It is the Little Victories that make life so wonderful. As we go through our day, we should stop and celebrate all the little challenges we overcome. Sometimes they are pretty big ones, and it is healthy to stop and say, “Yeah I successfully got through that.” If you are like me, you probably spend a great deal of time in preparation of some stressful event. My new motto is acknowledge myself in some manner once I have completed the hurdle to make sure I imprint the success, no matter how small. It is part of being aware and produces a very nice feeling.
Part of my healing has included dealing with all the little phobias I developed over time. The list was expansive and I did not realize how paralyzed I had become. The Associative Awareness Techniques has disassociated many of the external cues that were causing pain and other ailments. The therapy works towards balance and control, something I was completely lacking. I was reacting to input that I was not even aware of which was causing great pain and suffering. It has worked on my pain greatly reducing the constant aches from a level 7 to usually a 1 or 2. Not saying my pain does not flare, but I have learned techniques to calm the fire. But an added bonus, which there are many bonuses, I have also learned to overcome stress to a much bigger degree. Trust me, it is a work in progress and there are and will be times I am not doing so great. Part of my healing is to accept that and work on moving past those moments.
One of my biggest phobias included travel. I have never been a big fan of traveling, however I like being in different places. It is the getting there, not the destination that I worried over. Now worry does not quite cover the emotional toll I would extract when I had to go somewhere new. If I was traveling with someone and they were driving, the concern would be lessened. But, I still would perseverate if I would agree to go somewhere to the point whatever the event was, by the time I had to actually leave, I would be so worked up I would suffer greatly. I know when it all really started and I know where the fear became part of my repertoire but it is the past and gone. I knew in my heart that this was something I had to work on to get over because I wanted my independence back. To be honest, it had gotten so bad that there were days when going to the grocery store would overwhelm me and ruin a perfectly good day off. I would try to figure a way out of having to simply get in my car and drive less than a mile to get the necessary food for the week in the house. Seems silly as I write this, but it was a true impediment for me.
I knew I had to face this dragon head on. Nine months ago, that would not have been a possibility. I can count how many activities I have not participated in because I would have had to drive myself. Granted, my husband enjoys driving and is a willing chauffeur. But there have been times when I wanted to do something with a friend or just myself and said no because it required me taking myself. This fear recently reared its ugly head as my husband has an issue which is impairing his sight. He is having surgery and the situation will easily be remedied, but it was like a slap in the face when I realized I had to stop relying on others to create my safety.
I used to have to drive as part of my job when I was working with families who had a loved one who was receiving services from the agency where I worked. Although they were only small journeys to various homes for in-service visits, I hated it. I was not completely unable to do it, but was relieved when I was promoted to a different responsibility. This was less than eight years ago and within that time, I became this petrified person who would perseverate about going to the local store. This is how quickly fear can over take your being if you let it….not that I let it, I was not even aware of it until now. I think that is part of my message here. Be aware how quickly something can spiral out of control and the grip on your life can be exponentially your undoing.
As part of my current job requirements I am now going to have to drive about forty miles one way to an affiliate we have just purchased. I was scheduled for a meeting yesterday and with short notice. It was a good thing because I did not have a lot of time to think about it. Actually, I did not think about it. I had an unusual calm about the whole matter. I also had to do something yesterday which normally causes me great anxiety and that is to attend a high level meeting at the enormous medical center which we are affiliated with. When I say huge, I am not exaggerating. I was supposed to attend with our CEO, who knows the hospital well, but with less than eight hour notice, I was on my own.
I resolved the fear of the longer commute to the distant meeting by trundling my best friend and I off for a day of shopping on Saturday. We made a drive by and secured the location and then spent the afternoon shopping at the outlet mall located nearby. I drove. We had a blast. Yesterday, I had no anxiety and the only thing I realize is I need better tunes in my car, which magically turns into a sound booth when I am driving. Why is it that our voice sounds so incredible in the car when no one can hear it? With a little planning, I figured out the best way to attack the medical center for my 7am meeting and that played out better than I could have imagined. I got there so early that the place I parked was empty, which never happens there. They have transports to and from parking lots located miles away it is so bad. I did have to ask one person for help once inside and she was so generous and took me exactly where I needed to be. This gave me a few moments to relax and calm before a meeting with a board of directors and high level medical administrators. No problem!
I have learned and will continue to learn to let go and let things happen. I call on a Higher Power to guide me and so far it has not failed. For those of you who know this and have been practicing this methodology, it is natural. For me, it is all new. I am still amazed when it works and I have to push myself to trust. But the good news I am doing it and learning. As a teacher, I know the importance of receiving positive feedback to accelerate learning and growth. These milestones for me are big and impact me greatly so I made sure I gave myself kudos the rest of the day. I shared my achievements with my husband who has patiently seen the toll the stress has caused and often receives the fallout. It was such a simple victory but not less in its significance for me.