Let’s say it’s the middle of the night. The middle of the night when the heart races and darkness descends on your mind like a speeding cloud, a train of disaster, a bullet of fear. Driving full force into your heart carrying all your worries and stress and chatter like it’s cargo that actually matters.
I have heard Wayne Dyer say that when this happens, to turn on the light.
Literally. And figuratively.
Turn. On. The. Light.
I woke up in a panic recently in the middle of the night. I got up and flipped on a lamp and shined a light on my thoughts.
I decided to write.
Why not? I was lying in bed, heart racing, thought after thought after thought fighting for attention.
I wrote a “Dear John” letter to my obsessive thoughts.
Dear Thoughts That Don’t Deserve My Attention,
You are mostly worries about things that haven’t occurred yet and probably never will. You are mostly stories I have made up in my head. You are mostly products of a fearful mind that has been overworking and now has a few moments to lie here in the dark, and you are taking advantage. I am kindly asking you to go away. I do not need you. I have plenty of other thoughts that are kinder and more compassionate. You see, these days, I choose to spend time being inspired. You are not inspiring me. You are causing me anxiety and lack of sleep. I am breaking up with you. And yes, it is my choice. You don’t get to run my show anymore.
What can you do when the darkness descends?
Whether it’s the middle of the night or outside in broad daylight?
1. Come back to your true self. Your “I am-ness.”
For example, I am right now repeating my mantra: I am love. Not “I am fat” or “I am anxious” or “I am scared” or “I am broke.”
Yea, in my living room. Out loud. In the middle of the night. Or very early morning if you want to be picky.
When I am love, I cannot be fearful and worried and scared, and I most certainly cannot be not good enough.
I know how powerful our minds can be. Mine’s one powerful motherf*cker.
I am not sure what caused this recent flurry of worry.
My guess is that it has to do with a lot of the things I have been stuffing down during the day. My subconscious is trying to find a way to work through them.
I have not been meditating lately. By meditating, you teach your mind how to find that beautiful quiet nook where your true self, your I-am-love self, can grow. Where the real you can be free of the tacky costume of your cheap mind-chatter.
Even if it starts with two minutes a day, meditate. Train your mind to fall in love with the spaces in between.
3. Do yoga.
I need yoga. It’s not a choice. Not just for my body but for my mind. Mainly for my mind, actually. To get it to quiet down and connect to my Jen-ness rather than my overwhelmed-ness. My human-ness rather than my unworthy-ness.
4. Write a letter to your obsessive or anxious thoughts.
As I did above.
5. Turn on the lights!
Get out of the dark. Seriously. Get out of bed (literally or figuratively) and go turn on a light.
When I am in my anxious mindstate, I think of some lines from a poem I wrote.
I am the deaf poet.
I hear you
Clamoring up there in your head
Fighting with your own thoughts who
Use swords and knives
And vicious words to win.
Relying on trickery.
Some things will break.
And there will always be a hole
Where the sound of wind passing through
Will be a loud lonely sound
that I alone can hear.
Relying on Trickery. That’s what the darkness does. It tricks us! In our darkness, thoughts use swords and knives and vicious words to win, as I said in the poem.
Turn on the light. Shine a light on your thoughts and see them for what they are. Connect to who you really are.
As for me, who I really am is love.
I am not my obsessive 3:00 a.m. thoughts in the dark. I am love.
I would love to hear if you suffer from anxiety ever and what you do.
Love always, tribe
Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and take one of her yoga classes online at Yogis Anonymous.
Jen will be leading a Manifestation Writing/Yoga® week long retreat in Tuscany July 2013 as well as a writing/yoga retreat with best selling author Emily Rapp (whom TIME magazine voted as having one of the best twenty-five blogs of 2012).
*Image courtesy of Simplereminders.com