Holding my breath
Holding my breath
Looking back over my life I am convinced that I was in anxiousness the moment I was born, but in truth it probably began before the day I arrived in this world.
I was an unexpected baby coming nearly 19 years after my brother, and in the interceding years my mother had experienced recurring bouts of anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, and many other debilitating associated issues. In fact, the year before my birth she had undergone Electroconvulsive Therapy, also known as shock treatment, to heal her mental issues, but looking back I am not too sure if that seemingly barbaric treatment did in fact improve her life – that didn’t happen until the treatment was repeated much later when I was 17.
As a result, my mother had become a worrier of the highest degree, so it was not surprising then that I grew up almost cocooned from the ‘dangers’ of the world around me. I was raised as an ‘only’ child as my brother had already left home, so there was no one to share my fast-growing anxiousness with. I was continually confronted with my mother’s fears – don’t sit in the draught, you’ll get sick; do not do this because that will happen etc.
But as much as I know she loved me dearly and was simply trying to protect me from life as she saw it through her eyes, it felt like she was actually smothering me, not allowing me to experience life for myself.
I can see so clearly now that as I grew, my growing fear of the world overflowed into me holding my breath, holding myself small and insignificant so no one could see me, and so maybe then nothing bad would happen to me.
It did not take too long for me to develop my very own anxiousness. It came in the form of night terrors, the abject fear of someone or something (an energy) being in my room, in the wardrobe or about to come through my bedroom door. I remember laying under the covers night after night trying to not make a sound, holding my breath for what often seemed like forever, and in an absolute cold sweat. I don’t think that my parents really knew what was going on for me, but I do clearly remember a night when I messed the bed – at an age I shouldn’t – as I was too terrified to get up to go to the toilet. I can recall that they blamed it on me being scared by the noise from the neighbours who were having yet another party. I can see how they were grasping at straws.
But of course, not knowing what I was really going through, they had no idea how to support me and as a result these night terrors stayed with me for a very long time, in fact right into my early 20’s. I finally shared this with my mother some years later and when she asked me why I hadn’t told them, I didn’t have an answer. Maybe it was because I felt that they would not believe me – that there was ‘something’ in my room or trying to get into it – that I had imagined it. I know from talking to many others that this was a common scenario in childhood – that is, parents not taking their children’s fears, nightmares and night terrors etc. seriously.
This is not surprising as few of us are raised to understand energy and the presence of disincarnate beings who I now know are there specifically to target children to keep them in fear so they contract from being the naturally amazing, expressive and powerful beings they are.
It took a long time before I truly understood this and when I did, this period of my life suddenly made sense.
Looking back now, I can see that I carried this anxiety with me every day of my life and during different phases it would ramp up in reaction to what was going on around me and for me. It was in full force during a very loveless marriage which I hung on to for way too long – with the help of daily doses of Valium. It reared its head again when I finally stepped away from this relationship and into single parenthood, for 12 years.
There were nights when I would wake up shaking, feeling that I was going to pass out, or even die, while my young children slept soundly in their bedrooms next to mine. I would get up and shaking uncontrollably, I would try to make a strong cup of tea with lots of sugar in it, but once made, I would be lucky to end up with half a cup to drink as the rest would have slopped out of the cup before it reached my lips. I can’t remember talking to anyone about this – once again I do not know why. Maybe I thought I would be judged as being crazy, as at times that is what I felt I was in danger of becoming.
Then the anxiety and the associated tension really went up a notch when as a single mother of teenage children I began to work as a real estate salesperson, while at the same time my beautiful father had disappeared into a very quickly manifesting dementia. It was then the panic attacks began and with each one I really thought I was going to die. I remember having one while I was driving. I went onto autopilot and drove to the nearby shop of someone whose house I was marketing and in the uncontrollable panic I asked him to take me to the doctor – now! I am sure I was given some medication but didn’t take it for long. My best friend became a brown paper bag which was tucked into the compartment of my car door – and I think there was one in my handbag as well.
A few long deep breaths into this bag would slowly start to settle the building panic, but it was only a temporary fix and the anxiety continued in a myriad of forms. I am sure that I adjusted my life to accommodate this state of continual unrest in my body and may have even accepted that this was the way it would always be.
But within weeks of turning 50 it was like a very bright light bulb had been turned on inside me. I began to get the very clear knowing that if I did not start to make different choices as to my health and the way I was living, I was going to become a very un-well ‘old woman’.
This was fuelled by the knowing that this body of mine was the vehicle that was going to support me until my last breath, and it was up to me and to me alone as to the state of my health and wellbeing from now until then.
The inspiration to start to make changes was offered by the living wisdom of two people who shared that if we continue to make the same choices, we will naturally experience the same outcomes, and that those choices are our responsibility.
The first choice to change was inspired by reading a book written by a woman whose life story mirrored mine in so many ways and who had made the choice to change the way she was living at the same age I was. So, inspired as to how her life had changed, the day I finished the book was the day my life began to change too. She wrote that her physical health, which had been suffering hugely from eating gluten, dairy and sugar since very young, started to improve with the elimination of these from her diet. As this rang true for me, I made the choice to do the same, and it turned out to be one of the most self-loving choices I had ever made up to that time in my life.
As my body began to heal from the effects of the food and drink it had struggled to digest for most of my life, I began to feel stronger and steadier and being in my body began to be a whole lot easier and way more enjoyable. I wasn’t trying to ignore its messages any longer but instead was really committed to listen to them, although I could – and still can be – diverted from the truth of them at times.
As well as feeling more vital, and even losing weight, one of the unexpected bonuses was that I was now feeling less anxious and that was so welcome, even though at that stage I was not clear as to why. It took until quite recently to begin to understand how what we eat can affect our mental wellbeing, but back then I simply appreciated this bonus without question. But the anxiousness was still simmering away behind the scenes and would ramp up every now and then in reaction to life events.
I can see now that as I was feeling better than I had ever felt before, I was happy to just enjoy that and I eased up on bringing my focus to diving deeper into healing the root cause of my various conditions – a comfortable trap that we can all fall into where the band-aid seems to be doing a good job but meanwhile underneath the wound is still festering.
And then at aged 55 came the second and biggest life-changing inspiration of all, and that was when I followed a very strong impulse to attend a workshop presented by a man called Serge Benhayon. As I stepped through the doorway to take part in the workshop called Sacred Esoteric Healing Level 1, I had little idea what was going to be presented, but what was offered woke me up from what seemed to be an awfully long, deep, and often torturous sleep. Here was a man who in remarkably simple terms began to make sense of a world that I had never been able to understand – a world that most of the time I did not feel a part of and a world that kept telling me that what I was feeling was wrong.
During the next two days I had so many ‘aha’ moments and full body nods that I lost count of the times I said to myself – I know that – that makes sense – I am not crazy, simply a woman who did not really know who she was and why she was here in this life.
I realised that I had always known the truth but had been living in a world that seemed to prefer existing in a swamp of lies.
But it was when Serge began to take us through the Gentle Breath Meditation™ for the first time that I had my biggest ‘aha’ moment. It came after the first few gentle breaths in and out of my nose when I finally got to truly feel my body, probably for the first time since I was a child, and with it a sense of who I really was: yes, I was finally re-connecting to the wonderful being who for most of her life had been living in disconnection from the body she inhabited. No wonder I was anxious. With no connection I had no foundation, nothing to hold me steady in life when I began to wobble in reaction to what was playing out around me.
With each gentle breath I slowly began to feel more of my body and with this reconnection, the deepening sense that I was finally home began to grow.
This feeling was nothing short of exquisite and the sense of settlement back into my body, my true home, was tangible. This is a moment in time I have never forgotten and if I ever feel a wobble coming on, a gentle breath is a powerful reminder of the truth I have come to know, a truth which holds me steady in its loving embrace when I say yes to it.
Since that day 16 years ago I have continued to enjoy the love and support of Serge, Universal Medicine – the wonderful organisation he founded – and the practitioners of the many healing modalities he has presented to the world. At times it hasn’t been easy but through this deeply appreciated support, I have come to understand my body and my life even more.
The commitment to my healing has been so worth it as so much continues to make sense, like the fact that if I was repeatedly holding my breath, I was affecting my body not only on a physical level but also energetically; I was holding me back from the world. It is like giving a car only occasional moments when the fuel flows from the tank into the inner workings of the engine, so it sputters and stops, then starts up again, probably well before it can leave the driveway. Well, that is exactly how I had been existing – not living – for so long; no wonder I was exhausted and anxious.
I have also come to understand from the presentations by Serge on the Ageless Wisdom that I am a magnificent universal being with a beautiful Soul, not just the anxiety-driven woman who used to feel she was forever teetering on the edge of craziness. That understanding has taken a while to settle in, as I was so identified by all that I considered to be wrong with me… all that is, in truth, not who I am.
As the reconnection to the magnificent me and to my Soul began to grow, so did the foundation that supports my life begin to expand and become more stable. And along with this expanding awareness the anxiety began to dissolve and finally in my 60’s my life began to blossom.
As it did, I started to become aware that when I was with my Soul I did not feel anxious. But then thoughts would enter my head that would destabilise me and nudge me back into an anxious state, away from my connection with my Soul and the true me. They would encourage me, amongst other things, to ‘hold my breath’.
When Serge presented about the difference between spirit and Soul and the energies that come with both, I had another ‘aha’ moment, as I realised that the disruptive voices were definitely not mine, and that they were definitely not the loving voice of my Soul. It was so liberating to come to the understanding that in every moment I was disconnected from myself, the voice of the spirit was given the freedom to express any disregarding thing it wanted to, but if I were connected to myself through my breath it was my Soul’s beautifully supportive voice that I would hear.
I have come so far from the anxious, life-fearing, breath-holding little girl I was and the insecure young woman who felt she didn’t belong in this world; in fact, my life bears very little resemblance to the one I existed in for the first 50 years. I have now learned to truly live in connection with my Soul, but without perfection.
It is still an everyday work in progress and the speed bumps still appear in the road and the ‘car’ still sputters and stops every now and then, but I now have the tools like the Gentle Breath Meditation and the Universal Medicine modalities to support me until I understand what the ‘bumps’ are and then make the choice to approach them differently.
And with every different choice my life continues to expand beyond anything I felt was possible, bringing with it the understanding that what is on offer is endless, but not out of reach.
Living in harmony with my body, my Soul and the world, is the way I was born to live.