Learning to trust that all will be well doesn’t just happen overnight. Especially in a swirly time it can be super easy to feel like we are out of control. By creating new habits of feeling our feelings and releasing our thoughts we can create paths to trusting ourselves more. This week I used this to move through looking the giant elephant in the room of “What if the unimaginable happens.” I want to share with you the how and what of what I am doing.
For 3 weeks, I have been tapping into my inner warrior. As a HUGE fan of Wonder Woman, I have found ways to take my obsession and use it as fuel to move through my fears and invite others to do the same. With the exception of 1 day out of 22, I have gone live as Warrior Lara, who is the persona that I believe to my best and truest self. She is the one who helps me to share MY voice, MY truths, and MY hopes for our world. Sometimes I dress up as Wonder Woman, simply because I love to play. Other times I don’t and simply wear my Wonder Woman hat as my extra reminder to speak my truest truths.
Today, I talked about how to take charge of our thoughts, especially the ones that flow out of a place of anxiety and fear feelings. I’ve been practicing doing this for myself and wanted to offer folks a possible path forward to do this for themselves. Before I share with you a very real, emotional process I moved through this week here are the basic steps I use.
- Feel the feelings. Feelings are energy in motion. They show up as sensations in our bodies and can move through us in about 90 seconds. We feel the feelings and allow the body to let them go.
- Take a breathe – Pausing to just focus on our breath can help us regroup and refocus before we work to shift the thoughts swirling in our minds.
- Examine the thoughts we are having, with no judgement around them. I’ve found either writing them down in a non-stop, these are just thoughts needing to get out of my head, kind of way can make a huge difference in feeling like I am in control of my thoughts rather than the other way around. Talking with another person who can simply listen without needing to fix us is another great way to move these thoughts out of our head.
- Repeat as a mantra “All will be well. I have got this.” Putting new, empowering thoughts into our minds can help quiet the ones trying to convince us we are simply doomed.
- Take one step forward, just one, to take some action in our lives. Any type of action forward can greatly decrease our anxiety.
I used this process this week to move through my own anxiety around all of my thoughts around “What if something, something unimaginable, happens to me? ” I’ve had lots these thoughts ever since moving through the unexpected death of my husband, Russell, 5 years ago. But now, the unimaginable feels a little more imaginable as I watch friends and friends of friends and people all over our world needing to grapple with this very question in a very real way. And my feelings and thoughts around this had become a very giant elephant in the room in mind and in every relationship I have. Once this question became what was waking me up night after night, I knew it was time to take control of thoughts and DO something.
So on Monday, I took myself through the process of feeling my feelings; taking a breathe; examining my thoughts; repeating “All will be well. I have got this.”; and stepping forward to take action. After feeling things and writing in my journal for a long time, I organized my end-of-life desires, my important documents, a list of my outstanding debts, important contact people to help my kids navigate through everything, directions for how the life insurance $ is to be used, and a clear directive that whatever my kids want and need to move through this time is what needs to happen. I spent time beginning to notify the necessary people of what I am doing and where everything will be kept.
My releasing and taking control process included having discussions with each of my kids about what is happening, what I am feeling and what I am thinking. I have shared with all of them what my end-of-life requests and directives are. I have invited them to share with me any they have for themselves. It has included opening up the conversation with each of them about their feelings and thoughts and fears and hopes right now. It has involved all of us acknowledging the elephant of fear and “what if” that is in the room. It has meant me speaking one of my deepest truths to them that I know how quickly life can change and that one of my greatest hopes is that if the unimaginable happens I have at least done all I can to set them up to feel like they have what they need to move forward. Our conversations have been intense and raw and real and I think good for each of us.
Am I afraid this is going to be needed right now because I am walking in fear that I am going to get sick? No. Do I want any of us to be living in fear & constantly on edge? No. Am I aware that the unimaginable can happen to any of us in the blink of any eye? Yes. Was it intense to do this? Oh hell yes! Do I feel better having done this? An even bigger HELL YES! Do I believe that having the deep conversations are super important right now? YES, YES, YES!
Feeling my feelings. Acknowledging my thoughts. Taking action. All of these things have helped me feel like I have some control about the giant elephant of “WHAT IF?” in my mind. Being able to answer that question with a clear, definitive action plan has been amazingly powerful for my state of mind. I have a plan in place so that my kids wouldn’t have to muddle their way through like I had to. They won’t have to find the life insurance papers, or their birth certificates, or a list of who needs to be contacted, or the information needed to pay the bills and pay off debts, or find the money to simply live. I have organized all of that and it feels amazing to have it ready to go.
With every fiber of my being, I hope that none of this is needed for a very long time. But I can sleep more easily at night knowing that it is ready to go for them. My feelings and my thoughts are no longer choking me. And that is an amazing thing.
In this time, in this moment I am trusting that all will be well and that all is well! May the same be true for all of you.