I am just as prone to fear and anxiety as anyone else. What I’m learning more of all the time, is to what degree this manifests in me. I find that within my family, I can get hit hard and heavy with panic when I feel a threat coming our way.
I have also learned, since childhood, how to live out these threats and perceived feelings of fear and anxiety. It wasn’t until recently that I even defined these feelings in myself as anxiety or fear, but just related to them as reaction to crisis, a Re- Action, initial panic, confusion anger, disbelief. A feeling of being at the mercy of the situation, at least initially. What always seemed to transpire over time was a coping mechanism of getting through the current crisis. Part of that coping mechanism was simply to just keep going. Continue living “normally” amongst the crisis that was currently being played out. This is helpful to have a sense of balance in life, while also assessing the need for proper attention to what is occurring.
Basically, life consists of Everything and in order to stay above water, I learned in my family dynamic, that in order to continue with a degree of sanity, it was necessary to be being kind, compassionate, helpful, and as understanding as possible. While life didn’t always look so sparkly, the message I got and embodied was to show up and do my best when it came to the people I loved, even when it was scary, hard and almost impossible to make sense of.
I was raised the youngest of 3, with 2 older brothers. At the age of 7 I experienced what it felt like to be frightened and witnessed the shaming of my oldest brother, 4 ½ years my senior. Not by anyone’s fault, just a reality that I experienced and perceived as such. By age 12, I was shaken with the death of my grandmother and the very present curiosity of what death meant. On to age 13, I learned that my oldest brother was given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenic. This threw me a little, I knew my brother as a loving human person, with a lot of adversity and frustration that got spilled out into trying to be a human being. When I was 15 my second eldest brother, 3 years my senior, was diagnosed with cancer. Three months earlier he was misdiagnosed, so now he would endure immediate 15-hour surgery, with the discovery of the cancer that had spread, due to the misdiagnosis. He’s been in remission for 40 years! I’m not done yet! When I was 18 my mom was diagnosed with cancer, now a 38-year survivor and my eldest brother had a psychotic break.
At age 35 with a husband and 2 kids of my own, I would endure the reality of witnessing my oldest brother’s experience of an extremely unfortunate situation that put him into a coma/vegetative state, where he would live out his life over the next 10 years. And at age 43, I would become the primary caregiver to my oldest daughter who suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 15, leaving her paralyzed as a quadriplegic. I’m happy to say she is thriving and living life amongst the many challenges that are faced on a daily, if not hourly basis with a diagnosis of this magnitude.
My reason and realization for sharing all of this is because while I am learning every day how to come to terms with my fears, real and imagined, or rather conditioned, I am noticing how it is so much easier for me to be there for others in times of crisis, without falling prey to the fear, panic or anxiety. Oddly enough I help people navigate through these feelings.
So in the wake of our current upheaval with the new world order, because to a degree that is exactly what is happening, I feel inclined and inspired to remind people that calmness, clarity, progression and safety can and must be present while navigating through the fear, anxiety, upheaval and doomsday-feelings.
The easiest way to accomplish this is by slowing down long enough to contact what is arising in yourself so you can name it, or draw it, or dance it, or scream it, or share it. The key is to let it out and recognize it for what it is and then be very gentle and compassionate with yourself as you put the pieces back together so you can show up in life in a way that feels grounded and assuring, knowing that you are not in this alone.
Acknowledgement of our feelings allows us to recognize what they mean to us when we get curious and this allows us to decide how we want to show up in life. This pandemic (mother nature) is offering the world the opportunity to slow down. In fact, it is demanding that people slow down, thus the isolation. We as a collective, literally a world of people, have nowhere to go but to sit back and listen. Our lives literally depend on it.
Be kind, gentle and compassionate. Mother wouldn’t want it any other way.