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“Leave it,” my friend says to her dog over and over as we walk. Because the dog picks up a scent, or hears something running in the woods nearby, or just wants to follow any old urge to take off running in the direction of something enticing.

“Leave it,” my Friend says to me over and over. Because I, too, am picking up scents all around me that I want to chase – like the worry over this or the habit of thinking along these lines. Temptation to chase my way down a thought path I’ve been on again and again that’s never gotten me anywhere but that I’ve gotten so used to following, I barely even notice it’s what I’m thinking about.

And my Friend knows full well that for me to CHOOSE to give in to this particular temptation means I’m getting off MY path, and am I really willing to keep making that choice?

So as we’re becoming more and more aware of how our thoughts impact, and even create, the experience of our lives . . . “leave it” – two little words to remind you in each moment that YOU get to make that choice. And that you get to make it repeatedly until a new habit is created and you don’t (sigh of relief) have to chase those things around anymore. Phew.

Off to tai chi class I go, not knowing that I am about to take away something completely unexpected. Yes, I’ll be learning a form that I have wanted to learn for a really long time, and I’m eager for the experience, but what I don’t know is that my teacher will say, on day one, in our very first interaction, something so simple that he’s said a thousand times before, that I’ll take away and manage to turn into my very own practice.

My tai chi teacher comes over to me, the beginning student. Holds the fingertips of my hand up to cue me to let my elbow and shoulder drop.

“Relax,” he says.
I am, I think, and try to relax, but he sees through it.

“Relax more,” he says.
I think I am. Could it be that I don’t know what it feels like to relax, not really?

“Relax more.”
Finally I feel the tension release from my upper body, and my shoulder drops.
He smiles knowingly.
I think I’ve mastered relaxation.

[continue reading…]

Anxiety and the Dreaded In-Crisis ModeIwent to the ER during my first panic attack. Yep, picked the sleeping baby up out of his crib, strapped him into his car seat and my husband drove us there. Because, of course, I thought I was dying. It might be nice to say that I haven’t been there for a panic attack since, but I have. Several times. And then for me, panic ended up looking like countless appointments, tests, doctors, xrays, a surgery even. Because – panic doesn’t always look the same. And it moves around, the bugger, so it’s sneaky and it’s hard to figure out – always, always to figure out what’s real and what isn’t.
[continue reading…]

Because I’m incorporating art making as a daily practice this October, I was eager to find this list I wrote in my journal the last time I was doing a daily art challenge. Dare I admit that it was in June 2015 and that I stuck with it for three whole days? Well, even that is part of the process, I remind myself.

24 life lessons learned through art: [continue reading…]

A Very Brief Look at My Anxiety Journey and Why I’m Doing What I Do
Pandora’s box swung wide open on the night I had my first panic attack, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could just not stuff back in what had come up for me.

What on earth was going on with me? I had no idea at all. I was 30 years old with a one-year old baby and was the happiest I’d ever been in my life.
[continue reading…]

I wonder . . . what DO they hope to achieve,
leaping around at the tippy top of the tallest trees in our yard?

Are they
practicing?
showing off?
playing?
pushing themselves to the very limit of what they are capable of?

Well they certainly aren’t quivering on the ground, or filled with fear up there at the possibility that they’ll leap and plunge to their death. In fact, nothing in them says that this is even a possibility. In their minds it isn’t, and so – in reality it isn’t. [continue reading…]

centering prayer

Have you heard of Centering Prayer? I hadn’t either, but I’m so glad it finally came into my life. All those years, attempting meditation practices, and it just never felt right to me. I always felt like I was attempting to connect to self more than anything else, and it felt empty to me. This is a completely personal thing, the type of meditation you choose. There’s no question that meditation, in any form, has innumerable benefits. For me, it’s Centering Prayer. Hands down, it has got to be one of the most powerful practices there is. Funny thing about this “powerful” practice? It’s all about surrender.
[continue reading…]

eating mindfully

Digestive issues can be incredibly complex. Advice abounds. I never actually had troubles with this, though, until after I began having anxiety on a large scale, over a decade ago. I’ve certainly learned a lot in the years since, one thing being that stress wreaks havoc on the tummy. Actually, it completely halts digestion in its tracks. It was a long time before I learned this though, and by this time, I had had years of experimenting with elimination diets and being this-free and that-free. Finally, I began to wonder:

Could this be less about WHAT I’m eating
and more about HOW I’m eating?

[continue reading…]

“Do you really think he does that,” my husband asked at the end of the interview, knowing perfectly well that if I am actually perking up and listening to an interview on the golf channel, of all channels – it’s got to have some sort of non-golf related lesson. Life lessons learned from . . . the golf channel?? I know.

“What did you change?,” the announcer asked. “How is your game improving so drastically?”

We wait to hear the golfer’s answer of hard-earned wisdom, the swing keys he’s developed, the pre-shot routine, yeah, I know the lingo. The golf channel is on a LOT in my house.

Without skipping a beat, the golfer surprises me by saying something along these lines:   [continue reading…]

I once had a coach tell me that 95% of the people she works with don’t take action. That figure is simply staggering to me. I’d like to pretend it couldn’t be true, but I know it is.

I always believe, though, that it’s possible to be doing things in a whole different way.

It doesn’t take a lot of paying attention to notice how often we, and the people around us, can be heard saying, “I want to (fill in the blank).” We could start feeling sort of, or COMPLETELY, irritated with hearing ourselves say this same thing over and over and over again, sometimes for years, even decades. It can be disenchanting to think of us all, with these dreams, big and little, bubbling up inside of us, and here we go about our days, stuffing them back down. No, no, you can’t come up, I’m living here, don’t you see. And all those dreams are trying to do is bring you calm, to help you be more of who you really are.  [continue reading…]

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