Since we have moved into a new year, I find myself holding onto moments. Moments of calm, moments of a quiet mind, moments of pure non anxious bliss. So forgive me for the delay in coming back to the blog, but I, have been in a tranquil state of mind, that I have never, known before.
Something struck a cord in me, with that powerful speech from Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes, so powerful, so inspiring for women. When she said “women must speak their truth, that is their power“, I realised, in one sentence, how much I silence my own truth. Out of shame, out of embarrassment and just plain not wanting people to know. But perhaps, this truth, this uncomfortability is where we should be thriving and sharing. Telling our stories and passions and releasing the shame and worry from it all.
For those of you who might not be aware, I have suffered from Generalised Anxiety Disorder for most of my adult life. I get up and get on with it, but those close to me will know, that sometimes, the bad days are really bad and being able to drag yourself out of it, is not always as easy as it seems.
Anxiety then, a crippling dark fog that sucks the life from your soul, makes you second guess your every thought and movement, not to mention undermining every decision made and distorts every conversation and thought in ones mind. It’s a myriad of shit that needs to be navigated through on a daily basis. It’s like having hundreds of televisions blaring different channels, all at the same time and in your head, you beg for the silence. You want the noise to stop but you can’t, you can’t stop the noise and so, living with it is the only option.
I have read countless books on Anxiety, attended many a course;CBT, Hypnotherapy, Mediation as well as others, but nothing made the noise stop. I could dumb the noise down slightly but it would never go away. And in times of change, I also couldn’t handle things changing. Simple things like meeting a friend at 5 that turns to 7 could cause an almighty breakdown. Or tidying up the house would trigger old OCD behaviours. Not because I’m mental, but because my brain and it’s limbic system could not handle the last minute changes. It is jumping on the fight or flight bandwagon every opportunity it gets. It needs order, set times – change makes anxious people feel uneasy. It’s like having to reprogram ‘my everything’ in life each time there is a change. And we all know how impossible that would be, as life throws us curveballs at every opportunity.
So how then, do people with anxiety even get out of bed and function on a day to day basis? You know I have asked myself this exact question on so, so, so many occasions. We forget, we anxious folk, that we have strengths, resilience, and that despite what our thoughts tell us, we are worth it and we can handle it.
So then, this next sentence may come as a surprise, and believe me, no one is more surprised than myself, but my anxiety, that noise I was referring to earlier. Has gone.
Yes, for the first time in my adult life, I can sit in silence, relax, a feeling I have never known. I can think about things logically and not need to fight through the shrubbery or anxious bullshit in ones mind – it has been cleared out. The mind gardener popped round before Christmas and got shot of the lot of it. It’s quite unbelievable, and if I’m honest, each night I have gone to sleep, I almost feel it is too good to be true, to put my head on the pillow, close my eyes, and go to sleep. Madness really considering ten years ago, I suffered so badly from insomnia I barely slept for years. I do worry that I will wake up and the mind chaos will be back, but so far so good, it has not returned. I am now on my fourth week of quiet mind bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I still have moments of anxiety, but I have been given the tools to eradicate it as it happens. I am now equipped and ready for what is thrown at me.
You are probably wondering how I have managed to shake off this anxiety that has clung to me for years. Or how I managed to find peace in my mind and silence it’s noise for the first time in twenty years. And the truth is, I was invited along to a course run by the Art of Living, with the title, the Happiness Course. Having attended similar sort of courses previously, I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting much – breathing techniques, maybe some yoga, the usual things you would expect on this type of course. And it was in London, which meant I had to travel up each evening after work, attend the course and come home again, quite the journey for me who lives by the sea. Alas, something deep inside of me urged me to do this journey each night. And off I went.
The Art of Living Happiness Course follows the beliefs and teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. A man who has dedicated his life to happiness and peace. His belief is that global change starts with the change within. That we cannot expect global peace until we are at peace with ourselves. That was the point I learned that the change would be within ourselves, and we would be responsible for that change. It’s not magic, it takes work and dedication. We needed to form a habit. Dedicate the time to this new way of life.
It turns out breathing can cure a lot of things, and having attended so many yoga classes and mediation classes, I assumed I had my breathing down. Turns out not. We all breathe wrong. And throughout the journey of the three days, we learned how to breathe, in rhythms, in healing, in tackling anxiety. And after the first night, I was dumbfounded by the silence in my brain. I could have cried with joy. It is almost as though this is what my mind had been waiting for. This was its answer.
I soon began to realise in this course, something was different. The context, the people, the stories. The truths. It’s like someone gave me all of life’s answers that I had been searching for, in three evenings. I learned about myself, I learned about others. What started as an awkward introductory evening on that Monday left me feeling like I had met a new family by the Wednesday.
There is so much more I could write about the Happiness Course, and I will, dedicate a full post to its benefits once I have completed a little more of my Kriya. It takes 40 days to enforce a habit and I am almost at the end of my 40 days. I have a follow up session to attend at the end of January, and I am really excited about what the future holds for me with a quiet mind.
The Art of Living Happiness Course currently have an introductory offer which gives you £108 off the cost of the regular fee using code QCJY33ZH8. I cannot promise you will have the same life altering changes as I have, but, if you suffer from anxiety or depression, then this is one course I would be giving a try. What have you got to loose?
This is NOT a sponsored post.