Tag Archive | fear

Just breathe 💙🕉

Mozart: Canzonetta Sull’aria – YouTube song 🎵

Relaxing songs list – website

How to use 4-7-8 breathing for anxiety – website

Diaphragmatic Breathing – Short youtube video to quickly learn how to breathe most effectively

(Content/possible trigger warning ⚠️: In part of this post, I briefly & lightly mention BDSM, a kink, where people, with consent, may be t**d up, usually in a s*xual context. It’s nothing graphic that I explain but just mentioning something to do with breathing that I learned in a fiction book about BDSM, that helps with meditation. But anyone who has experienced trauma may be triggered even by non graphic things, even by seeing certain words so I may block some things out with *** It’s important to face triggers but only when ready as possible, not by suddenly seeing a post on the internet when not in the frame of mind. Also, some asexual people do not want to encounter anything that has anything to do with s*x even if they weren’t traumatized because it’s icky or repulsive to them[not prudes at all, just grossed out and/or tired of hearing about the s*x constantly when it’s not in someone’s nature to want/crave it].

I’ll put a warning before the mention of the BDSM so any trauma survivors or aces can skip it. And I will put the caution signs ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ at the end so anyone who skips can see where it ends and continue reading.)

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as ‘relaxing breath,’ involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

This is a very simple and powerful technique to stop anxiety in its tracks. Of course, it may not work for every single person but is effective for many, if not most. For me, it works instantly.

I haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and never struggled with general anxiety but I have suffered a six month long battle with debilitating health anxiety in 2019. And in 2015 I lost my close friend unexpectedly to a heart attack and after that have struggled with bouts of anxiety off and on and fear of others I know all of a sudden dying. Every now and again but not frequently, I have this terrible suffocating fear arise that someone I know will die soon or is dying right now or will suffer an illness. It’s something that comes and goes and even though it’s not constant or usually frequent, it is difficult to bear when it does occur. It can feel like it will never end and like I am the only one in the world suffering it. I have also struggled with crippling claustrophobia, which I have conquered on my own as I frequently must get on elevators for work. It was important for me to heal it.

So while I don’t have anxiety as badly or frequently as some people and don’t currently have a disorder, I know what it’s like to be plagued by anxiety sometimes. I believe my experience with health anxiety in 2019 would have been diagnosed as a fullblown disorder if I would have asked for help. It takes extreme strength and courage to battle anxiety. It’s a display of strength and courage to live with anxiety, NOT a sign of weakness or cowardice. People with anxiety are forced to be stronger than people without anxiety have to be, yet often feel we are weak and cowardly if we are anxious and fearful. There is no way we would be surviving it each second if we were weak minded. It takes emotional and physical strength to endure. To me, it’s worse than depression and I have suffered severe depression off and on for years. It’s difficult to imagine the strength of anxiety survivors who live with it regularly. Just six months for me was nearly unbearable.

My anxiety when it arises, more often than not, manifests as physical sensations and emotions as opposed to thoughts. Because of this, mine may be easier to calm down when it does arise than if I had deeply rooted fears and thoughts.

My heart pounds, nearly out of my chest, my breathing becomes shallow, my head spins, and bolts of fear run up and down my body, heart palpitations, and I have this terrible feeling that someone I know is dying, near death, or will soon die. Sometimes it lasts off and on for days, usually just off and on in one day. It tends to be worse at night and early mornings when it is occurring. And sometimes my health anxiety for my own self tries to return and convince me I have cancer. It’s absolutely frightening and life destroying when it’s constant like in 2019. I developed uncontrollable rituals each day, incessantly checking for lumps and marks on my body. I stayed on Google day and night reading about diseases and looking at pictures of diseases I was convinced I had. It was a fullblown obsession. How I survived those six months, I still don’t know.

When it’s out of control, it’s very difficult to meditate or just breathe so best to catch it when a symptom or episode is just beginning, or beginning to worsen, or not quite as intense. When my heart begins to pound or those bolts of fear ripple up and down my body, I do the 4-7-8 breathing technique and instantly my body calms. It’s not a cure, of course, but a good way to get instant relief and if it becomes a habit, it may just be a “cure” for some or at least make anxiety less frequent. It’s just it can be difficult finding the motivation or time to make it an ingrained habit. Or for many, their anxiety is just generally too severe to be able to sit there and breathe, mindfully.

But for me, it does work. When I’m out walking, if I am hit with fear or panic or anxious sensations, I do that breathing technique. Also, I haven’t made it a habit yet but at night/morning, I listen to a peaceful song/music and do the breathing technique even if I am not currently anxious. It’s very pleasant and can prevent anxiety. It instills in me a peaceful sensation all throughout.

One thing to be mindful of is if we meditate only infrequently or haven’t in a while, meditation may bring out more fear or anxiety or anger or sadness or grief…, because we have emotions and responses to everyday life and certain experiences already inside us and often pent up. Meditation will loosen it up and bring it all to the surface/consciousness like a plunger loosening all the contents in a sink or toilet. Lol It may make it seem like meditation or mindfulness is a bad thing or just not for us. But could just be we have to meditate more often. Everyday we experience things and our emotional reactions no matter how serious or not, build up. We get cut off in traffic, we drop things, we spill coffee on our white shirt, we see someone almost get hit by a car running across a street, we hear a loud noise that startles us, our coworker says something that ticks us off, we may remember someone dying years ago and feel current distress or sadness about it…all of our emotional reactions to these things stay inside us even if we quickly forget them. Then meditation brings it all out later and we may feel the stress, anger, fear for a while after a meditation session but it’s actually a good thing as all those emotions need a release.

Shoulder blade squeeze

As I mention when promoting breathing exercises, I suggest people who are physically able to, as long as it’s safe for them, do the shoulder blade exercise at the beginning to open up the airways and make breathing easier and deeper.

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ Content Warning ⚠️⚠️ ⚠️

Some years ago, I read a fiction legal thriller series of books by Stephen Penner, for fun and learned an invaluable life tip. In one of the books, the medical examiner, character, Dr. Kat Anderson, explained that putting our arms back like that opens the chest cavity and helps us breathe better. In the book a woman was accidentally killed by her man while they were engaging in BDSM, a kink where they tie each other up and stuff; it looks and sounds violent but is usually safe and is one hundred percent consensual.

The characters were hooking up and he tied her arms back with her consent and he accidentally killed her. The doctor explained how she would have died sooner if not for her arms being tied back like that. The reason she died is he choked her (with her consent) and since her arms were back, she was breathing better so lived longer. I realized I can do that before meditations to make me breathe more deeply and just randomly throughout the day and then a professional fitness trainer told me the same thing, to do that all day, everyday. It aids in our breathing.

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️END⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

So put your arms straight at your sides then lift them to your waist, bend the elbows and squeeze shoulder blades for five seconds then loosen for a few seconds then do the same again however many sessions you see fit. Don’t shrug your shoulders while squeezing the shoulder blades. That isn’t necessary and may not be safe or effective.

This is only for people who can safely do this, don’t have pain or physical limitations, have arms…I understand this isn’t for everyone. I think the average person can do this though. Remember for counting seconds, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi….I learned this is elementary school just saying one two three is less than a second so put the Mississippi after and it’s closest to one second. 😁

This song in the YouTube video above, Mozart: Canzonetta Sull’aria, is one of my favorite ones to meditate to. It’s beautiful and peaceful and scientifically shown to be one of the most relaxing songs on Earth. Weightless – ten hour version or Weightless – eight minutes version is the actual most relaxing (scientifically proven) and I love that one too. But this one is a bit too relaxing and can make us sleepy or go to sleep. I’m not always trying to go to sleep after meditation. Sometimes I’m meditating in the morning or afternoon or out walking or before work and Weightless isn’t a good idea those occasions. But it’s great right before sleep or if it doesn’t matter if we are sleepy.

When breathing, only the abdomen should move, not the chest. And breathing should always be inhaling through the nose with the stomach expanding and exhaling through the mouth with stomach deflating. It’s called diaphragmatic breathing and does matter. It’s the proper way to breathe, the most healthy, but most of us don’t breathe that way and our breathing is shallow. Diaphragmatic breathing is best for coping with pain and anxiety and just the healthiest in all of life.

Remember to breathe as slowly and deeply as possible, especially breathing out. It takes practice. And remember to gently bring your wandering mind back to breath. That takes practice too. Everyone without exception will have a wandering mind, even those experienced with meditation. It’s just the nature of the human mind. It’s not a flaw or something worthy of self criticism. It’s just important to catch it as best as we can because before we know it our allotted meditation time is over and was taken up daydreaming of our lunch later, or some task at work tomorrow, or stores we have to visit. Again, not a flaw! And not an indication that we aren’t good at mediation. It happens to everyone who tries to meditate or do breathwork. It’s just important to get into the habit of catching it as much as possible for mediation to be most effective.

Anyone who tries meditation or breathwork is successful. Just taking that step to better our own self and be better for those around us is an accomplishment.

Hugs, love, inner peace, and light to all! 💗

Xoxo Kim

Healing Anxiety Activity🖤

This is an Instagram post of mine I’m sharing here!

This is not a good picture but it’s the concept I’m sharing. Five years ago, I lost my close friend, who was my coworker, unexpectedly, to a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest, whatever the correct term is. Anyway, her heart just stopped out of nowhere and she collapsed to the floor and died. It wrecked & traumatized my whole world. I developed anxiety that I never had before. Not a fullblown condition but I would have sudden, insense anxiety/fear, out of the blue. Very difficult to endure. Not panic attacks but still a sense of panic. It was not interfering with life in general but definitely with my sleep and peace of mind. Not anxious thoughts usually, but anxious sensations. Bolts of fear surging through me and gripped in panic along with a couple anxious thoughts sometimes. Through the years those anxiety episodes have lessened but I still experience them. They are no longer about Diane’s death, exactly, but still rooted in that. Recently, I experienced a tragic pet loss and because of the circumstances, that fear has been coming back more again, in waves, and interfering with my sleep. My heart pounds when I’m laying as if I was running a marathon. And my insides are like in turmoil. It’s all day but worse at night. The way I see anxiety in my head is like small, sharp, gray/silver balls of activity wreaking havoc on my insides. Sometimes I imagine the balls of anxiety and visualize white or golden light around them, absorbing them into it until they are gone and only light remains. I decided to draw a picture of my imagination. I don’t draw or anything and not creative but decided to give it a try. I drew the balls in pencil then erased them til they became lighter, as if to lose much of their power, then colored them in yellow. I also wrote the word anxiety at the top and erased it then wrote inner peace over it. I colored around the paper in purple because purple/lavendar is soothing to look at and lavendar scent can have a calming effect. The pencil isn’t scented though. This is symbolic of healing anxiety. 💜💛 It’s a fun and soothing activity!

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! It’s Morning here in Philadelphia, Pa, USA! 💛

xoxo Kim

When things fall apart❤

(Not my image)

“No one’s head aches when he is comforting another.”

In the beginning of December(the December that was just here like two seconds ago), I bought a book, at Book Traders, in Olde City, Philadelphia, “When Things Fall Apart,” by Pema Chodron. It’s a Buddhist book that can apply to everyone. It’s a guide for how to handle fear and other unpleasant emotions when things are difficult in life. I was currently not experiencing anything difficult when I saw the book on the shelf and for the most part do not have many struggles in life or anything too severe in general, and so was not inclined to buy it, even though it seems like a very good book, but felt drawn to it for some reason. I love self-help/personal development books even if they are not ones I really need(not that I “need” any self help books but if we struggle with a certain issue, books on that topic may be helpful). For example, books about general anxiety or self-esteem issues, I have never struggled with serious general anxiety or self esteem issues(other than sometimes when I would be very depressed – I was diagnosed many years ago with Major Depressive Disorder and have been suicidal for years but much better now) but often find that even they have inspiring, uplifting things that can apply to me or are just pleasant to read. I especially love Buddhist books. I only had a limited amount of money for the bookstore and wanted to use it wisely! I kept going back to it, feeling that “pull.”

So I bought this book even though things were looking up and not difficult for me then.

Not long after I bought the book, my world crumbled on top of me. Again. And I was shattered to pieces.

Shattered to pieces.

Shattered. To pieces.

I wondered if I would, could ever be put back together again.

I have these “headaches.” They are not frequent but are shattering. There is no effective treatment currently known for them. They’re like cluster headaches. The source of the pain is in my jaw, not actually my head. It feels like a throbbing toothache but way, way worse than that, along with severe burning pain on the one side of my face & head. Like a hot rod being driven through the eye-socket. Like scalding hot water running down the one side of my face, taking all my skin off with it. It can feel like broken glass moving around inside my face or like someone clawing at all the muscles/joints/inner skin/elastic tendon; they feel like an icepick going through my temple, like part of my head being sliced off….They ruin me.

The pain can come and go off and on for days until it goes away for good(then comes back maybe the next year or more or sometimes sooner). It usually happens at night more than during the day.

Ultimately/Generally, I do not mind that I have these headaches. They are excruciating but it is what it is and they are rare; I don’t get them often. Once in a blue moon. Usually during Winter months, especially in December. They last a few days then gone!

I was hit with a couple somewhat recently. Ouch! I havent had one this bad in so long, I forgot how to handle them and found myself wanting to scream and hit my face(this kind of pain can provoke us to have the overwhelming urge to hit our face/head or bang it against a wall – it’s an unfathomable level of pain). I used to scream all night when I would have them years ago til my throat was raw, I lost my voice, and my mouth tasted of blood. I can’t remain still with them. I have to pace constantly all night long into the morning. Wringing my hands, keeling over, sometimes. I have once stayed awake for four days & nights straight with them. Not one moment of sleep in 4 days & nights. This was many years ago.

It’s a nightmare.

Hell on Earth.

They devastate my entire existence. They are powerful.

When I have these headaches and shortly after they end and when I vividly remember them even if I havent recently experienced one, I am reminded of the suffering and potential suffering of all of the world, of all sentient life. My deep empathy is brought out even more deeply. My compassion is set on fire and I long to heal the whole world but in a good way, not a depressing, helpless feeling even though I cant heal the world as I do not have that power. Just the feeling of that kind of compassion for others is beautiful and inspiring. Just to be in that state. These headaches inspire that compassion even more deeply in me.

When I get these headaches I am so, so happy for everyone who does not have them. Everyone I look at anywhere I go, I think at least that person is not suffering with one of these. And it’s so beautiful. Always, that heals me to think I am so thankful it’s me and not them. I want to take on all the head pain (and any other kind of pain that exists) there is in this life so no one else ever has to experience it, even if it would make my own pain worse, sevenfold.

These headaches rip me open and I am stripped to the bone. All layers of various experiences pulled back and stripped away, discarded, disregarded, dismissed. Specifics no longer matter. Raw agony effecting something universal. It is beautiful. It is agonizing.

All my innermost wisdom, my deep knowing, rising to the surface and bleeding out onto the world like hot, hot, hot lava. My face burning and throbbing and aching, the pain pulsing & screaming & burning relentlessly. Ripping me apart. Tearing me to shreds. Burning. Screaming. Burning.

Cruelty like I have never known before.

Cruelty.

Cruelty.

Torture.

Cruelty.

I brace myself as I begin my descent back to some primitive state, something animalistic unleashed in me, losing all sense of reasoning, all conditioning, all knowledge of human language, as I want to scream like a wounded animal in the night who knows nothing but anguish. I have always felt that they reduce me to half the woman I am and chain me to a world where there is nothing but fear & pain, and myself, where I lay amid the ruin of a life that a mere few seconds ago was complete, whole, sane…then destroyed in a matter of seconds, without warning. Without warning, I am a wreck on the floor in the fetal position holding or hitting my face and head, confined to Hell. Screaming in my head. Without warning, I am roaming the night, like a hungry ghost, screaming for some relief that never seems to come. Without warning, there is just fear and pain and me. And agonized screams that taste like blood.

With these headaches, I come face to face with the primal connection we all share, the basic humanness, the sentience, the potential. The underneath. And it is beautiful. So beautiful. To experience ruin like this so deeply, is a gift.

With these headaches, I know insanity; I know addiction; I know homelessness; I know all physical & emotional ailments; I know loss of all sorts; I know hunger & poverty & war & ugliness. I know callousness. I know what it is to be a criminal, a thief, a traitor. A wild animal. With these headaches, I am the predator and I am the prey.

I don’t know all of these things on the surface as I have never experienced them all themselves but I am intimate with the underpinnings, the core, the soul of them.

Through these headaches, I know destruction; I know desperation, despair, agony; I know impulse, rawness, destitution, longing, fear. I know aggression. I know Sickness. Something primitive. I am reunited with the most ancient ancestors and everyone who has come before me since the world began.

I know something gutteral. I know ruin.

And through this, I also know tenderness, compassion, love, humility. Beauty. Empathy. Gentleness. Oneness. I know wholeness. I know complete strangers who I will never meet or lay eyes on. I know beings who haven’t yet come into the world.

There is something about the raw, unearthly pain of these hellish headaches that deeply humbles me and allows me to experience a deep, deep oneness with all sentient life in a kind of way that nothing else does. I experience that oneness anyway but these headaches allow me a deeper intimacy with it. To know it at a greater depth. They allow me the advantage of breadth of all experience.

I think of all sentient life, human, animal, insect, whoever else may be out there. I hear their agonized screams, their pleads, their cries, the misery, I taste the longing, and I want to calm it all, to love away the hurt, to bring warmth and love where there is cold & yearning. I want to dry the tears of all who cry.

I want to love, love, love until the fear runs out. Then love some more. I want to love until the pain burns itself out. Then love some more.

I want to sate all hunger & quench all thirst.

Because I know this pain, I know all pain.

I know all despair.

I know it well.

I know the darkness and I know the light.

This pain is rare; most will never experience it, but there is something universal about the underpinnings of it, the desperation it brings, the fear, the dread.

There is something ancient at play. Something we have all known since beginningless time. Something we know irrespective of our location in the world. Something that knows no borders or customs or culture. If we were all stripped of all our conditioning, our culture, our skin, our superficial experiences, all our appearances, we would be identical in this something.

We all know or have the capacity to know the underpinnings of all experience. We all know the raw pain of these headaches if we know any suffering or pain or fear at all.

Most of us have experienced or can experience some sort of fear, anxiety, desperation, concern, pain, anger, terror, loss, love…we don’t need these headaches to bring us those experiences. The headaches are a reminder. A gift.

All painful experiences are a gift in disguise. They give us the opportunity to rise above and evolve into something even better, to reach out into the uni-verse and love someone today, even a complete stranger. Painful, terrifying experiences may seem like a malicious enemy but they can really be a loving friend to us if only we let them. A friend who shows us “tough love” on the surface while ultimately allowing us to deeply know a warm, soft tenderness at the core of our suffering, at the core of all suffering. A tenderness so sweet & loving, so warm, so gentle but so fierce.

I read something in this book that seems to mirror my own experience here. I will share an excerpt:

“I once attended a lecture about a man’s spirtual experiences in India in the 1960s. He said he was determined to get rid of his negative emotions. He struggled against anger and lust; he struggled against laziness and pride. But mostly he wanted to get rid of his fear. His meditation teacher kept telling him to stop struggling, but he took that as just another way of explaining how to overcome his obstacles.
Finally the teacher sent him off to meditate in a tiny hut in the foothills. He shut the door and settled down to practice, and when it got dark he lit three small candles. Around midnight he heard a noise in the corner of the room, and in the darkness he saw a very large snake. It looked to him like a king cobra. It was right in front of him, swaying. All night he stayed totally alert, keeping his eyes on the snake. He was so afraid that he couldn’t move. There was just the snake and himself and fear.
Just before dawn the last candle went out, and he began to cry. He cried not in despair but from tenderness. He felt the longing of all the animals and people in the world; he knew their alienation and their struggle. All his meditation had been nothing but further separation and struggle. He accepted-really accepted wholeheartedly-that he was angry and jealous, that he resisted and struggled, and that he was afraid. He accepted that he was also precious beyond measure-wise and foolish, rich and poor, and totally unfathomable. He felt so much gratitude that in the total darkness he stood up, walked toward the snake, and bowed. Then he fell sound asleep on the floor. When he awoke, the snake was gone. He never knew if it was his imagination or if it had really been there, and it didn’t seem to matter. As he put it at the end of the lecture, that much intimacy with fear caused his dramas to collapse, and the world around him finally got through.” (pp. 3-4)

What a beautiful reminder of how, fundamentally, we are all the same. No matter what, we are all capable of suffering. We all gravitate towards relief, pleasure, happiness, comfort, life and all ultimately want to avoid fear, and pain, and suffering of any sort. We can use our own experiences with fear and/or pain to teach or remind us of compassion and empathy. Remember whatever we are experiencing, others are as well or already have or can experience it. We are not alone in our fear, pain, anger, suffering….and we can use it to deepen our love for all sentient life, let it bring us closer to the oneness that we all share, the humaness, the sentience.
Let it humble us and inspire us.
Let us be kind to all living beings. They are us. We are them.

Let us bow to the things that bring us so much fear & pain. They are our sacred Teachers. They are the bridges that lead us to each other. Let us bow before them in extreme gratitude and boundless reverence.

Here are two videos of young women experiencing headaches similar to the ones I have:

Cluster attack #1

Cluster attack #2

These videos are kind of “graphic.” The two women are screaming hysterically, uncontrollably, in unimaginable physical agony. It’s not an exaggeration or overreaction. It is literally impossible to exaggerate the pain of these attacks. It is so, so, so severe already, there is no way to exaggerate it. If you do not have earphones and there are people around, you may not want to click on the links with volume up. If you want to click on them at all.

They were diagnosed with Cluster Headache Disorder(CH), considered to be the worst pain known to medical science. Many women with them who have given birth, have said it’s worse than the pain of childbirth! Holy 💩!!

I was not diagnosed with this headache disorder but I have another disorder that mimics cluster headaches, migraine headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, and severe toothaches, and other kinds of pain. My disorder is not as bad as Cluster & Migraine disorder. My pain is less frequent & often less intense. But it does get so bad.

For Cluster Headache Disorder, breathing in oxygen through a machine can help with the pain sometimes. They themselves are not life threatening but many people become suicidal while having one of these headaches, not necessarily because of depression, but because the pain is so immense it’s hard to imagine living even another second with it. The one young woman is in a hospital participating in a trial thing if I understand correctly.

Wouldn’t you give anything to take their pain away? I would in a second take it all on myself if I could, to stop theirs. I find their suffering so unbearable. But it doesn’t depress me. It doesn’t drag me down. It motivates me to want to act on kindness in any way I can. It inspires in me a deeper love, a higher love.

Higher Love – Steve Winwood

“Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart; I’ll look inside mine”

Also, I haven’t yet read the book in its entirety but what I have read up to now, is very inspiring, as you can well see!

He’s My Son -Mark Schultz

“I’m down on my knees again tonight.”

This is a song about a mom & a dad on the verge of losing a sick child to death. It’s a beautiful, warm, tender, gut-wrenching song. It guts me and leaves me hollow inside. I do not know their pain but the deep, desperation of the message and choice of words and the music has always reminded me of the pain/desperation of cluster headaches & similar pain. Of course, I think the struggle of having a sick child is way, way worse. But there is just something about the desperation here that resonates with me in a deep way.

When things fall apart, let us remember to take all the life lessons, the pain, the wisdom, the fear….and let it fuel us to reach out & love others.

Much love and light to you who is reading this. I wish you peace, love, & comfort. Joy, hope, and gratitude. Health & happiness, always.

Xoxo Kim❤

So THIS is happening💚

(Living kidney donor screening questionnaire)

You’ll never see exactly where the road will lead you, and when it comes to love, you gamble when you need to..
You’ll maybe break your heart on one unlucky throw… but then again, You’ll Never know…❤

You’ll Never Know – Ringo Starr

It’s happening.

I have been holding onto this big dream for many, many years. Since I was a young woman, I had this one big thing I knew I would grow up to do. But it is a dream that felt “too big.” Too scary. Too complicated. Out of my league. So I would put it off and say “some day.” It will happen. Some day. One day. Way into the future.
I had various excuses. I should be older first. I should graduate college first. I should have a place of my own first. I should have a “real job” first, Im probably not qualified because I have depression…..so many “shoulds.”
A year and a half ago, just out of the blue, this dream began to nag me day & night. I kept telling it to go away that I would get around to it. Some day. But it would not let up. It was on my mind day and night. It was in my dreams while I slept! It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up in the morning! It was the last thing falling asleep. It made no sense; it came out of nowhere like this. I thought about it for years off and on but then it just came to stay. And nag me every second.

So I gave in and said ok. I did research all day and night and prepared myself as best as I could to make the call. To answer the call.
I changed my diet and became a health nut. I stopped drinking soda and lots more water. I started walking even more than usual. I began consuming lots more fruits and vegetables. I talked to various people who already did what I will do, and others involved, about my plan and what it will be like. They were all positive and encouraging.

But still, I kept telling myself circumstances can be better. I have to wait. Wait for what? Who knows…but I have to wait. But it nagged me. The dream, it would not give up calling to me.

Finally I gave in. And one day, some day became today.

I answered the call and made the call.

I contacted the Kidney Transplant center and offered one of my kidneys to the next person on the wait list. Whoever it is, I do not know or care. All I know is, this is a person who has to live and wants to live. And that is enough for me.

So today. This is happening.

I am now beginning the process of donating one of my kidneys…..to a random stranger at a transplant center here in Philadelphia. Someone I have never met and probably will never meet because I am choosing the completely anonymous way.

What in the WHAT?!?!

Me? Just an average girl who lives at home with mom, sister, and dad. An average girl with an average job. No special talents or skills. I’m not adventurous and never travel anywhere, dont go on vacations, dont have lots of friends, always had average grades in school, I was never a fitness freak or health nut, havent run marathons, or won any awards, I go to work each day and then straight home, the simplest, most average life imaginable….so what business do I have taking a plunge like this, having my gut sliced open and a kidney cut off my bladder, possibly dying on the operating table(ok so that’s a bit dramatic and is rare), for a random person I do not know and probably never will?

Well, I have two healthy kidneys and a big ‘ole heart and just a little bit of courage….and that is just about all I need to embark on this incredible journey of love.

I am about to undergo a battery of extensive, extremely thourough medical & psychiatric testing. My entire body, inside and out, head to toe, will be examined and I will spend grueling hours with multiple mental health professionals for psychiatric testing to make sure I’m not batshit cray for volunteering to give my kidney to a total stranger. (I promise I’m not! I’m just a universal lover who strongly believes everyone is just as important as my own family/friends) and they want to make sure I’m emotionally strong enough to endure the entire process and that I am not being coerced into it. It’s not all pretty and not for the faint of heart. I will have to meet with a nutritionist or dietician and financial counselors (because I will be out of work for months recovering and have to show them that I will still be good financially.)

I have a history of major depressive disorder(im much much better and not depressed now at all & no longer treated), a kidney stone in 2007 that led to emergency surgery(I remember thinking “well damn I guess im not going to be allowed to donate a kidney one day now” and that is one of the first things I said to my mom upon waking).

These are known as relative disqualifiers, which means I can be rejected for them but will not necessarily be. The team has to know more about them. There are absolute disqualifiers that will render someone ineligible at every transplant center. These include HIV(I am a regular blood donor and do not have this), diabetes(hopefully don’t have this but don’t know – it’s the #1 thing leading to kidney disease), serious high blood pressure problems(dont have this), hep (no), cancer(hopefully not!)…

Currently, I’m in the screening process to see if I even stand a chance at all; some people are rejected right off before testing even begins. They are going to review my application at the center and if they believe it’s all good, they will contact me back and tell me to come on in for the official process to begin!

If they just toss it out, at least I tried! I reached out in love and that will have to be enough. But if they say no, I will move on to a different transplant center until one gives me a chance. It is extremely difficult to be accepted as a living donor. Most people are not healthy enough. And many are considered to be just not cut out for it emotionally. It’s no joke! It’s a very serious, serious matter that just is not for everyone.
The average person would be rejected because of physical health issues and then financial issues. We do not pay for the transplant or donor surgery but we do pay for any medical complications we may experience; there are traveling/hotel expenses, and we’re out of work for months and will not be getting paid. I live right here so no traveling expenses for me. If one transplant center rejects us for a relative disqualifier, another may accept us.

This one is a good choice because I read about some of the doctors and they are very warm and caring. There is an altruistic kidney donor here in Philadelphia who gave her kidney to a man also in Philadelphia and this is the center they had their transplant. The story is beautiful. He cried to be loved so much by a complete stranger. And she joked and said he’s crying because he has a woman’s kidney. They did theirs a different way. She chose him and happened to be a match and healthy enough. She chose to remain anonymous at first then revealed herself. Theirs is called altruistic directed. She heard his story about his need for a kidney and got tested for him specifically. I am doing non-directed where there is no specific person in mind. It will go to the sickest who I am a match for. This is always anonymous and I prefer this.

I hope this can inspire anyone else with a dream or goal to go on and take that very first step if it’s something that truly resonates with you. We all have fear in us and love in us. If something resonates with us and calls to us, and we say no or ignore it because we are afraid it wont work out, afraid of getting hurt, afraid it will not go as planned….afraid of anything, we are acting on the fear instead of the love. Is that any way to live? If something just is not worth it to us and we are afraid, that is one thing and is ok to say no to it. But if something is our passion and our calling and we say no out of fear, that sucks! Fear is not worthy of being the one that gets our attention. Love is.

So go ahead, reach out, take the plunge, whatever is calling to you, nagging you, resonating with you, go for it! Even if we are currently unsure about something, it certainly won’t hurt to find out more about it. And if all falls to pieces, at least we can be proud to say we tried and our action was aligned with our truth, life philosophy, passion. At least we can say we acted on love and kicked that fear to the curb.

People have asked me “What if you die?” And my response is, I would prefer to die a young woman on an operating table living my dream than die a healthy old woman, safe in my bed, never even trying because I listened to the fear in me and ignored the Love. What if I die? Then at least I will die living & loving. How does that old cliche go? Something like, what matters is not how long we live but how well we live, not the number of years in our life but the life in our years.

Isn’t that what life is all about? Taking chances, big or small, reaching out, being all that we can be, doing the best we can, then letting go and whatever will be will be. It’s not about cowering in a corner, shaking, living safely in a bubble, not doing what we dream of, just to die in the end anyway. Shake. Be terrified. Let your hands tremble and sweat and your mouth dry up in fear. Let your voice quiver and your legs turn to jelly. Push through that overwhelming “I can’t do this” and “I’m not cut out for it” feeling and try. Maybe we really can’t do this. We all have something that for whatever reason, we can’t do. Maybe we truly aren’t cut out for it. Maybe we don’t have the skills or the heath or the ability. And that is ok! But what isn’t good is not even trying because of fear.

Take that first step anyway and keep, keep going for as long as you can. Conquer that terror. Show it who is really the boss here. Welcome it, let it take up residence here in your world, embrace it as a companion but don’t let it win! Let the love ultimately win.

“Death is inevitable. Living a life we can be proud of is something we can control.” ~ Claire Wineland
(Claire was a beautiful, bold, brave young woman who died of an unexpected complication during recovery following a successful lung transplant)

Does this dream of mine scare me? Oh yes! I am pissing my pants! There are so many ways to fail at this, so many chances for me to be rejected, so many things that can go wrong with my body during surgery and even during some of the medical tests and even years later even if all goes well. The remaining kidney can stop working after the other is removed and it may not happen til years later but that is rare. I hear there is ironically a mandatory test to check my kidneys to make sure they are healthy but this very test can make them fail?! The transplant team can decide that I am a total basket case during the evaluations. They can find cancer during all the scans I have to get. And the list goes on of all the things I have to fear.

But the love in me is what is winning. The love is what I will focus on all throughout this journey wherever it will lead me to and no matter how short or long lived it is. Fear will take the back burner where it belongs. And love will lead the way.

So yeah, this 💩 is finally happening!

Wish us luck!

Much love, light, & courage to you; be brave, be bold, be strong; keep going; whatever it is you got this!❤

Xoxo Kim

Courage ❤

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you’ll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey.”

I was watching the Princess Diaries movie and found this gem!

If there is something that truly resonates with us and we avoid it out of fear then we are placing more importance upon the fear than whatever it is that is calling to us.

If there is something you have been longing to do but fear is holding you back and you need a little push, here it is! 😁❤

Much love & light,

Xoxo Kim

Today

(A pretty picture I took today – April 14th, 2018 but when I publish it, it will probably say April 15th because it’s nearly 10:00pm now)

“By effort and heedfulness, discipline, and self-mastery, let the wise one make for oneself an island which no flood can overwhelm.”

Today, I got onto an elevator for work. I could have taken the stairs but chose the elevator. I was on the 4th floor of the apartment building. Going back down, I felt that the doors were taking longer than they’re supposed to to open and guess what?! I felt not one ounce of fear!! Not one little flash of fear, anxiety, panic, nothing!! And did not even feel a sense of panic coming on or anticipate it like I often do. This is incredible progress! This has to be my greatest accomplishment in this life, ever!

In case anyone reading this is confused or it seems like no big deal, here is some background info. about my experience with phobic fear:

F.E.A.R

It actually freaking happened

Welcome to rock bottom-the only way now is up

Serendipitous Strength

Phobia.

It’s a big, big thing! I suffered another terrible relapse recently and now I healed it again and can get on elevators myself with no fear! I have been working hard to heal this phobia. It doesn’t always take long to heal a relapse. Phobias are weak, even though they feel extremely powerful, and they lose their power very easily when properly faced again & again.

“Unlike many other mental health problems, phobias can be brought under manageable control or even totally destroyed, sometimes within hours. This is a far cry from some of the medium- to long-term work which is required for other mental health issues. So the good news is that phobias are relatively easy to deal with, providing you have the correct knowledge, support and treatment plan, along with a determined and proactive attitude. In life there are many REAL problems, which we all have to contend with, so my view is that we should conserve our energy to tackle those by ridding ourselves of the UNREAL threats, which are the hallmarks of a phobia.” ~Patricia Furness-Smith

The way I am recovering mostly, is exposure in combination with Buddhist philosophy (that can apply to anyone at all, not just Buddhist people – see Dhamma quote above). Even without the meditation part (which is also great!), I find Buddhist philosophy so very helpful in healing my fear (and in general!).

The reason that this is such a big accomplishment is not the amount of work it takes or the duration of treatment but the amount of courage & strength it takes to face it. It is hard!!

I am working on not just recovering but building my mindset in a way to see elevators as a safe place, a place of comfort, a space where I experience a feeling of being embraced in warmth & safety, security (i know security is an illusion but dont mind feeling secure in a place I once felt seemingly unbearable terror and panic). I don’t just want to tolerate them and don’t want them to just be a mundane thing or task I have to perform. I aspire to come to seeing them as an opportunity for a few moments of simple joy or pleasure.

I may not be recovered just yet or my recovery may be shaky and at risk for relapse again. It’s new and not quite ingrained yet. But it will be and then evolve into something more. I feel that Im already inclined to view elevators as a warm, cozy, safe place. Why not? They are safe for the most part. In there, alone, I am protected against the dangers of the world. I can feel that to some degree but not in great depth yet. Im working on it!

This is my goal!

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are!

Much love & light, always,

Xoxo Kim

Phobia.

Roll With It – Steve Winwood

“When life is too much, roll with it, baby
Don’t stop and lose your touch, oh no, baby
Hard times knocking on your door
I’ll tell them you ain’t there no more
Get on through it, roll with it, baby
Luck’ll come and then slip away
You’ve gotta move, bring it back to stay
You just roll with it, baby
Come on and just roll with it, baby
You and me, roll with it, baby”

Recently, I chose to do something incredibly brave, to aid in my recovery. Every part of my body was telling me to run. There were all kinds of physical sensations all over my body, unpleasant ones, including light-headedness, fear, dry mouth, trembling sensations in my hands & legs, heart pounding…but some intuition deep inside was telling me to stay. The physical urge to run was much more easy to listen to and I was tempted. But I made up my mind. The intuition deep within is the wise voice, softer, gentler, just a whisper to “stay” next to that loud screaming “RUN” but definitely wiser. And I wont let the voice of fear drown the voice of wisdom.

So I chose to STAY.

I was standing before an elevator, alone, on the 2nd floor of a building. Right next to the elevator is a door to the stairs. I could have easily walked through the doorway to the stairs and walked down in less than a minute, which is what my intense fear was urging me to do.

But I chose to listen to that quiet but strong intuition telling me to empower myself, not my fear. For me to continuously avoid my fear (of small, closed in places, especially alone in elevators), at all costs, is to feed that fear. To give it power.

For me to face my fear, no matter how immense, no matter how suffocating, traumatic, terrible it is, is to loosen its grip on me, release me of its bondage and empower myself.

This is a fear so incredibly powerful, it knocks the wind out of me and weakens my body. I become lightheaded & disoriented and feel as if I may actually die. I have to face it & embrace it to conquer it. A cruel, twisted kind of irony to have to subject myself to the very thing that scares me most, but it is what it is.

I would have taken the stairs in this building anyway as it was only the 2nd floor but I saw this as an opportunity to evolve and I took it.

So I bravely stepped into that elevator and pushed the “1” button with my near trembling finger and watched in dismay as the doors closed on me, completely expunging my sense of control and actual control. The second the doors close, I am no longer in a position to choose. I cannot choose to run, to change my mind and take the stairs as I cant open an elevator on my own.

As the doors close, I instantly wonder if I have made a bad mistake. Maybe I should have run, taking the safe route, the easy way, the stairs. Sometimes, in buildings, we don’t have access to the stairs and I have no choice. But on this occasion, I had a choice and chose to lock myself in a big, mechanical box, alone.

But instead of completely breaking down, I stood strong and focused on my breath, each inhalation & exhalation and I became one with that breath. I felt the fear every few seconds, trying to get the best of me, that impending sense of panic threatening to overtake me, and acknowledged that fear then let it go. I felt it dissipate with each in breath & out breath. And before I knew it, there were the elevator doors wide open, inviting me to walk out into the rest of my day. Simple as that.

See, it’s really not so bad, is it?

But what if….

What if…the doors wouldn’t have opened?

What if…i would have been stuck in there all by myself?!

What if…the elevator malfunctioned and no one knew until way later or ever???

What if…one occasion it just doesn’t open and im stuck in there alone forever?!?!?!

What if….those incessant what ifs…relentless & plaguing…

After the doors close and sometimes even when Im not on an elevator but recently got out of one or will soon have to get inside one or sometimes just thinking about it, these are the thoughts that ensue. These what if’s…

But “what if…” doesn’t matter. What IS, is what does matter. And whatever is just is and that is that. I will breathe and focus and roll with it and endure until it’s over. And it will be over eventually, whatever “it” is.

After stepping off of the elevator, I planned to go right to another elevator and step inside, just to face my fear again.

And while it’s very helpful and wise and necessary to face our phobic fear again and again and again, there is such a thing as “too much, too soon” and “overdoing.” I know the value of breaks and rest and moderation and balance. Preserving energy and choosing wisely is a good thing. Generally, we have to keep facing this fear and not running. But a break when needed is also necessary. I felt that running directly to another elevator would have been more draining and detrimental than good. This may not always be the case but this moment, it was. Deep inside, I knew a rest is what I needed then, not more trauma.

Remember to keep going but also remember to rest when needed. Running, falling, once in a while is ok. Just keep getting back up!

Im not recovered. Not even halfway to recovery. And I may still have relapses and probably will before & even after full recovery. Who knows? But I discovered a place in me with a strong foundation that isn’t easy to be demolished and can be rebuilt even if it is.

Im not sorry to have encountered this struggle. I dont wish it never happened to me and dont necessarily wish it would just go away. Of course, I want this fear to heal and thats why im doing all this work. But i dont mind it. It’s a gift to have this opportunity to get better and have deeper empathy for others in similar situations. I see so much beauty in it.

Just last month, I think, my fear was so frequent, so intense, so debilitating, I became depressed and suicidal. I could hardly hold a toothbrush. I wanted to die just knowing that it’s possible to be trapped in an elevator alone. Just knowing it’s possible. Not even because it may happen. Just because it’s possible. My depression became an entity of its own and was not even just about the fear anymore.

Now here I am. Strong and still standing.

I want to share it because i believe we all have that strength to endure any battle and be even better for it. We all have the strength to see beauty in any struggle and to reach out to others in any way we can, to inspire and uplift, or just listen and understand.

The way to recover is to seize opportunities to practice no matter how difficult it is. It is very, very difficult but worth the struggle, the trauma, the pain, the terror.

Im not posting this to brag. Lol Im posting this because one night I was laying in my bed desperately longing to meet someone. A strong woman with some sort of severe phobia, preferably one similar to my own but any would do. I pined for a woman who faces her worst fear and lives to tell about it. A woman who conquered or conquers that fear. One who chose to rise above and lift others along the way.

I laid in my bed and fantasized and hoped so much to meet this strong, confident woman, either in person, in a book, or online and dreamed of being cloaked in her strength, enveloped in her compassion, lifted by her motivation, and empowered by her story. Inspired by her light.

I wanted to find blogs, books, stories… that chronicle her experiences.

I wanted to find this woman somewhere, anywhere, but couldn’t find her.

Then it hit me….

I can be this woman.

I am this woman.

I’m her.

So here I am, sharing my great fear and hoping to inspire, lift, help empower, and console someone who is struggling.

If you are someone who is struggling with a phobia/anxiety of any sort, maybe a social phobia/anxiety, or fear involving being on an airplane when you have to get on one(I have to get on elevators for work and feel your pain!), insects, or maybe a less common fear like fear of swallowing or fear of dolls, maybe a fear of dogs or noises… or any difficult situation, I embrace you in my love & am cheering you on. We all have different triggers but it’s that terrible, breathtaking panic & fear, outright terror, that we can all relate to.

Keep going. You got this!

Xoxo Kim❤

F.E.A.R

My therapist recently told me that we have a choice for how to handle fear. We can Fuck Everything and Run (lol!) or Face Everything and Recover. He said that both are ok but of course facing & recovering is more healthy and in the end will likely bring us the more desired results.

Recently, I encountered a scary situation. And I remembered my F.E.A.R choices. And I chose to……fuck everything and run. Lol!

The scary situation? Having to go into a building with an elevator.

In case you don’t know, I’m deathly afraid of being closed in small places alone, especially elevators – always have been and don’t know why – sometimes I actually feel like I’m going to die when I just think about it; I actually feel like death is around me, squeezing me, suffocating me. You can read more about my struggles & victories in these posts if you want!

It actually freaking happened

Serendipitous Strength

welcome to rock bottom – the only way is up

My choices? To suck it up and get on the elevator & know I have the courage & strength to handle it (going up I have to get on because the door to stairs is locked but coming back down, I can take the stairs), to take advantage of this opportunity for growth or to take the stairs and avoid that fear and the possibility of getting trapped on one by myself. And yes, I chose the second. :-/

Generally, I’m really good with facing my fear and even staying calm and getting inside the elevators alone. But this is the building where I recently got stuck in one, very briefly but still not pleasant(and I handled it so well, I must say!) and I just felt that I was in no mood for any nonsense that morning. Lol

It’s good for me to get onto elevators alone as much as I can so I can stregthen my courage & inner peace with them. I haven’t suffered any terrible relapse recently. But it’s possible that I can as I have before. Sometimes my heart still races a bit and my hands almost tremble when I get onto elevators alone but sometimes I’m very calm when I do. For a while, my phobic fear was pretty much gone, healed, recoverd. But I suffered a relapse a while ago and began to struggle again. Nowhere near as badly as before but still a bit of a struggle.

The morning I was in that building, I was struggling with the phobic fear and wasn’t up to facing it.

So when the elevator doors opened, I bolted and ran for the stairs.

I won’t make a habit of it. I will still choose to get into elevators alone and know I can handle whatever comes my way. I will remember my strength and progress and accomplishments. But there will also be moments I’ll give into weakness, forget my strength and courage and take the easy way, the way that doesn’t allow as much growth and an opportunity to strengthen my courage & virtue of patience. And that’s ok too!

We don’t always, always have to be strong and brave and inspiring and positive and perfect.

I’m generally very positive and mostly use social media for sharing inspirational and/or happy/positive things. But I also think it’s good to be genuine and share my not so inspiring experiences/choices. Like running away and not facing my fear.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t write a post about how I was brave and strong in the face of my phobic fear and how I handled it like a pro! Lol I was sorry I couldn’t use my own experience to try to inspire others or encourage someone to be brave, feel the fear and do it anyway. I could have written that post but it would be dishonest.

But then I remembered that sharing our weaknesses and less than pleasant aspects and experiences can be just as inspiring and just as encouraging and uplifting to others as sharing our strengths. There are others who run, make mistakes, have setbacks, do things that aren’t the best. And sharing this can help each other see that someone else understands and that it’s actually ok. We have permission to not always be positive and strong and brave. We have permission to falter. To stumble. To fall. We have permission to run once in a while. Just so long as it doesn’t become a habit or way of life, it’s all good! And if it does become an unhealthy habit, that’s ok, we can fix it. Habits can be reversed. Fall and get back up.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Or not.

Whatever you choose, I’m here cheering you on!

Virtual Hugs to you! ❤ (virtual hugs are good for all because even if you don’t like actual hugs, you’re not actually being touched. lol)

Xoxo Kim

It actually freaking happened!!!!

(Not my photo)

I wrote this a few days ago and lost the courage to post it lol

Ahhh, fuck me, it finally happened!

Is someone kidding me or what?!

If you read my post here, you’re not going to believe this but it happened!

I GOT STUCK ON AN ELEVATOR BY MYSELF!!!! lol I promise I’m not joking.

(I would probably be too terrified to joke about that! 😲😨😱😭😢)

I’m really amused. I’m just laughing at the irony. It reminds me of the Alanis Morrissette song ‘cept my ironic predicament isn’t nearly as grave.

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
Well isn’t this nice…
And isn’t it ironic… Don’t you think

Alanis Morissette – Ironic

Somehow, somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt safe. As terrified as I was about getting trapped on an elevator by myself, some part of me believed with everything I have in me, that since I’m so scared of being trapped in one, it’s not going to happen. (This probably isn’t a statistically correct way of reasoning) What are the chances, right?!

Wrong!! It’s like the uni-verse got a consciousness and decided to play some cruel joke on me. Some twisted, sicko, psycho joke.

Tuesday, for work, I had to go to Center City, Philadelphia to visit this cutie:

When I got onto an elevator and the doors closed, I did what I really shouldn’t do and watched the digital floor numbers. When I watch, it feels like an eternity before they change. Just like waiting for food in an oven to be complete. Keep checking and it’s not getting done. Lol It just feels that way.

So anyway, I got on an elevator on the 4th floor, the doors closed, I watched the 4 and it was taking way too long to change and I told myself it’s just the usual thing where because I’m watching and waiting, it seems like forever. But no. Five seconds later, 10, 20, a minute (!!!!!) later and elevator is not moving and the red 4 is just there. Wwhhhaaattt?!?! And I’m waiting for panic to settle in.

But it doesn’t. I feel calm as can be. Wwhhhaaattt?!?! Me, stuck inside an elevator by myself and just a little tinge of anxiety?!?!

My heart began beating a little bit faster and my hands were a bit trembly but no panic or intense fear.

I pushed the “call” button and “alarm” button and they wouldn’t do 💩. The call button made a brief ringing noise but no one answered. I kept pushing them alternately, call, alarm, call, alarm. The alarm did nothing at all and call kept ringing with no answer. One thing I found comforting was the fact that I heard the janitor through the elevator doors. So I started knocking loudly on the doors and yelling “excuse me!” But no one answered me.

Then the elevator started calling out floor numbers and its voice started becoming jumbled and it was quickly calling out numbers that weren’t showing on the screen and the voice was speeding up. Then the elevator started going up instead of down, which was what I was trying to do, go down to the lobby.

Then a new fear crept in. The elevator seemed to be going berserk and I wondered if it was going to drop & crash and crush me to death or something. So this is my death day, for a second I was really wondering.

When it got to the 10th floor, it finally opened!!! And there was a kind young man holding an adorable golden puppy in his arms. I got off the elevator and explained what happened and told him he may not want to get on that one since it was just malfunctioning.

He thanked me and expressed empathy and told me it must have been scary. He had no idea! Probably a bit scary for anyone but a girl with the phobic fear I struggle with!? Since he seemed so warm & understanding, I told him about my immense fear and how I worked on myself, including professional therapy, to heal the fear, and he was so understanding! So here I was spilling my guts to a complete stranger in a hallway. And he listened so well. Im so touched!❤

I thought I was going to have a complete breakdown. Not because I felt like I was going to. I actually did not feel that way. But because I’m me and that’s what I do at the mere thought of being trapped in an elevator alone, break down. Lol

But I’m still standing!

It hit me harder when I got home at night. Still no panic or breakdowns but fear & anger. Im not sure what Im angry at but it’s just so bizarre and twisted that my worst nightmare actually came true. Law of attraction much? Lol

I’m so freaked out and don’t know what to make of it.

And I’m not completely sure why I did not panic while in the elevator or after it was all over. Looks like all my personal development work really paid off! I wasn’t sure if I was just shocked and too numb to feel fullblown fear but even later after it was all over and the shock wore off, I still wasn’t a wreck.

But right now thinking about being stuck in an elevator, I can’t imagine not panicking. It seems scarier in my head than it is in reality.

I used to hurt myself impulsively if I thought I was going to be stuck in an elevator. I would be so overcome in terror, I would go into a panic and scratch myself with my fingernails until my skin would bleed or I would just squeeze part of my body really hard, like not on purpose but just automatically. I even did this recently on an elevator but Tuesday I did not hurt myself at all or even think about it or have an urge to.

For as long as I can remember, I have recurring nightmares, off and on, about being trapped on an elevator by myself or just having to go on one and being terrified. When I was recently stuck in one, when I first realized it was happening, it felt like I was reliving one of my nightmares that happen when I sleep. That feeling only occurred at first then wore off.

So nightmares really do come true! 😉

Isn’t it ironic?

A little too ironic. 😃

And reading this, it may seem that I was in there a long while but it was really less than five minutes. I felt more like it was an inconvenience than a terrifying experience.

Hugs to everyone who wants any!

Much love & light,

Xoxo Kim ❤

Welcome to rock bottom -the only way now is UP

“Face to face, out in the heat

Hanging tough, staying hungry

They stack the odds still we take to the street

For the kill with the skill to survive”🐯

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Here is a post I wrote a couple days ago and just edited it a bit.

“Welcome to Rock Bottom

One day, after another routinely dreadful morning, I sat in my car looking at our office and thinking, ‘I DO NOT want to go in there. I hate my job. I can’t stand Frank. I don’t make enough money. I am so underutilized! Should I leave the company? Would I even be missed? What’s the point of all this anyway? Is this really my life? This can’t be my life.’ And there it was. I had finally reached it—I was at rock bottom. As I mentioned, I believe rock bottom is the moment when you finally find the power and the strength you’ve always been lacking to change your today and go on to create a better tomorrow. I knew I couldn’t get any lower, and at that moment, I realized that all of the training, coaching, reading, and inspiring I’d engaged in just a few years earlier had not disappeared completely. I started to sense something deep within. There was still a tiny spark of hope that things could get better. That internal spark was like a smothered flame that just needed a little air, and as soon as I realized the spark was there, it was as if someone poured kerosene on it. I started to think: ‘If my circumstances won’t change, maybe I can change the way I look at my circumstances, and maybe as a result, they actually WILL change.'”

These are wise words by Kevin Clayson, author of Flip the Gratitude Switch. I have experienced “rock bottom” before, just like he mentions here, where it’s like I just can’t get any lower, so desperate, plummeting to the lowest depths of my despair, until I can’t possibly sink any lower. Pulled deeper and deeper and deeper into some dark, seemingly endless abyss when finally I realize there is an end. And I have reached it.

What do we do when our world is crumbling on top of us, when everything shatters, when it’s hard to stand, so difficult just to live & breathe, and we are pulled so low we can’t go any lower?

We rise.

Usually when I have experienced this “rock bottom,” it’s with depression and sometimes when my chronic physical pain disorder is flaring up to what seems like unbearable levels and my body is wracked in physical agony beyond belief. The only way I can get lower when I’m like this, is to be put in the ground. I haven’t experienced these things in a long while. My physical pain disorder has been doing so well. I have been experiencing mild to no pain each & every day. Thanking my lucky stars! And I can’t even remember when I was last depressed! I’m so happy!

But it’s true, this morning I realized I have hit “rock bottom.” A different kind of rock bottom. Not depression of any kind or physical pain. But still I have found my self in a very low place in this life. Two months ago, I think it was, October, I wasn’t depressed or in physical pain but was in Hell everyday for a couple weeks. It ended for a while and now is back!🙊😱

This Hell I speak of is fear. Terror. Not just a bit of anxiety. Fullblown fear. It’s not fear in general but about a specific thing. As I mentioned here, in a post titled Serendipitous Strength, I used to be deathly afraid of being closed in small places that I can’t just get out of the second I want to, especially elevators and especially when I’m alone. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Why is a mystery. As a child, I had breakdowns going on elevators even with my mom & dad.

I healed myself. It is an incredible accomplishment and awe-inspiring. The fact that I had a relapse doesn’t matter. It doesnt change how incredible it is. I healed this fear once and can and will heal it again.

I never worked on this fear specifically but during my personal development journey, my quest to find healing, working on myself to help heal my depression and cope with tmjd “cluster headaches” without realizing it, I was conquering my fear of being closed in. With my personal development plan I teach myself and train my brain to know I can handle and conquer anything. To know I will always be free no matter what position I’m in in this life. To know life is a gift no matter what. To see positivity and opportunity in any situation no matter how dreadful. I trained my brain with meditation and quotes and music and songs and writing to stay calm and composed for the most part, in any situation no matter what, no matter how painful physically or emotionally. (Out of my post Serendipitous Strength)

The #1 one thing that helps me with my fear is my Buddhist studies, not even just meditation but the writings I read even when I don’t put them into practice as intended. Just the reads are so powerful. All of these other things, quotes, songs, basic mindfulness…, helped me to a great extent, with depression & chronic pain and when I found Kadampa Buddhism, I found deeper healing and healing for this fear.

Somewhat recently, I suffered a relapse and my old fear returned to me with a vengeance. The second the elevator doors close and I’m on there alone, my first thought is “I’m screwed” and a sense of panic arises.

For work, I sometimes have to get on elevators. For about ten months I had to seven days a week, mostly by myself. Thankfully my fear was healed. But in a fraction of a second, while on an elevator, by myself, I suffered a relapse. I made the mistake of watching the numbers go up and waiting for the doors to open and you know when we watch & wait, a second feels like forever. I felt the doors took a second longer than usual to open and that’s all it took to bring that breath-taking fear crashing back into me. Flooded with terror, when the door finally opened, I stumbled into the hallway, trembling inside & out, legs like jelly, dizzy, panicked.

And my fear has been with me since then. I no longer have to be on an elevator every single day anymore and that may be part of the problem. I’m no longer accustomed to it and no longer have that chance to practice being calm on an elevator everyday. Now with those two things, the relapse & being out of touch with elevators, I nearly fall to pieces when I have to get on one by myself. I’m not scared anymore if I’m on an elevator with a dog or a human.

What if the elevator malfunctions while I’m on there myself and I’m trapped inside a box for who knows how long? My worst nightmare. I know I can handle it. My conviction is strong. But I don’t always feel that I can handle it. My conviction never falters. I know anyone can handle anything if we train our brain and adjust our attitude. But sometimes I focus too much on the feeling of not being able to handle it. And i fear if i get trapped, I will become a blubbering wreck and never recover. Two or more weeks away and when I think of it, my head is in turmoil.

(Photo not mine)

I am not someone who curses a lot out loud, in writing, or in my head. It’s not that I think it’s wrong. I love when people curse a lot. Lol It’s just not me. But early, this morning I was walking up a street thinking about how in a few weeks I will be required to get onto an elevator(the doors for staircases in some buildings open to get outside but are locked on the outside to get upstairs so elevators are generally required), most likely alone, and everyday for at least a week, and how I’m going to be living & breathing fear, I’m going to be a total wreck in my head, just like two months ago, and I just thought Fuck this shit. Seriously, fuck it. I am done. Not done with life or with work. I am done being conquered by this fear. So done. And I realized I have hit rock bottom two months ago and am still here now. And I remembered Mr. Clayson’s story about how rock bottom is our opportunity to rise above. I will rise above this fear. I will conquer it.

How? I’m not quite sure but I know I will. I will discipline my brain. And I have a few things in mind. More intensive Dharma practice & gratitude practice, The Work, rhythmic breathing, desensitization…

There is no place for this fear. I don’t want it and I won’t have it. I don’t have to accept it because it can be changed. Two months ago I found it difficult to focus on anything other than this fear. I spilled coffee all over because my hands were trembling, My legs were shaky and I was lightheaded. After getting off an elevator, it took me so long to recover, those mornings & nights. Outside I probably looked a bit shaken up but inside, I was wrecked. (I did face my fear and kept getting on elevators though, {BY MYSELF, ALONE!!!, ME!!! On an elevator ALONE!!! Whhhaaattt?! Holy guacamole!} which is a display of great strength & courage. I did what I had to do while not repressing my fear) I felt that I couldn’t even stand up straight each day.

This is unacceptable and I will change it. Whatever it takes. I will not avoid elevators and will not put up with this terror. And there’s no place for it in my world. It’s not welcome here and I do not have to accept it.

I healed my fear mostly with Buddhist philosophy. And I will again. This is the main thing that brought me so much deep healing and I know without a doubt, it will again. I just have to concentrate.

Recently, I received a Dorje Shugden Empowerment and I am totally counting on it (& my previous Empowerments) helping me cope with & heal this fear.

Om vajra wiki witrana söha.

OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI

Just like Mr. Clayson shares in the excerpt above, it can feel like all our previous strength, wisdom, personal development is down the drain, but it’s not. Somewhere deep inside, there is strength, wisdom, courage even if it seems to be long gone or seems like we never had any to begin with.

What I am promoting here is not necessarily any specific techniques like gratitude, meditation, conscious breathing or philosophy like Buddhist philosophy, though I do generally promote those. Here, I am just suggesting that we rise above our fear, pain, struggles…and keep going. Keep moving up. Pro-act. Let’s not sink to the bottom and stay there. Do something. Whatever it takes. Whether it’s professional help, meditation, personal development books, exercise, gratitude practice…find something, do something, and just keep going.

(Photo not mine)

It can be done. I did this before and if you are reading this now, so can you. I was able to make the choice to face a fear so powerful that I feel it can drive me insane, like I will lose all sense of language and awareness…, face it & conquer it and completely overcome it. Whatever your issue is, grief, fear, depression, addiction of any sort or something that may seem less serious…you can face it and overcome it. It’s not the problem itself that is actually the problem; it’s how we attach to it, perceive it, view it, react to it…and we have a choice to change that.

“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.”

We can & we will.

I am here cheering you on right along with cheering myself on. I have a lot of work to do and it’s every bit worth it. Keep going.

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on!!”

Much love & light & strength to you,

Xoxo Kim❤

P.s Elevators are the worst invention in the history of ever!!! I have a few choice words for the inventor! Blahhh!!!