Doorways. Rabbit holes…..
In C. S. Lewis’ story; The Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe, children step through a wardrobe door to leave the ‘real’ world and enter a magical one.
In the magical world they encounter trials and dangers – the witch being just one. But, as in all good children’s stories, the forces of good overcome the power of evil. And in the end – All Is Well.
Now, wouldn’t that be nice. To skip through your wardrobe door. Enter into a heightened state of awareness. Dissolve all the nasty shadow aspects of your own psyche and in everyone else. And become wrapped in bliss.
Happily, you likely have at least one magic wardrobe, maybe more.
The first being…..
At first glance worry might not appear to be a magical doorway. But let’s take a closer look.
Worry is when your thinking entertains difficulties or fears. Or, when you map out elaborate worst case scenario’s in your head.
And why would you dwell on troubling things? Well, this mental activity gives you the feeling that you’re doing something constructive – to control situations that are frightening or unknown.
The problem is, worry keeps your nervous system stuck in the track that makes you ready to fight or flee. And when the dangers you entertain are more a product of your imagination than real, your adrenal health drains away. This makes it hard to bounce back from life’s set backs.
So how is worry a magic wardrobe?
Before answering, let’s consider another superpower wardrobe.
If you’ve ever had a panic attack you won’t need a reminder of what one is like. But if you’ve never had one, the basic’s are worth knowing in case you encounter someone in panic. Your assistance could make a huge difference.A panic attack happens when there’s a sudden surge of anxiety and fear. By surge – think tidal wave.
Attacks usually happen without warning. Or in situations where you feel trapped….like in a train carriage, or a social gathering where you feel surrounded by invisible walls.
The situations differ but the symptoms are predictable. Your heart pounds like it’s about to jump out of your rib cage. You’re straining to breathe. And you feel like you’re going crazy, or about to die.
Even writing this I can feel my nervous system beginning to jangle.
So, how exactly are worry and panic magic wardrobes?
The unlikely goodness in worry and panic
If you had a healthy start in life you likely had parents who knew how to handle fear and anxiety. So when you ran off into the woods and got scared by a snake and screamed your way back home. They, on your arrival, remained steady and calm.
They didn’t simply try to tell you that you were safe. They modeled safety in their own energy and consciousness. This allowed you to relax. You learned that intense sensations of fear come and go, and that most snakes aren’t deadly.
But if your parents hadn’t learned how to to handle their own fears, they weren’t able to empathize or comfort you. When you arrived home, trembling and afraid, you might have been met with dis-interest or even criticism, or were simply told to “Get over it”.
Harsh though this would have been. Natural intelligence steps in to take care of these moments.
When a child isn’t able to fully process the energy of a fear moment, she stores it in her body and psyche. And just like a squirrel that hides acorns for the winter, this stored away energy becomes a potential source of fuel.
Pocketed away energy stays dormant until you’re ready to process, heal and release it.The clue that tells you that you’re got some hidden energy stores is discomfort.
And, if you’re like most human beings (and most of us are, because we’re conditioned to behave in similar ways), you’ll tend to either push discomfort away, or try to control it by worrying, or trying to figure it out. But these habits only stuff down your life energy even more.
When you’re willing step towards discomfort the door to your inner world opens up. Light streams in and you begin to see that what you thought was scary or dangerous, isn’t.
I call this ‘stepping towards’ discomfort’; being with discomfort.
When you be with what feels uncomfortable, fearful or intense – energy pocketed away from the past is set free. And your natural healing intelligence gets to work to makes sense of what needs to be resolved, and heal what needs to be healed.
This practice of being with discomfort is easily learned. But if anxiety or fear is intense it helps to have a skilled and trained healer or therapist. Their rooted, grounded presence teaches you how to relax into your deeper core, so that you can see and feel your discomfort move and transform into pure aliveness.
On the other side of the door
The reward for stepping towards and through the wardrobe is you grow bigger than your fear and anxiety.
You learn how to move deeper into life – not avoid or push it away. Your living becomes an ongoing movement of becoming more whole.
Peace and lightness of being become your world. Life becomes a friendlier place. And you become a rock and a beacon for others.
- Breathe into your lower belly. Deep breathing triggers the release of serotonin – the ‘feel good’ hormone in your body which counteracts adrenalin.
- Notice the sensations in your body. Practice not taking them as evidence that something bad is happening.
- ‘Be with’ the uncomfortable sensations. Consciously say; “Yes” to the discomfort. Soften inside. Meet the sensations with friendliness.
I just love how you have such a cherishing attitude to difficulties like worry and panic. I’m glad your readers have this haven to come to, and can receive encouragement.
I used to suffer terrible panic attacks as a young adult and was wondering how you were going to make magic doors out of panic and worry! (You totally got there 🙂 ) Stepping into discomfort is such a helpful response. I also loved your point about the well adjusted parents modeling ‘safety in their own energy and consciousness.’ That’s such an important point, having a support like that is crucial in being able to step into discomfort. Thank you.
You’re so welcome, Dave.