There is a button in my brain that I push whenever something feels uncomfortable, uncertain or out of my control. This button releases chemicals from my brain that trigger heightened feelings in my body. These feelings translate into a quickened pulse, shortened breath and tight stomach. In a word, it's anxiety.
This morning I was thinking about a project I recently submitted for review. I really want this review to go well. I have been working on this project for years, but it was never quite right. Each time I submitted it, I was given a low rating and told to revise and try again.
This repeated response developed a response in me in return. Now, when I think about getting my review back, I reach into my brain, scan those past experiences, and pull together an analysis that says SCARY SCARY SCARY. I remember how it felt to get my past feedback, the disappointment in not only my work, but myself, my life and my seeming inability to get it right.
As I tuned into these feelings of "Watch out - you've been here before and it was bad!" I pushed the button. My stomach tightened up. I felt myself contract and go into a sort of survival mode, which is my way of preparing for the worst.
And then I remembered - the body follows the mind.
My mind is telling my body to generate these feelings. My body does not create feelings. It doesn't create emotions. Those come from the mind, are processed in the body, and then felt in overwhelming clarity. These body sensations can be so big and powerful, it can feel as if the mind isn't involved at all. But it is. It's pushing the button that starts it all. Sometimes it even pushes it over and over in a panic mode, which deepens the panic in the body, until I convince myself I have no control.
But I do. I always do. And that's the magical key I've been missing all these years. This key unlocks all the strength and grace I knew I was in me, but couldn't get to.
Believing I have no control over anxiety comes from a belief I have no control over my responses to the world. But if I'm not choosing how I respond, then that means I'm on autopilot. I refuse to believe this magnificent mind was designed to go into autopilot and coast, like some zombie, to my last breath.
I know I am an empowered being. I know there is enough power, wisdom and love within me to generate any thought or feeling I want at any time. I just have to accept it.
Accepting I can untangle myself from anxiety does not mean I will now flip a switch and stop doing it. This change, like all change, will be a step by step process. And the first step in this was to acknowledge I'm done pushing this button. I'm ready to change.
I imagined myself getting the email that my report was in. I saw my instant, habitual triggered response - anxiety. I then told myself, you are creating that feeling out of a false sense of fear. You are creating that feeling because you have conditioned yourself to believe it's the only correct response, and in fact, the ONLY response possible. But you know different.
I them imagined myself calming, centering and tuning into my deepest resource of connection, inner faith and self-empowerment. I sat with that, and let that vision plant a seed.
I will nurture that seed over and over until it is my new normal. After I went through this, I realized how often I react to things by pushing this button. I do it all the time. Each time I realize I'm about to do it, I will stop myself, breathe, and tell myself, this is coming from the mind. You have control over the mind - you do, you're thinking these thoughts, this is you, this is your voice, now listen to it and stop pushing that button. Breathe. Center. All is well.
The thing that I have come to realize is, each time I anticipate myself pushing the button, I contract.
I close myself off from my connection to God, inspiration, my higher self and all the things that keep me at peace and safe. In other words, my anticipation of bad things is the thing that creates the bad things. Stop pushing the button and the results will change for the better.
And when I'm in the moment, way past imaginging myself pushing it, but instead pushing it in a PANIC, then I close myself off even more. I go in the opposite direction of that which I seek. Coming into awareness of this, and wanting that connection to all the magic and love that brings more magic and love, is why I have vowed, with patience and persistence, I will cease to do this.
That button now has a big sign taped next to it: DO NOT PUSH. And if I do push it, then I will look at the other sign taped next to it: I love you no matter what.