Tag Archives: anxiety

Breaking Destructive Cycles

Life is full of cycles.  Yearly cycles of seasons, seasonal holidays and cycles of learning and growth, graduation, and then beginning again to learn more.  And there are monthly cycles of bills to pay, full moons, and fertility.

blossom-918453_960_720While some cycles are natural and can be comforting and even inspiring, other cycles can be painful and destructive.  Cycles of anger, codependency, depression, and addiction for example.

All destructive cycles have certain characterizing words in common, words like triggers, breaking points, regret, so called “honeymoon periods,” and periods where emotions builds again.  Some destructive cycles can be very short, repeating weekly or even daily, and some can be much longer, repeating monthly or even longer.

Consider anger for example, and its partner codependency.  In the anger cycle, tensionsurreal-402830_960_720 builds, a trigger causes a break when yelling and breaking of things may occur, followed by regret and a period of calm.  Meanwhile,  a more passive or passive aggressive partner might try to be “nice” for awhile, but eventually attempts to exercise some form of rebellion or self care, which changes a usual routine.  This break from routine may “trigger” an argument or angry outburst, and the cycle repeats.

Even depression can have an identifiable cycle, moving from self care, to self isolation, and self neglect.

Every close relationship experiences disagreements, everyone gets angry or unhappy at one time or another, and many people have occasional alcoholic beverages without embarrassing or hurting themselves or others.  How can people recognized they are getting “trapped” in a cycle?

1338259321When life or livelihood gets interrupted, especially on a routine basis, it is time to consider making some meaningful changes before someone gets hurt.  The monthly arguments that always escalate into loud conflict, damaged property, or bruises, the occasional drinking or prescription drug use that turns into every weekend and eventually creeps into the work week, the mood swings that lead to either avoiding friends and family or erupt in conflict with coworkers or customers.

The good news is that recognizing these cycle traps is the beginning of healing.  Developing self awareness about triggers, addiction, anger, general anxiety and depression levels, and codependent complacency behaviors can help us to break out of cycle traps before they reach a critical “blow up” or “melt down” stage.

How do we develop self awareness?  Tools like journaling, taking note of our state of mind, recognizing the repeated events that lead up to “breaking points”, becoming aware of words or events that trigger impulsive outbursts or depression or drinking or drug use can be of great help.

Coupled with developing self awareness are development of tools for altering thinking or feet-538245__180behavior patterns.  Techniques like deep breathing, grounding, calling a friend or sponsor, or just walking away can be helpful.

This is where taking part in therapeutic groups dedicated to emotions, alcoholics, narcotics, or codependency, can be helpful.  Engagement in one on one counseling with a trusted professional can be helpful also.

Meditation practices are a natural form of self care.  Meditation can lead to increased awareness and compassion for self and others, while the relaxation and breathing associated with meditation can be a helpful tool in letting go of the some of the thoughts and feelings that feed the cyclical traps.

With this in mind, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling  are happy to announce another “Meditation Day Retreat”  in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains on Saturday April 30th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

logolargerPeople who attend our classes learn skills for developing self awareness, dealing with stress, and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:00-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:30 explores more advanced skills designed to Open our Consciousness.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

To register, visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.

Letting Go of Anxieties with Meditation

It was a day like any other day, dreary and oppressive with cold rain, and yet pregnant with possibility. Gary had been practicing Christian Tantric Meditation fairly regularly for almost a year, so he was well versed in the process, but lately he had been practicing less and less frequently.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgHe knew the benefits, and he felt the consequences of not practicing creeping back into his life. Work was crazy, his wife and kids demanding, and he was drinking more than usual, which only meant 1 or 2 extra drinks on the weekend, but still, he could feel it. He was slipping away again, losing himself to the cares and demands of the world. He was also letting his temper go a little too far lately, feeling sorry for himself and blaming others for his growing sense of loneliness and lack of control.

“Lack of control” he thought to himself, smiling grimly. He remembered. He remembered the freedom and joy he felt when he truly surrendered his desires and attachments. Pushing himself, he remembered the love he felt when he surrendered his resentments and invited Christ into his heart. He remembered the feeling of hope and strength he felt when he surrendered his burdens and fears.

Motivated now, he placed his phone in “airplane mode” and retrieved the neglected cushions from closet. He had practiced in a chair for several months, but eventually purchased a meditation cushion set.  He sat on the cushions cross legged at first, noting his sense of imbalance with his knees in the air. Carefully, he folded his left foot against his right thigh, and then pulled his right heel into his right thigh. Once his right knee was somewhat locked in place, he shifted his right leg downward while lifting his right foot and resting it against his left calf.

His knees were now naturally extended to the floor, creating a satisfying 3 point weight distribution with his seat elevated on the cushions. He noted that his right foot was not crossing his left at the ankle, as that would result in a numb foot within five minutes.

He closed his eyes and briefly and noted the thoughts running through his head, the things he needed to be doing, the demands of life, and he turned his attention to his breathing. He recognized the feeling of cool air entering his nostrils, his mouth, and into his lungs. He recognized the feeling of his chest rising and falling. He consciously began breathing with his belly, allowing it to expand and relax naturally as he inhaled and exhaled.

His racing thoughts began to diminish quickly, as his breathing deepened. He consciously straightened his back, and adjusted himself a little to increase his sense of balance. Because of his experience in the practice, his mind and body automatically responded to his breathing.

He imagined the space that his mind occupied, and consciously let go of his desires. His outward desires appeared first in his mind, desires for control. With every breath they drifted away. Then his deeper desires appeared, his desires for success and happiness. He let them go as well, leaving in their place a clear blue sky in his mind.

His attention turned to his heart. He imagined his breath entering his body, and sweeping through his heart. He imagined letting go of his resentments, directed towards people he encountered recently, and long term resentments he held against family members. As an angry grandfather figure came into his mind, he resisted the temptation to work on this issue. He had practiced letting go of this image many times before, and he would have more opportunities later. Somehow he knew he needed to dwell elsewhere this time. Breathing, he allowed the image to drift away.

His attention moved to his core. There. He felt it. A persistent knot. A low ache that just sat there, haunting him day and night. He had felt it before, but never really recognized it. Until now.

Curious, he decided to imagine the space that the ache occupied. He imagined its shape, its position. It was definitely located in his stomach area, on the left side of his body. He breathed slowly and deeply, imagining every breath soothing and healing the inflamed aching area that his consciousness  occupied.

Because of his training, his mind drifted to his fears. Definitely present, but vague. Nothing specific to let go of. Still, he breathed, and imagined his generalized fear dissipating with every breath.

He also thought of his many burdens. Again, nothing specific, no one huge concern. Just a large volume of little issues. Insurance, bills, children’s schooling, etc etc. Breathing, he let them go, little by little with every breath.

He felt better, but he noted that the ache was still present.

His curiosity aroused even further, he decided to let go of his training, and forget even the recognition of fears and burdens within his core. He let it all go, all structure, all training, all thoughts, all feelings. He breathed deeply and allowed himself to just dwell there, in his core area of consciousness.

Eventually, a new sense began to grow within him, replacing the dull ache and general anxiety. He began to feel hopeful. He began to recognize the opportunities in his life, and the strengths that he had built over time, his experience and accomplishments.

He allowed his consciousness to open up and occupy his entire body. The resentment towards the demands placed upon him were replaced by feelings of love in his heart. His wife, his children. His dog. The rain, the firm earth, green lawns and flowers. God. Love. All there in his heart.

The desires to control all of those demanding voices and images in his mind were replaced by a clear blue sky. He recognized that it wasn’t in his power to make others happy. They need to find happiness on their own. He could be present, he could love, he could support, but he couldn’t bring happiness. He recognized that his attempts to bring happiness to others actually did more harm than good, as they turned to him rather than to their own resources, their own faith, their own in-dwelling sense of God.

Dwelling in the space his entire body occupied, he imagined every breath filling him completely, cleansing and healing. He rested there. He allowed his awareness to expand to include the room, the house, the yard, the neighborhood, and all the living creatures that were a part of his surroundings.

Feeling relieved, he recognized that the knot in his stomach had dissipated. He returned his attention back to his breathing, and he slowly emerged. He opened his eyes and smiled.