Proudly, I welcome my sister, Dawn Jepson, as a guest writer for Focusing Inward. I believe, with certainty, that you will find her writing powerful and brave. Dawn's bio displays at the end of her article. She will be sharing her experience monthly, taking us with her to discover the depths of how anxiety can help us heal in deep ways. Dawn works as a Consulting Hypnotist and has been practicing the art of sitting still with herself for more than 20 years.Thank you Dawn for your willingness to share the depths of your inner world as a way to serve and support others on their inward journey.
In this article you will find demonstrations of important practices that I refer to often in my writing. They are:
* Consciously choosing to tune into your emotional content, staying still long enough to see what your inner world reveals.
* Consciously reviewing past choices, allowing feelings to arise.
* Consciously reviewing past choices, allowing thoughts to arise, withholding judgment. Just watching.
* Asking questions from a detached perspective, like what might have been happening that I made those choices back then?
* Experiencing the enlightening moment when suddenly you see a deep truth about being human. A truth that illuminates your world in new ways.
What most powerfully moves me with this piece from Dawn is, perhaps it is wise to sit with your anxiety, invite it to reveal something beyond the anxious feeling, something that may guide you to understand yourself better and have the opportunity to cultivate a lasting inner peace through acknowledging your true complexity of feelings.
Facing the Depths of Anxiety - A Moment of Enlightenment
by Dawn Jepson, Consulting Hypnotist
Very early Sunday morning I was paying attention to the typical anxious feeling I have been getting daily for years. While slight anxiety has been a part of my life for as early as I can remember, it was never truly bothersome until peri-menopause. In the last year (and I am well into menopause now) it has become so disturbing I have let my doctor help me by prescribing medication I can take if the anxiety gets too disruptive.
This Sunday I decided to skip the medication and just lie quietly with the feeling of anxiety and see what happened. This isn’t the first time I have tried this … usually it leads to random disjointed thinking. Rarely is it pleasant or helpful (that I can tell).
As I decided to let go, this Sunday morning, and ride with the anxiety feeling, I noticed it was somewhat different … it was more open and expansive. Without any effort on my part, the anxious feeling gently guided me back to the first time I ever drank alcohol. As I went with my feelings and memories the anxiety temporarily subsided. Surprisingly, I was able to relax into the remembering. I floated backward and forward from the specific memory of being 13 or 14 years old, taking my first drink, to a general time period 20 years ago (at 38 years old), when I made a significantly life changing choice. As I calmly lay there, I found myself briefly reviewing my experiences of alcohol involving sex, especially casual sexual encounters, during that 20-year period. Anytime there were ones missed, I automatically was “brought” back to each one of them. They all seemed to - have to be noted - given my attention. Each experience was lightly, briefly observed/remembered.
Once I had fully completed the experience of remembering, I felt a huge sense of remorse and regret fill me. Like never before in my life … along with some lighter guilt and shame.
At that point it seemed natural that I “should” apologize to all those people who were directly and indirectly involved in those experiences, ask for their forgiveness. I was assuming I had hurt them all greatly. But I realized I have done this “asking others for forgiveness” many, many times. I have made my amends, so to speak.
Instead it felt more appropriate to go back to simply staying with the feelings of regret and remorse. To keep reviewing the casualness I acted with towards others feelings and emotions. Throughout all of this I kept receiving extraordinary waves of disbelief - shock that I could have done what I did; the alcohol and casual sex, carelessly dealing with others feelings and wants with no thought to how they might feel about my actions and behavior. And … the disrespect that I showed myself by making these behavior choices.
As I gradually began to come more and more alert to the moment, I tried to psychologically process why I behaved the way I did all those years ago - for over a 20-year time period!!! But then found myself quickly discarding my psychoanalysis, since I seemed to deeply know that it was more of a soul cause that triggered my behavior. I left alone the need to know “why.”
Still I was left with a feeling of being literally stunned in regard to the complete thoughtlessness, the casualness with which I made the decision to have sex and drink so carelessly. And not only that, but how uncaring I was with others feelings. This, above all else, from my experience, dominated.
The power of conscious choice became so clear to me in that span of time.
But now I am left with the wondering; “what do I do with all those memories and feelings of my past decisions and choices, where I hurt others, where I hurt myself?” How do I move on, forgive myself and truly, let go? The sadness I feel is so deep. Is it fueling, or helping to fuel, the anxiety that I live with and struggle with each and every day?
Again and again I think about all those years when I felt so free to take those actions and engage in those behaviors without regard for the future and how it would affect me, and others, one day.
And now I am left asking myself - how do I come to feel cleansed and move forward in my life with inner peace?
Dawn Jepson - Bio
As a Consulting Hypnotist since 1997, Dawn Jepson holds an alternative doctoral degree in Clinical Hypnotherapy and is registered with the National Guild of Hypnotists. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and an Associate Degree in Mental Health.
Dawn works with individuals and groups. During private sessions, speaking engagements, and workshops she assists people in realizing their ability to reach their full potential through self-hypnosis, deep relaxation and suggestion. The primary intention of her work is to encourage each person to move closer in affirming their personal goals, thus enhancing their life.