A MIND AT PEACE
Releasing Anxiety, Swimming in your Mind's Beauty
Hi there! Thank you for visiting.
One of the most difficult challenges Lyme presents is maintaining cognitive and emotional health. The bacteria attacks brain tissue in many Lyme cases, causing issues such as crushing anxiety, memory loss, brain inflammation and trouble thinking. Welcome to the world of neuro Lyme. I know it all too well! I found these symptoms to be the most frightening of all the hurdles Lyme has thrown my way. I created the Anxiety Relief meditation to help myself and other people struggling with neuro symptoms. Now my brain is doing so much better - but I still have moments where I forget why I walked into a room, or I blank on a totally common word, or I have to rest before I can think clearly enough to pay the bills.
Unfortunately, the fear cognitive symptoms creates is in and of itself damaging. The cycle of anxiety can feed on itself and worsen, creating panic. When the body is in fight or flight mode, muscles tense and blood flow is directed away from healing. A focus on negative symptoms can increase those very symptoms, adding to the cycle. It is so very important for those of us healing from Lyme that we learn to redirect our brains when anxiety takes hold.
The Anxiety Relief meditation focuses on the limbic system - the part of the brain responsible for choosing either the "fight or flight", or "rest and digest" setting for the central nervous system. It was heartening for me to learn that the body cannot be in both of these settings at one time. It has to choose. So when you breathe deeply, and train yourself to relax, you manage your own anxiety, and sometimes even eliminate it. The meditation visualizes the limbic system as a spiral galaxy, beautiful and almost limitless, full of complexity, full of light. It gives your brain a path to follow away from fear, and back toward its true nature - expansive, peaceful rest.
Besides the meditation, I have other tricks for moving my mind toward feelings of wellness and joy. I use these tricks consciously, daily, no matter how much my brain may resist. It isn't easy to retrain the brain, but my experience is that it is always worth it, and that practice leads to habit. Here are some of my favorite tricks:
Listen to great music. This is a no-brainer (haha). Dance. Even if you feel like crap. Especially if you feel like crap. As you dance, say words to yourself that lift your spirit, whichever words work for you on a feeling level. Some examples are, freedom, bliss, wildness, passion.
Go for a walk and say in your mind all the things you see, feel and hear. Become a deeper observer of the trees, the clouds, the quality of light, the animals, anything in the world that appears to you. Notice the life force of plants and animals. This is something felt. Most often I feel it resonate in my heart. The natural world is alive, full of juicy life force, constantly living and dying. Just feeling this lifts the spirit. We are a part of something huge and beautiful, whether we are sick or well, and our current form is temporary. Our current form is temporary. Just repeating this obvious truth can melt the mind away from fear.
Wander through thoughts and memories of whatever you are most grateful for. I imagine my kids' bodies, holding them, smelling them, feeling so proud of them, loving them. The feeling of their clean bodies after a bath. The warmth of taking a nap with them. Their small hands holding mine.
Pray. Pray to whomever lights your candle.
As you move your brain toward bliss, in whatever form appeals to you today, your limbic system will start to relax. It is an intelligent system. It will follow where you lead, and it will strengthen those pathways with practice. Neurons that fire together, wire together. Practice makes habit. With Lyme, many forms of treatment may be necessary. At least this one is free, and we control it. Listen to the Anxiety Relief meditation if you need a guiding hand.
Your brain is as deep as the galaxy itself, and just as mysteriously lovely. Wishing you calm healing and lasting peace.