Once in a Blue Moon

For the past few years I’ve lived mostly anxiety-free, but once in a while, or rather once in a blue moon (quite literally), it comes back strong. With some self-awareness, we can see how the moon's cycles mirror our human emotions. So, when a full moon arrives it often brings up feelings with full force! It may be a time of release, a time that wounds resurface, or a turning point, but in essence, it can make us feel uneasy. Maybe you noticed the kids getting a little more rambunctious, the hospital rooms may become busier, and you may have felt a little added edge to your reactions to other people. Of course it's possible you didn’t feel anything spectacular with the moon this week, so for the next full moon on 3/1/18, see if you notice any shifts in your emotions. This week, I felt a tumultuous rush of anxiety the two days leading up to the super blue blood moon on Wednesday. In addition to having a resurfacing of buried angst, all week I’ve had persistent indigestion, which is also a very rare occurrence. When my morning oatmeal was giving me heartburn, I knew there was a larger force at play.

Our body has an intricate energy system. It's like an unseen web around us of highly intelligent information regarding the world. It’s how we process emotions, how we interact with others, and how we react to or carry trauma, memories, loss or joy. It designs what we experience physically, and it is the belief in Energy Medicine that whatever you may be experiencing physically, has already been in your energy system for days, months, maybe years, or even lifetimes prior.  So when persistent indigestion hit me this week, I paused, even in a moon-crazed panic, and knew what was happening. There is a point right below the sternum that is indicated as our “fire” point in Energy Medicine Yoga. It corresponds to different energy meridians, but also directly correlates to two main emotions: Inspiration/Joy and Anxiety. It’s where you feel that butterfly feeling when you get excited about a new romance, job, or trip...and also, where you feel the knot in your stomach, the indigestion, and nausea when you feel anxious.

I have become very in-tune with my fire point the past couple years, and although this may sound bizarre, a response I often experienced to anxiety was dry-heaving. In 2012 when I moved to Tulsa for Teach for America, I remember walking through the airport with a massive suitcase and dry-heaving the entire way through security and baggage check. I can laugh about it now, but in the moment, I was in disbelief that my body was having such a blatant physical response to an emotion! Imagine going to shake your boss’s hand for the first time while simultaneously fighting the urge to gag. I feel like that would be the perfect SNL skit: “Anxious Al: the girl who gags when nervous.” Luckily, that doesn't happen anymore, but this week, indigestion was the marker for anxiety returning to my life.

Anxiety, old friend, you’ve snuck up on me again. Like a balloon floating free in the sky, my mind can just drift away into the expansive abyss of thought. Always consumed with what was, or what will be; never tethered to the ground with what IS. When we become overtaken by our thoughts, we lose sight of what’s around us and miss connections with other people, with nature, and with the energy of the universe. This is the monkey mind at play and we all experience it in different ways. This is the floating away that occurs when you are driving and get absolutely lost in thought and miss your exit. It's when you walk into a room and forget what you went in there for. It's the times you leave the house, but shortly return because you can’t remember if you locked the door. These careless and mindless actions are always a sign to myself that I am not grounded, and my mind has wandered off; away from where I am right in this moment.

The plus side of an anxiety trip for me is while I drift away in thoughts, I tend to get fairly deep, contemplative, and come up with some poetry to soothe my soul. Here's what surfaced this week:

Roots of a Garden:

Mostly unseen, buried deep beneath the earth, spread the roots of the living. Protected from trampling and bulldozing, a web of life continually expands and grows below. This is the faith we must have, an ever-growing, expansive and searching, web of life. Safe, protected, and deep within our core. Then, flowers and greenery can bloom around us in the physical world, even in chaos, for us and all to see.

This is an analogy for how I see life, how time passes, and how the foundation we build on a daily basis is paramount to our stability. It's the trust of what is unseen, of a higher power, and the energy system that protects us and in my opinion, is just as important to care for as your physical body. So, when the old wounds, skeletons, demons, and whatever other clever names we’ve adapted, resurface--it’s okay. It's the manure that helps us flourish. We can return from that spiral of emotion, land safely on the earth, and keep our roots planted. My blue moon this week reminded me of what was once a daily occurrence for me--panic, discomfort, and life as Anxious Al. Because once in a blue moon, we all feel the need to purge, to shine light on what's been buried, and let go of the old to feel reborn. 

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