Achieving full integration of your mind, body, and spirit is a human-centered holistic approach to a quality of living that is rapidly emerging around the world. In the United States, you have to be living under a rock to avoid hearing the latest buzz words: self-help, well-being, self-care, or any form of meditation practice. As hip and new as it may seem, they are essential vehicles for understanding self and navigating the world around you.
When these three aspects of yourself are not aligned, you become flustered and everything seems out of sync. I once heard the greatest distance you will ever travel is what you say in your head and what you know in your heart. I would add that this feeling of disconnect is your souls way of telling you that your mind and heart are not in equilibrium. An absolute state of well-being occurs when what you think, say, feel, and experience are congruent with each other…no matter what is occurring in the external world. This can be difficult when we live in a world that offers many external vices and pleasures that trick us into thinking we are happy. We enjoy those small moments of contentment and build our lives around them trying to achieve more of that happiness through external measures.
When life will gives you an experience that challenges this “happiness mirage”, instead of embracing challenges from a deeper level, we think increasing the consumption of our external measure of happiness and quality of life will carry us through. We know these external definitions of happiness are not sustainable yet we continue to dive head first into our own despair and sorrow. It becomes a vicious cycle where we feel the carousel that is our life never stops turning even though we know we have the power to end it. We see the switch and it is within our reach…but there is an invisible force field that we can’t break free from. There are many words that come to mind when trying to describe this experience. Most people would use the term anxiety to describe the emotion outlined above…but I take issue with the way we conceptualize and use that word.
Merriam-Webster defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome” or “a desire to do something”. Given that most basic definition, it seems the way we understand and response to our uneasiness is that it is abnormal and something to erase. Sometimes our brains are not our friend. Our brain negatively reacts to hearing, seeing, or reading the words or actions of another human being. This process is so insidious and happens at the speed of light making it entirely possible to misread conversations and information. Most of this occurs at a subconscious level, allowing the perfect breeding grounds for biased assumptions, confirmation bias, and misunderstandings of a person or social interaction. In this context, your brain is in overdrive trying to process everything which leads to anxiety. Your heart, mind, and soul are not speaking to each other. How do you break this cycle? How do you hold yourself accountable to the energy that follows you?
Most people understand what is meant when you hear people ask you, “What does your gut instinct tell you”? Your intuition is the communication channel between your soul, mind, and heart. It’s the voice inside your body that speaks to you. It’s the part of yourself that whispers, “yes do/say that” or “that is not true, why did you say that”? It’s the part of you that senses danger or rewards in any given situation. This voice is always there in every dimension of your existence. When you wake up, the thoughts that run through your head, the emotions you feel, the decisions you make, and even when you sleep at night. You are not your thoughts or emotions, but your awareness of them. You are not the movie that is playing in your head, but the director who sits in the audience observing the film. It becomes of vital importance to define your happiness internally and not be defined by any external measure, experience, or person.
As an empath, I can literally feel the energies of others. Their psychic energy that comes from the mind, emotional energy that comes from the heart, and their spiritual energy that comes from the soul. When individuals experience and share their social anxiety we frame it from a deficit perspective, that it isn’t normal, or we are inadequate and not like others. We are shamed into silence. The way people respond to someone who shares their anxiety can make the person feel like a monster…someone to avoid at all costs. We attribute this “condition” as something wrong with the individual while never taking a step back to reflect on how our collective environment or lifestyle may contribute to this disconnect. The environment that we live in can have equal amounts of impact, both good and bad, compared to our individualism we bring to the table. Sometimes we over attribute individual behavior as a character flaw or personality trait and underscore the impact our environment can have on individual well-being.
I view the concept of anxiety as the conduit between what my empathic abilities are telling me versus how people present themselves; anxiety comes if there’s any disconnect or incongruence. I not only hear what you say to me, but I can feel the emotional energy behind your every word and action. I hear you on a verbal and nonverbal communicative way, but I also feel the psychic and emotional energy behind your bodily presence that you bring into the physical space. It’s almost as if I step into your body and feel every emotion, hear every thought, and understand your unique worldview. I am not making assumptions or judgments of what my radical empathy for you is telling me…I can simply feel your bodily energies as if they were my own.
What if the way we currently understand and classify as “anxiety” is simply an emerging source of knowledge and awareness of how we respond, interact, and understand human beings: the next phase of human evolution? What if “anxiety” is the entry point of a different connection to the world and everything in it….a much deeper knowledge and wisdom that can allow people to be seen, heard, and understood? There is so much division and misunderstanding present in the world, so what if anxiety is the catalyst in helping us to collectively transcend human boundaries and toxic outdated approaches to making connections as we know them?
Currently, the way we understand the concept of anxiety is prescriptive…another way we label or diagnose a human condition. I’ve struggled with anxiety much of my life and continue to have conversations with individuals who struggle with it as well. At the most basic level, anxiety is what happens when our perceptions of how things should be are inconsistent with how they currently are. The emotional turmoil between our mind, heart, body, and soul fills us with anxiety. It’s important to maintain self awareness through self care practices in order to recalibrate your being in the world. You never truly have complete control over anything in life, anxiety included.
When we interact with other human beings there is an inevitable energy exchange. Every single person walks around with a completely different worldview, set of emotions, and state of being….a reality that may be completely different from your own. During this energy exchange we may encounter information or ways of life that dramatically contradict what you are accustomed to. We have two choices when this happens: respond with fear or love. These moments of acute anxiety will culminate into something larger if you respond in fear which doesn’t allow you to understand, validate and love others…because you do not love or understand yourself. We have to let our interactions and relationships with people become our mirror for understanding ourselves. That is the only way we can survive in a world full of people who seem to be in a constant shouting match between who is more “right”.
Everybody needs love and validation. The problem is we externally search for self-acceptance and relentlessly define ourselves by our job, career, house, family, money, or sex. Those are all expendable sources of happiness and when they run out our dark side of humanity shines through. We have to develop a rich internal life and that starts with radical self love and healing within yourself. It starts with understanding that you are not your trauma, but your awareness and reaction to it. The ultimate power available to every human being is to hold your demons at arms length and believing with every ounce of your being that you are not them. To believe in yourself with enough gusto and courage that will carry you through any experience life throws at you. Once you begin this process you quit absorbing the energies, frequencies, and vibrations of the world and instead create the reality you want to see in the world. A shift happens within your being and all living things feel the compassion and empathy you have for yourself. For compassion for others without compassion for yourself is not real compassion at all.
You become a person who radiates love and tranquility; people can feel your presence from a mile and way and it is infectious! You literally feel like pure ecstasy and bliss around them. You feel like the sun that radiates all the energy you could ever need in this lifetime. The key to sustaining this state of being is rooted in your self care routine: aligning your heart, mind, body, and spirit to weather any storms life may bring you. What is your self-care practice? Please share below.