I am sitting with Don Lucho, a Peruvian healer of the Witoto tribe, when he expresses a way of maintaining the connection with the Earth, even in the chaos of the city. Especially when it seems like we are not in Nature, or disconnected from what is. He expressed it so well, just looking up at the tree off in the distance, beyond the market, maybe outside the bank window, and looking at how its leaves wave at us… Then following its waving leaf down to its branch and from its branch to its trunk and then down to its roots. In its roots, you know that just underneath the floor you stand on is the essential foundation to Mother Earth. That, even the concrete that seemingly separates, is a certain form of mountain. In this way, it is less about creating good or bad, and more about seeing the totality… in zooming out far enough, we can see that all of this; the computers we look at, the chemicals we try to avoid, the people in between; is all the same nature, some aspects being more harmonious than others, yet all connected.
In the last few months, I came across a fair amount of people that are very close to me that were dealing with anxiety. I started to piece together the different themes and associated feelings that were being shared with me. I wondered how it started to be that bad, how it became to be so difficult to do what they needed to do in the day or night. This is the list of thoughts and ideas and even questions that pertain to the beginning of self discovery…
(note: it is beyond understandable that anxiety is a condition that is reflected of our cultural disease; one of disconnection and a deeper seeking of what humans truly thrive off of. I am not saying that this is a definitive list, but only a trickle in the ocean named, let’s start somewhere)
- The nervous system is incredible. It gives us our ability of feeling, and receiving messages from within and outside of ourselves. With this knowledge, we can come to see that our nerves are actually giving us information through our feelings. It is quite okay that we receive anxious feelings, since inherently, these are not bad things per se, but only keys to the fact that something is causing it to occur and calling our attention to be present.
- Anxiety is one of the ways our body lets us know that the life force isn’t flowing as fluidly as it could be through our organism. This is evident in things such as trembling, shaking, unconscious gritting of the teeth, maybe even locking up of the jaw, and tummy aches to name a few. It has been said that our issues are in our tissues. What are we carrying around in ourselves from experiences that we are unable to move on from in some way? I find that these are the things that make us most uncomfortable about our lives, our history and so on. Could we see these events as necessary to our evolution? Can we practice forgiveness and compassion? Who is that pain in your neck? What is the heart broken over? If energy is constantly flowing through our bodies, in a circuit board like fashion, what does a blockage look like? Where do we store our worries and fears in our bodies?
- Are you willing to consider the inclusion of a daily spiritual practice such as meditation or prayer or what have you? Are you connecting with that of which is greater than yourself? Are we stuck in old fears of religious boxes and have given up on our spiritual birthrights? Do you connect to the Earth on a daily basis? Are we acting from a space of gratitude to have a chance to be here on this planet? How do we show this gratitude?
- Practice authenticity. This speaks to being true to how you feel and not just speaking to fill space or to be in agreement in order to be included. This is gentle. It is about being who you really are. So maybe it is rough too.
- Is there a strangeness included with this recent propulsion into technology where there are less surprises in the daily life? Where every moment can be documented and shared in between driving to another moment? How a red light has become an internet station. I find that since being in constant internet zones across homes and public places, I am once again, head lowered, constantly checking my phone. For what? For connection, for messages, for seeing what the world is doing. What is wild is that we pick up that world to miss the one we are in and in this have the table full of people at a restaurant, all looking down at their devices, waiting for their food to come. I am a part of this electronic world too, and I am sharing this as means to check ourselves out. Are we clicking to click, or is there a deeper reason to connect? Is the internet just a bunch of colors that move around on foreign precious metals for us or can we utilize it to transform and remember ourselves?
- We can learn to listen to ourselves again, the inner voice, the intuition. Whats funny about this voice is that sometimes we don’t want to hear what messages are coming through because maybe they don’t fit the picture of what we think we want in our lives, or what we feel is comfortable or what have you. The truth is, we know already, and it takes a message or two (or a 1000) to come through and remind us of this innate human potential.
- Who do you surround yourself with? Do the people that ‘just so happen’ to be your friends lift you? Do they inspire you to be your best? Or is it a competition of some sort?
- Are we remembering the ‘kindergarten qualities’; the givens of humanity, including love, compassion, understanding, care, kindness, forgiveness, acceptance, patience, gratitude and so on. Are we connecting with these qualities less than the ones associated with stress and dis-ease such as fear, guilt, shame, judgement, anger, jealousy, and hatred?
- This is about becoming our own detectives. We get to be present with ourselves in all situations, seeing where the mind wanders to… It’s about catching ourselves in the moment of a judgement or the beginning of that anxiety in our belly… where did it just stem from!? A healthy curiosity can take us to its origin. Can we find its root and gently bring it up and out? Much like gardening, as we fine tune our systems from the plants we may not so desire, they appear with less and less force (unless its a weed that is trying to help you, of course), just like chipping away at these habitual forms in our minds by being present with them as they come up. We can, little by little, eradicate the illusion that may have come into our lives via negative self talk, unconscious habits, and so on.
There are plants that can help us in these processes. There are different styles of anxiety and depression and to blanket them all with one plant is somewhat on par with blanketing them with one pill. So, seek out your local herbalist, and dig in. I would say even in the way of starting out on this path, healing already exists as life meets us halfway in our adventure.
There is no one way for anyone. The blanketing of many different unique causes for anxiety with SSRI’s (anti anxiety pharmaceuticals) may do little to support the person through their processing of emotions if too much is being numbed out, message wise. The inner voice becomes quieter, if not completely silenced. Now, from a perspective that Charles Eisienstein elucidates; (The Yoga of Eating, an incredible read!) that whatever substance we happen to be with is essentially the medicine that we need, whether it be pills or alcohol or even stronger substances. They are having an effect on us and they let us do something or feel a certain way which can bring us to a breakthrough point of not needing them anymore. Yet, we can come to recognize that there can be a fuller level of healing and actual resolve from what is being simply repressed from a biochemical standpoint, and not then allowing the real reason for the anxiety to be present to begin with.
These are questions and points to instigate a process of discovery. Almost 50 million people in the United States are taking anti-anxiety medicines. I am not here to bash pharmaceuticals as much as I may not agree with their mafia like systems, I know that all substances inherently have a place (which could be the trash in some cases). It is more to me, about how to recognize why we have a need for them, and at that, such a growing one in this country. There must be another way to truly move on from just a dependency on medications that should make life easier and livable once again… This has been shown to me through the processing of our emotional baggage and histories, knowing that at the core, all beings suffer and go through the pains of existence. We can find solace in the fact that as we work on ourselves, the world is being worked on simultaneously.