My Love Letter To Anxiety

October 21 Dear Anxiety,

For as long as I can remember, you've been with me. You're a bit like a shadow. You walk a few steps behind me, a bit like my dog Poncho but less fun.

You've always been there--telling me to rush, telling me to do more, telling me to eat when I am not hungry. If I had to guess, I picked you up when I was 5 or 6, the year my parents were divorcing. A lot was happening then--a lot of uncertainity was in the air--and it was easy to tune into you.

You've caused a lot of extra suffering in my life because you make problems seem SO MUCH BIGGER AND BADDER then they usually are. You make things more complicated with hurt feelings and misunderstandings and even stubbed toes from rushing around my house, half-crazed.

I've never been medicated for you before but there are times when maybe I should have been. There were definitely times when I self medicated to keep you quiet.

For so long I've wanted to hide you away. I've worked so hard to make a shiny, perfect exterior where people could see how calm and zen I was. I wanted to show the world how little you affected me.

I knew other people who were affected by you--people in my own family--and I wasn't about to be one of those people.

When anyone would see through my act and bring you up my face would turn bright red. If I could, I would have stuffed you into the back of a closet where you would be eaten by moths until you disappeared. That was always my plan.

Then, through learning about Ayurveda, I began to see you differently. With that understanding, I finally began to understand what you are and what you need from me.

Ayurveda taught me about the elements that affect my vata energy (light, dry, windy energy). This vata energy rules my nervous system and also my feelings of connection and well-being in this world. Vata is responsible for my spiritual intuition and my creative abilities--and also for YOU, dear anxiety.

Finally I got it! Your same high-frequency energy can either channeled through my grounded, healthy nervous system or one all messed up on stimulants and lack of sleep. This will lead to very different overall effects.

I began to notice that as I tend to my self care needs--breathing and sleeping well--I feel you much more as spiritual connection and deep creativity. This explains why you get much better when I am regularly writing and painting. This explains why meditation calms you down so much.

The coolest thing is that as I funnel your high frequency energy with the intention of keeping you balanced, my self care decisions get much easier to make. I only want to eat when I am hungry and I can skip the second cup of coffee.

Because feeling good means feeling good. And it's actually pretty fun to build a life around that principle.

It turns out that hanging out with you is really pretty lovely when I treat you with awareness. Breath helps a lot. Being in relationship with grounded people does a lot to keep you balanced too.

Oh anxiety, you've helped me to become extra sensitive and from where I sit now, sensitivity is a pretty valuable asset.

In my coaching work I need to be extremely sensitive to my clients. When I am tuning into you, I pick up signals and ideas that I wouldn't have if I didn't like to hang out so close to me.

So really, thank you for the healing work you do--it's truly inspirational to witness.

Now that I am enjoying your company, I'd love for the world to understand you better as well. When people--especially sensitive creative people--channel you correctly, they can be a smashing success. When they ignore your needs, you will make them fall apart. It's not personal, just cause and effect.

I'm sad that too many celebrities and other brilliant people have had such hard lives because they were never taught how to care for you, including people in my own family.

My goal is to help us learn more you so we can live happy, healthy lives of meaning. I'm willing to talk more about my relationship with you if it can help us get there.

Anxiety, I'm so sorry for being so mean to you before. You don't belong in the shadows but rather in the light and fresh air.

If you are up for a deeper commitment, then I am up for it too. Let's hang out, every single day. I think we can build a really nice life together.

Especially now that fall is here (vata season), I know I'll need to make a bit of extra effort to keep you calm and grounded. I'll massage oil on my feet and put on warm socks. I'll eat a good breakfast and stretch a bit. I'll commit to fewer activities and slow down as I do them.

Then we can get to work. We'll tell each other our favorite ideas. You can pause while I grab a pen and write down that awesome line of poetry you just handed me. You can sing me a song and I'll do my best to listen. You can flow through me as I teach a yoga class--I love that the most.

At the end of the day, we can sit with a tall spine together and breathe deeply. You'll hold my hand as I remember that I don't need to hide anything about you. Or control you. Or make you into something you are not. I just need to walk alongside you and tend to you when I feel you starting to slip.

I'll help you the same way you help me, back and forth like friends telling each other secrets on a lazy afternoon with the sun shining on our shoulders. We belong in that lovely place together-- in that space where we are clear and calm enough to listen.

My love,