Over the past couple of weeks, I have been doing some one-on-one coaching with Colorado based leadership and life coach, Rick Adler.
I’ve taken lots of tests measuring everything from my math skills, to my emotional sensitivity, from my linguistic capacity, to my capacity to teach. This has been a very fruitful and informative time where I’ve learned so much about my strengths, weakness, and opportunities for growth. There is simply way too much to unpack in this one single blog post but one life changing thing emerged from these sessions with Rick.
One of the big things that emerged from all of the testing and analysis is my high levels of anxiety. I’ve always known myself to be an anxious person to the point where I was on medication for a several years when I was having panic attacks several times a day. I haven’t had a panic attack in over 3 years now, but it was a daily occurrence for me for about 3-4 years. One of Rick’s questions to me was, “out of all of the things you’ve discovered about yourself, is there anything that you perceive to be ugly, or unattractive?”
“My anxiety” was the first thing that jumped to my mind. Rick went on to say, “you know… the beautiful thing about anxiety is that predisposes you to live in a meditative state. Because of your anxiety, you live in a constant state of seeking beauty, seeking peace, meditating on what is true and what is beautiful. You naturally are predisposed to living a life where you are constantly seeking God, and predisposed to prayer and meditation because of your anxiety.” He went on to describe people without anxiety as more “happy-go-lucky” or “people who are like golden retrievers” these people can have a harder time appreciating peace, or may have to work really hard to actively seek beauty in their ordinary lives. He said it may not be a natural state of mind for them to be constantly dwelling on truth and beauty for those who don’t deal with anxiety. He said it takes discipline for people without anxiety to seek these things, where for me it is a second by second choice and natural act for me because it’s always on the forefront of my thoughts.
I almost started to cry when he said this. I’ve never seen my anxiety as an asset or something that predisposes me to be constantly hunting for beauty, relentlessly pursuing peace, truth, and the glory of God.
And if you know anything about me, or my work, you know that my only goal with my art is to bring peace and beauty into people’s lives. My only goal with my art is to get you to stop, notice and appreciate the beauty around you, to seek peace, to breathe deeply and choose the light. That has always been my goal, and I assume it’s because I live in that headspace daily in pursuit of all that is good, that I want the same for you too.
I hope that if you struggle with anxiety that you can be encouraged as I was. That you can see it as a tool and something you can work with, I know that for the first time in my life, I’m embracing all that anxiety has brought to my life, namely a career, and an entire way of living life in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and peace. Anxiety and I are no longer enemies, now we walk hand in hand.