

If you’re not being chased by a lion or threatened in an immediate way I can assure you that it’s safe to stand down but it takes time to reassure the physiology that it really is safe. Be patient with yourself.

If these words resonate with you I invite you to consider joining me for my upcoming event, A Light in the Dark, a 6 week online course.

“The body will reorganize when it feels safe.” ~ Stephen Porges

All of Candace’s services are Trauma, PTSD, Complex Grief, Chronic Illness and Benzo withdrawal symptom sensitive.

Candace Kirby, Counsellor

Sign up to receive my newsletter with FREE trauma, nervous system and present moment info and practices.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share to...