I was so anxious I could feel it in my stomach. This was the first time I was driving by myself from South Carolina to New Jersey an estimated 12 hours on the road. I had two travel options — leave Wednesday, overnight in Virginia and continue on the next day, or, leave Thursday after my monthly networking meeting and drive straight through. I had to be in New York on Friday morning for my nephew’s graduation (for several reasons whose details don’t matter for this post). I needed to be there.
The blessing in being.
Just the sound of the word ‘being’ makes me aware of my presence and action in the present moment. Yet, my #EnjoyingBeing was being challenged by my decided schedule.
I love our monthly networking meetings with the Pee Dee Business and Professional Women Network. Knowing that I was already going to miss our July meeting I really did not want to miss June’s. The days prior to this meeting were spent in focused preparation. I had work plus packing and prep because I decided on the latter travel option — leaving directly after our monthly meeting and driving straight to New Jersey. Plus, I was planning to be away for two months so I had to ready my place for my being away also.
The preparation was moving along. Slowly but surely, my habit of anxiety started creeping in. How was I going to drive 12 hours? Do I even have enough gas money to get there? What if I got sick on the road, again? That sick sinking feeling was growing in my stomach.
When I first made the decision to stay for my meeting and drive after, it felt like the right thing to do and I felt confident about it. However, this anxious feeling became noticeable during a conversation with a loved one, who I’m sure meant well in sharing their opinion.
Well, as a coach I use the same tools I share. A few rounds of EFT, essential oils in the diffuser and in my mouth, lavender under the nose, brainwave entrainment on repeat and 24 hours later, though I had some moments of reprieve, that pit-of-my-stomach anxiety was still there.
The thing you’re avoiding is what you most need.
It could have been an audible voice because it was so clear to me, “Just get everything packed. Whatever happens after that you can deal but you can’t deal with not having your passport and other necessities for your upcoming trip, so pack.”
So I packed, even though I felt sick to my stomach. When I was done I did another foot bath, said a prayer, put on Louise Hay’s evening meditation and went to bed.
About an hour and a half before my alarm the next morning I was awake. And while I slept okay it was not great. I was also felt okay, but not great. Then came another really strong thought, “I have exactly enough time to do a castor oil pack treatment.”
It didn’t take long for me to realize that it had been a while since I’d done one and my symptoms of the past week, including occasional fits of sneezing and itchy nose, would be helped by this treatment. So I reached for my flannel and castor oil put it on and crawled back under the covers.
When I awakened again about an hour and 20 minutes later I felt so much better. This is going to work out just fine. That is when I started to have really clear, positive thoughts. I reminded myself that there were people praying for my safe journey, that spending my summer in NJ was something I wanted to do since March, that life is outside our total control and we can only do the best we can at any given moment, that I was safe and all was well.
My body knows how to do anxiety. It is a habit. However, I set my intention clearly and then took action, believing that God always has my best interest at heart. Then, whatever the outcome is, I purpose to chose to be content. That does not mean that I don’t experience all the human emotions, including panic, but I don’t let them derail me. In hindsight, I realize that allowing myself to be okay with the anxiety I was feeling and other discomforting thoughts was the biggest shift I made. Being able to consciously interrupt those thoughts with verbalizations of fact and thoughts of my interactions with my loved ones was very helpful in changing that pattern of panic.
Just so you know, this story ended very well. Thursday was an amazing day. My meeting was great and it was a good thing I was there because a few other board members were not able to make it. One lady loved my goal journal so much she bought one on the spot, and I got a bulk order request. My drive to NJ was very smooth and enjoyable. I made it in good time to get some sleep and get to my nephew’s graduation the following morning. All with no anxiety.
But the moral of this story is not in the ending; it was in the journey. Like life, it is ALL in the journey. It is in how we choose to react in any given moment. Funnily enough, I’ll close this post with a quote from Viktor Frankl. It was his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, which was my companion for part of my drive to NJ. Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and spent time in four different holocaust camps. Many of the words in his book struck a cord with me, but these fit this post best: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”