My body took me on a wild ride a few months before everything in my life spun out of control. I was dreaming that I was very very dizzy. Tilt-a-whirl dizzy.
I woke up (at least I thought I woke up) and I was still dizzy. Merry-go-round dizzy. I decided to stand up to see if I really was awake. I carefully rolled over the edge of the bed and planted my feet on the floor. Still dizzy. I stood up and nearly fell right back into bed. Then I found the wall and slowly made my way around the edges of my room until I found the doorway. I really had to pee and I wasn’t sure if I would make it all the way to the bathroom before I fell over. I could not walk straight or even "gayly forward" (as my friends like to say). I did finally make it to the bathroom but I had to hold onto the toilet for dear life. I was definitely awake now.
I slowly made my way to the living room where I proceeded to curl up in a tight ball on the floor. Not the fetal position because even that didn’t help. I could only be on my knees with my arms around my head to block out any view of the outside world. In that position, the world stopped whirling around me. I expected the whirling to let up, but as dawn approached, I was still on the living room floor so I gave in and called the doctor.
It turns out I had vertigo. It also turns out that vertigo is actually different than dizziness. In fact, the medicine for vertigo causes dizziness. I decided to take my chances without it. The vertigo gave me a break after a few days but it didn’t go away and I still “go for a ride” occasionally even though it is several years later. Now it doesn’t freak me out.
I found that if I go with the twirling whirling feeling, it is actually kind of fun.
It also turns out that the vertigo signaled an impending upheaval of my entire life. A few short months after my first big bout of vertigo, I quit my job. A few months after that I started the divorce process and moved back home to Montana. I had been living in Kentucky because that’s where my husband got a job. While it had some definite upsides (like an awesome music scene), it was not my place.
I have learned to pay attention to my body and my mind.
Since that time I have learned that, if I am paying attention, my body tells me things about the rest of my life. I had not been listening to mine. I was miserable. I was crying most days and living with an unacceptable level of anxiety every day. I did not feel comfortable in my own body or my own mind. I knew things were not right, but I had not yet learned that resisting change and ignoring my own needs and desires was a recipe for ill health. In my mind the mental and the physical were separate.
I have also learned that my body gives me signals in other ways. Tingles, pressure changes in my head, the creepy crawly feeling, the gut feeling, joy, and bliss. These are cues to subtle energy changes around me. They give me information about what’s happening in the room and what my true feelings are. If I say yes to something, but my stomach hurts, there is a good chance that I really want to say no. If I experience unexpected bliss, I then become aware of the things that make me really come alive and I turn toward those things.
Bliss, joy, and flow are no longer things I have to earn - instead, these states of being are guides for my life choices.
I have also learned to pay attention to things around me. Wildlife, songs on the radio, books that find their way into my hands, seemingly random comments by strangers, and repeated feedback from the people in my life have all become clues to which direction I should go next. I especially pay attention when something doesn’t go right. Rightness is my judgment and I am often shown that an unexpected change in plans can turn out even better than I planned. This practice of observing the world around me has been one of the main strategies for letting go of anxiety. What have you observed about your world today?
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