I just lay down on my bed to start reading the latest book we have chosen for the wellbeing book club I am part of. I was excited about this one because I love Gabby Bernstein and I can’t believe I haven’t actually read her best-selling book The Universe Has Your Back until now.
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of the universe and also the little signs and guideposts we receive to help keep us on the right track, if only we are open to them. But I still never fail to be amazed by these wonderful “coincidences” – the magic and perfectness of their timing.
When I read the introduction it was one of those moments of realisation. Not only could I have written those exact few pages from my own experience – every word resonated – but also right there was the answer to a question I’d been torturing myself with all afternoon and evening, until I sat down with my scented candles and my pjs on and opened my book. That question was: “why, with everything I do to look after my wellbeing these days and with all the spiritual practices I do, do I still suffer with such crippling anxiety attacks!”
This week I began a new phase in my career as a self-employed freelancer. It was a big step and I’ve been gripped with fear and financial insecurity around it, especially in the last few weeks as the reality drew closer. However, as with everything, the fear of doing something is always worse than the actual doing of it and today (just three days in) I felt almost overwhelmed with a feeling of happiness, joy and freedom that I haven’t felt in a long long time. The fear was lifted and replaced with faith that I can do this and everything is going to be alright. It felt amazing. I drove to see my new accountant singing and smiling from ear to ear. I had a spring in my step. I felt full of life, invigorated, on top of the world, unshakable. Then in the afternoon someone said something really small and silly that hit one of my trauma trigger buttons and wham – anxiety and fear central.
I was annoyed. I knew what it was that had triggered me and I knew my reaction was based purely on a fear response to something that had badly hurt me in the past and that those thought patterns and belief systems no longer served me. That that isn’t who I am today and this isn’t the same situation in any way. Knowing that is one thing. Stopping yourself feeling it is quite another. What I was most annoyed about was the timing. No. Not now. Not today. Just let me have one f*cking day when I can enjoy this feeling. My reaction needless to say was completely out of sync with what had been said but f*ck that sh*t is powerful.
Determined not to let this ruin my day, I threw all of my tools at it – journaling, meditation, prayer, going on a walk and then finally some inspirational reading.
I opened the page and started reading the introduction. It described the extremely powerful physical effects of a panic attack and also the confusion and frustration you feel when you have one, especially at a point in your life where you think you have your sh*t together. When you pray and meditate and do yoga and work hard on yourself and when you have a lot to be grateful for. Then I read these words “The lingering darkness within you is resisting happiness…You may be doing all you can to create freedom, connect to flow, and release your fear-based habits, but it’s likely that the moment you feel some sense of relief, you’re blindsided by the shadow of the fear that dwells below the surface.”
It was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right moment. See, the universe does indeed have your back and the minute you are open and willing to learn the next thing it will be revealed to you. Just like that. The most wonderful thing about any new realisation (which may have been obvious to others but was completely hidden from you) is that once denial is lifted it can’t be replaced. You can give it a good try but, in my experience, there’s no turning back once you have exposed a truth, however difficult it may be to stomach, to the cold light of day. And the exciting thing about this is that that thing that has been holding your back, bubbling under the surface or causing you to make the same mistakes over and over again can finally be addressed and you have a chance to be free from it. In Bernstein’s words: “You may not have recognised this pattern before, but when you do, you can begin the journey toward freedom”.