I went to see my beautiful friend Suzanne yesterday for a healing session at her home, which also happens to be her meditation and healing studio. It’s nestled into a hillside in Beverly Glen Canyon, so it’s very private, has incredibly lush wildlife all around, and is one of the most magical, unique settings I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always loved spending time there and was particularly excited to go yesterday since the weather was exceptionally gorgeous.
When I showed up at the house, Suzanne greeted me warmly as she always does and after settling in a bit, we began our session. I let her know which issues seemed to have been most at play in my life recently, which included some persistent anxiety around travel, some lingering difficult feelings from a challenging interaction with a friend, and residual pain from trauma that I experienced as a child. I was ready to let all of it go.
As Suzanne began to practice her mysterious healing arts, I found myself remembering some things from my past that I hadn’t thought of in many years. I started to recall childhood memories of the first times that I experienced the particular type of anxiety that has come up for me when I’ve traveled to Europe, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The details of the story don’t particularly matter, but what I remembered was being very little, about three or four years old, and having an experience that I felt far too small to be able to handle.
For some reason, this feeling has come up for me again in my adult life when I find myself in situations that feel overwhelming and I begin to fear that I might wind up stuck in a situation that I can’t handle. The most common trigger is travel to places that are very far away and/or feel disorienting in how foreign they are from my typical surroundings at home, but I also find myself occasionally feeling this way when I am hiking a steep or precarious trail and start to think that I’m climbing up something that I might not be able to make my way back down from. This actually happened recently and what’s funny is that the trail was really not that difficult at all. I’ve certainly hiked much more advanced terrain, but for some reason, the doubt crept in that day, and I felt my knees weaken a bit as I stepped carefully down into each new foothold. As with the anxiety I’ve experienced during my travels, I tell myself over and over again that I’m a really capable, resourceful person and that there is no reason to feel like I’m going to end up in over my head, and yet, doubt is a sly little fox. But this is the amazing thing about healing work. Sometimes, you have the most amazing and unexplainable breakthroughs. And yesterday I did.
As I remembered the terror I felt during this early childhood experience, I also remembered that, when I got to the point where I really truly needed help, someone very kind came along and gave me exactly what I needed to make it through the situation. And then I thought about all of the times that I’ve experienced that feeling since, and realized that I’ve actually never encountered a situation that I felt was absolutely beyond my ability to handle without also receiving help from someone. Through all of my travels, when I felt overwhelmed with anxiety, someone kind came along and gave me the support of loving words and their company, free of judgment. And when I began to feel nervous on that hike recently, my friend offered to stand beneath me and help me make my way down the rocks.
And there it was. The healing knowledge that was buried inside of me and that only needed to be unearthed with the help of my friend, who luckily for me happens to also be a very gifted healer. The truth is that I am a very capable person and that I can handle pretty much anything life throws at me. This is really an unquestionable fact when I look back at everything I’ve been through in my 33 ½ years of life. But. If I find myself in a situation that feels truly untenable, the universe will support me and send me the help that I need. It always has.
I’m not saying that, after my session yesterday, all of my doubts are vanquished forever. Oh, how I wish it were that simple. There are no silver bullets. Over time, I’ve learned that to be an unquestionable truth as well. But, I’ve also learned that you can choose to grow and with effort, you can overcome every single self-imposed limitation. And really, they’re all self-imposed. So now I know what my task is. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s to choose to trust myself, to choose to trust in my ability to handle the experiences that come my way in this one wild and wonderful life, and to choose to trust that the universe has got my back and will never allow me to put myself in situations that are truly over my head without also sending some support my way as well.