Posted in Being Human, Healing, mental illness, Spiritual Practices, Truth

Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks

What if anxiety, depression and panic attacks are not pathologies, something wrong with us that needs to be treated medically, but instead, is our Truth, our Soul, trying to WAKE US UP?  Exploring the spiritual meaning behind depression, anxiety and panic attacks along with effective means for moving through the symptoms through attentive presence. Healing that is at once holistic, enduring and FREE. 

A Bold Proposal

Bill Plotkin, in his latest book, Wild Mind, makes a bold proposal:

“. . . many of the behavioral patterns that mainstream psychology labels as psychopathologies . . . are not necessarily problems in themselves. . . What if most actual pathologies are primarily symptoms of underdeveloped psychological resources – inborn capacities of the Self that await cultivation within everyone?  Psychological symptoms may best be relieved not by directly trying to eradicate them, impede them, or mask them but rather by developing our innate resources, the unavailability of which may be the primary reason these symptoms appear in the first place.  Perhaps we exhibit psychological symptoms not so much because we’re dis-ordered but because we’re deficient in our embodiment of wellness, health or wholeness. (pp. 4-5)”

In Bill’s proposal, he gives voice to the theory that has been formulating in my own mind in the nearly twenty years that I have accompanied individuals and groups through the ministry of Spiritual Direction and in the forty-eight years that I have accompanied myself in this journey.  What I have observed and come to believe is that what is experienced in the way of psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, panic attack, etc.) is quite often our TRUTH, our highest Self, our SOUL, trying to be made known.  I have also seen that the degree of discomfort in symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attack, etc. seems to be proportionate to how hard we have worked to SUPPRESS, DENY, IGNORE, REPRESS, RESIST and SILENCE our truth.

Lauri Lumby supports you in hearing the voice of your truth and heeding the longing of your Soul.  To schedule a one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Sleeplessness, Worry

In Western medicine and psychology, symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attack, sleeplessness and worry are considered to be consistent with mental illness and treated through medical intervention and therapy.  Whereas there are certainly cases in which medical intervention and therapy are both helpful and necessary, it has been interesting to observe both within myself and in working with clients the profound way in which identifying and naming our TRUTH alleviates the symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, sleeplessness and worry while producing healing that is enduring and FREE.  It is almost as if the symptom (anxiety, for example) is simply there as a flag waving, trying to get us to pay attention to the deeper inner truths that seek to be known.  Once these truths are acknowledged, the symptom subsides because the flag no longer needs to be waved.

Conditioning and Instinct

Sometimes life happens, and when it does experiences of sadness, worry, doubt, fear, etc. show up.  Our culture, however, tells us we can be none of these, so we judge these feelings as “bad” and know that if we want to continue to be loved and accepted, we’d better find a way to get rid of these “bad” feelings.  Our instinctual nature supports this by telling us to avoid pain, that pain is bad and that we need to get rid of or at least get away from it.  As such, our conditioned and instinctual response to anxiety, depression, panic attack, etc. is to seek a way to GET RID OF IT  or at the very least, to GET AWAY FROM IT.  The most effective method I have seen in moving through symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic attack, sleeplessness and worry, however, is at once counter-cultural and counter-intuitive.  Instead of getting rid of or getting away from the “pain,” we invite it in and we draw it toward us.

Lauri Lumby supports you in hearing the voice of your truth and heeding the longing of your Soul.  To schedule a one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

A New Prescription for Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attack, etc.

The new prescription for symptoms of what might traditionally called pathology, involves becoming radically present to these feelings instead of following our instinctual or cultural conditioning which would tell us to push it away.  This new prescription involves RADICAL ACCEPTANCE.  Instead of judging our anxiety as “bad,” we accept it.  We allow ourselves to stop running from it and create a space where we can be present to it.  We SIT with the anxiety.  We FEEL the anxiety.  We BREATHE in the anxiety.  And then, WE LISTEN.  LISTENING, then, becomes the most important step in this process because more often than not, the anxiety is there because IT HAS SOMETHING TO TELL US.  The anxiety, like a waving flag, is there as a symptom of something deeper that wants to be known.  Perhaps there is a grief that wants to be released.  Maybe where we are going is not reflective of our Soul’s calling or our highest truth.  Perhaps there is a creative project that Soul longs for us to accomplish and we are resisting the call of the soul.  Maybe underneath the anxiety is years of built up resentment over needs not being met or the awareness that the relationship you are in is unhealthy and damaging to your soul.  In stopping and listening to our symptoms, we no longer need to get rid of them, because we are allowing them to TELL US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.  Once we hear, see, understand, comprehend, realize, know the truth beneath the symptoms, the symptoms are no longer necessary and simply depart on their own.  The most amazing thing about this process is that it proves the saying, “what we resist persists.”  The harder we work at ignoring or denying our deeper inner truths and the longings of the soul, the harder they work to get our attention which manifests as an increased severity, frequency and duration of the unpleasant symptoms.  When we give our truth the attention it deserves, not only do the immediate symptoms subside, but the frequency and duration of these symptoms decreases, eventually to the point where they are no longer necessary. Even greater than the subsiding and healing of the unpleasant symptoms, however, is the fulfillment and joy that comes in allowing our SOUL to be known and the liberation that comes in living our TRUTH.

Lauri Lumby supports you in hearing the voice of your truth and heeding the longing of your Soul.  To schedule a one-on-one session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Healing, mental illness, Spiritual Practices

A Surprising Treatment for Depression

Today’s blog explores a surprising and unexpected natural treatment for depression.  Who knew it could be something this simple!

Too Much Time on Our Hands

Today I am taking off my “teacher” hat and putting on my “I too struggle with depression” hat so that I can share with you a surprising treatment that I discovered for one of the common symptoms of depression – obsessive thought patterns and the resulting downward spiral into darkness.  As anyone who struggles with depression would attest, one of the worst possible things we could face is TOO MUCH TIME ON OUR HANDS.  I don’t know how it is for you, but for me, when I am too much alone, especially too much alone with my thoughts, things can get ugly.  One of the rarely mentioned side-effects or companions to depression is obsessive thought patterns.  Obsessive thought patterns might manifest as worry or anticipatory planning.  For others, the obsessive thought patterns have to do with grabbing on to the slightest perceived injury  that might signal rejection.  For those who struggle with depression, these tiniest little slights become fodder for an inactive mind.  We grab them, draw them near, then think, re-think, ponder, obsess, create stories, imagine scenarios, and prepare for our own apocalyptic demise or hope for the apocalyptic demise of the one who “harmed” us.  Then, we internalize, nurture, cultivate thoughts of self-loathing and self-rejection to match the loathing and rejection we are sure we have received from the other person.  I have come to not so affectionately call these thought patterns, “The dark thoughts in my mind.”   Sounds like fun, right?!  WRONG!  The funny thing is that for those of us who struggle with depression, until we learn otherwise, we think that this is the way everyone’s brains work and we consider it to be normal.    I was shocked to learn that this is NOT how other people’s brains work. While Lexapro provided temporary relief of these symptoms, the side-effects eventually became too much and at the same time, the medication lost its effectiveness.  So, I have been working drug-free to manage these symptoms.  Practicing yoga, engaging in my spiritual practice, nurturing my creativity and sharing my creative gifts in the world have all been supportive measures for managing my depression.  Even with all of this, however, the depression still haunted me, in some form or another, pretty much on a daily basis.  Then I found a surprising treatment method that has not only kept the depression at bay, but seems to have quieted the obsessive thought patterns if not altogether, at least by 85%.  What a relief.  And who knew it would be so easy.

Getting a “real” Job.

Spiritual Direction, Teaching, Writing all amount to a “real job?”  Right?  From the perspective of value, worth, purpose….Absolutely.  But….not if they don’t pay the bills.  And it was the “paying the bills” part that I finally had to face.  So…..five weeks ago, I started a “real job,” cashiering for minimum wage at a local garden center.  I go in.  I do my job.  I go home.  No personal responsibility.  Nothing to have to  fix or reform.  No one to manage, supervise, guide or direct.  And the surprising fringe benefit to this job:  NO MORE OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS.  Getting a real job has provided for me a surprising treatment for my depression…..and I sense it might provide the same benefit for others.  I can’t be depressed when I’m in the public eye.  I have no option but to be in the present moment…because there is nothing else to do there.  I get to engage with mostly friendly and kind people.  I am surrounded by beautiful things.  And, I’m too dang busy to think about anything other than what I am doing.  Then, when I go home to my other “real job”  I’m uber efficient and am accomplishing more in a very little amount of time than I would have ever accomplished before getting this job.  Yes, it is a challenge to juggle the job with clients, classes, writing, the kids, the house, paperwork, friends, etc.  But….somehow what NEEDS to get done is getting done.  The rest, I’ve decided, can wait.

In a Nutshell

So, in a nutshell….the surprising treatment for depression is work – work that keeps us busy.  Work that keeps us engaging with other people.  Work that may be rewarding in its own way.  Most importantly – work that keeps us out of the dark places in our minds.   So even when my novel becomes a best seller….I just might keep this job….if for no other reason than to maintain my sanity.  🙂  Hi Ho  Hi Ho It’s Off to Work I Go.  🙂

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Surrender

Giving it Back to God – the fine art of surrender

Today I will be discussing the invitation to surrender and the graces that come with engaging in this practice. 

http://wak-art.com

Before I start today’s blog, I am inviting the help of my blog readers.  Part of strategic marketing plan includes the goal of 200 blog subscribers by November 1st!  To achieve this goal, I need your help.  You have started by subscribing.  Now, I invite you to take one more step – SHARE THIS BLOG with someone you think might find this helpful, informative, inspirational, etc.  Share it with your social networking friends, family, co-workers.  AND….invite them to subscribe.  I’m only 150 subscribers away from my goal….YOU CAN HELP!  Thank you!

 

Now….for the real blog……This morning as I was engaged in my daily meditation practice, I was invited into a new spiritual practice – a practice that is not foreign, or unknown to me  but not where Spirit regularly leads me.  The practice?   SURRENDERI was invited to visualize, one-by-one, everything in my life that is currently causing me anxiety, worry, stress, anger, frustration, impatience, sorrow, etc.   I was then invited to imagine myself taking each item into my hands and reaching my hands to the heavens, I was invited to give each item, one-by-one into the hands of God. 

 

As you can imagine, being smack dab in the middle of a divorce, there are A LOT of things to put into God’s hands.  As I sat with this invitation, I saw all the current worries and concerns, like a parade, line up in front of me:  financing on a house, waiting for news on the offer I put in on a house, my kids and their grieving process, my own grief, trying to maintain an amicable relationship with my soon to be ex-husband, money, remodeling projects in the house I’m trying to buy, healthcare, insurance, taxes, etc. etc. etc.  And to add insult to injury…..life does not stop just because you are getting a divorce….so, add to the list the everyday things like paying bills, feeding the family, laundry, kids’ activities, work, my husband’s travel, ailing and aging parents, sisters getting married, etc. etc. etc.    The line of worries in front of me seemed to be endless.  However, I accepted the invitation to take each one of those worries into my hands, then lifted them up to the heavens and visualized the loving hands of God reaching down and taking them from me – one by one.  The amazing thing, is that I actually started feeling better.  I had a sense of relief as I let go of each of these concerns and I felt lighter, less burdened, more free.  A peaceful calm began to fill those places within that I had previously filled with my worry.  Giving it back to God gave me peace, relief and I found I could relax more fully into the busy day ahead.

Surrender is a spiritual practice espoused in every spiritual tradition and emphasized in recovery and grief work.  In the practice of surrender, we (in theistic terms) LET GO AND LET GOD or more simply put….we get the heck out of the way so that the peace and contentment that is our original nature can find its way into our life.  When we cling to our worries, anxieties, frustrations, resentments, etc. there is no room for the peace that is our truest nature to be experienced or for the healing we need in our grief, frustration or impatience to take place.  If we wish to be restored to this place of peaceful contentment, the only way there is to surrender and in that surrender, to trust that there is a Divine Source of healing that can handle all the worry we throw at them! 

So, my invitation for you today is to invite the spiritual practice of surrender into your own life:

  • What are your current sources of worry, anxiety, frustration, sorrow, grief, anger, etc.
  • Take each of those items into your hands one by one
  • One by one, give each of those items to God
  • Allow yourself to experience the peace and freedom of surrender!

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com