A different kind of community building, the community of one, yourself
Time piercing and other cool techniques I used to overcome my panic attacks
In this article,
I explore a cool technique of getting some updates from my future self
how I applied it to my newly encountered anxiety
what other tools I am using to take better care of myself
anxiety tipping point and a bright beginning
how dreaming also helped
Sometimes we need to have someone we trust confront us with some good news and encouragement that the path is clear and the future smiles happily on our progress.
An infusion of clarity can always jump-start your progress by realizing what you want to do and how to do it, which increases the speed of execution, yielding for us time, our most precious resource - is it?
Maybe you can get what you need from a talk with open-hearted friends. I am a big fan of being in a community of friends that are tenants in the apartments of your heart, in flesh and bones as often as we possibly can, life is better lived when shared and even neuroscience shows us how beneficial for mental health and longevity the rituals we have that involve socializing with others.
I talked about the things I am writing below with my kids and they seem to get it, it feels true to me, it’s a useful tool, damn efficient too, free, and always available.
Some people need a guided meditation to do it at first, or maybe they have done it unconsciously before; what I like most is when it happens impromptu, just by shifting the lenses and focusing my attention on what I appreciate.
The simple theory behind time piercing or how I understand it is that - as long as the past exists only in the present when we remember it and recreate it from our memories, the future is the same, exists in the present when we imagine how tomorrow, next month, 5 years from now will be like - then a future version of me might look in his present and recreate moments from his past from his memories, moments that are my current present.
In other words, the frequencies of pastFM and futureFM are very similar. I would save these hit stations as favorites on my radio, together with the default PresentFM.
And in this state of presence and appreciation for all the moments that brought joy into my life, I can start my journey, guided by my respira (breath).
So, looking at a picture of my younger self I instantly pay him a little visit, and in my imagination, I see him willing to hear a word of advice or a small confirmation that he is on the right track.
It was right before the fall of communism in Romania in 1989, I was eight years old traveling in a student exchange program in Paris, France, and being the only Romanian student able to read a speech in French, I was the one designated to do so. My father helped me write the speech and I loved every little bit of the whole process and delivered! I remember the emotion of being proud of myself, even if my parents were not present. A first hint of autonomy.
Then in the next moment, I can see my attention creating another moment, a situation where the thing that pre-occupies me has already happened with the exact outcome I desire - we do live in a world of possibilities. I am him, the guy who made it to the other side. In my case, the bridge that I was looking to build was with my anxiety and loneliness. So I create the possibility of discussing the version of myself who already built and crossed that bridge successfully.
I see he is well and that informs my current state. There is life after dancing with lady anxiety and I connect to what that guy is feeling, I absorb his freedom of being on the other side of fear.
Then I come back and write everything that comes out of that, some people call it stream-of-consciousness writing.
The writing and sometimes drawings show the way and my next best steps.
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
―Rumi (written more than 700 years ago)
I wish it was always this simple.
2023, the year I encountered and faced Lady Anxiety
I wish it did not take me 8 months to learn the steps of the Dance with Anxiety.
It started in March 2023, unannounced, with a strange dizziness while working on my computer screen. I had to close the lid and lay on the couch. I felt physically sick and was sure fainting (or worse) was imminent. I was alone with my kids in the house and the first thing that came to mind was to call the ambulance. They arrived quickly and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and given a pill. The nauseated sensation disappeared after 3 more hours of being hugged and held by my family.
The next 2 weeks had more than 3 attacks and 2 visits to the emergency room. Health checks followed everything is fine, the heart is healthy, and blood pressure is normal (after monitoring it for 24h with a special device). A week in France was scheduled for PAUA Paris 2023. I did not know what my role would be there but I ended up assisting closelyand his team in producing an event that many people thought was amazing. I had some moments when I started getting into the anxiety loops, fortunately all before the conference. Seeing some old dear friends that lived in Paris one day before might have helped. The PAUA people (team, speakers, and participants) definitely helped, the energy was amazing and I felt incredibly useful.
After 42 years I was starting to see the limitations of my body. And the results of irregular sleep, smoking hand-rolled tobacco, and over-working and by doing so being less and less productive.
I was starting to learn new things about myself. I was seeing how a thought leads to another from the same spectrum amplifying the whole idea from a seed of “what if i am going to feel sick again” to “i am going to die, just like my dad”.
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In the past month, I dropped coffee (and I love coffee and was quite invested in preparing the perfect espresso each morning) and replaced it with Lung Ching Dragonwell green tea. I also take a great magnesium stalk and some oriental Chinese medicine for the adrenals. Let me know in the comments if you want more details about these.Thanks, Richard, for the guidance. I was already on a good train after having an intentional dream.
I just went to sleep with this intention - let me dream something that would allow me to understand the anxiety that was visiting me better and remember it when I woke up. The unconscious delivered and AI helped me give it a visual:
There are many more symbols in my dream and in the ai-generated picture but I can boil it down to:
my anxiety was a very friendly dragon with a rainbow belly (emotions).
Of course, you can ask ChatGPT to interpret dreams in a Jungian key (less personal) or even better talk to a real human who can do that. Or attend dream circles like the ones curated byon. I like to focus on the learnings from each dream and maybe set some daily reminders on my phone to bring them to my awareness regularly.
The next time it came to visit, I watched it in the eyes, greeted it politely, and informed myself that I recognized it, I danced with it before, and the dance always finished. And anxiety finished the dance more quickly than ever and has not returned yet. I bow to that. It felt like a tipping point.
Facing my fear of death is something that I would have considered funny 4-6 years ago. Searching meanings, exploring all of this with the assistance of a Jungian therapist, discussing it with friends, intimate talks and reflections with my partner, analyzing it from a Human Design perspective with a gifted analyst, participating in the PAUA Men Circle, — and doing as much physical activity as possible each day, and not blaming myself on days when I did not get myself out of the house for a walk.
I am new to this writing in public so I am still working on my tone of voice and gladly take any tips on improving. Also, I was not sure how many details to offer and I am happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments below.
A la prochaine…
The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Credits: The teachings of Jesse Elder informed some of the ideas on time piercing in this article.