From Tree to Shining Tree

Yesterday was the toughest day so far as I work my way through a bout of depression and crippling anxiety. I felt on the verge of a panic attack all day, and no amount of deep breathing and meditation seemed to help. It’s scary feeling so out of control of your emotions, so not like yourself.A rare sweet moment with Shiva…

It began very early in the morning; I woke up in the darkness in the throes of a panic attack, having difficulty breathing, unable to shake the anxiety. It’s funny that Shiva seems to understand that I’m struggling and each time comes to lay on my chest, looking into my eyes (either that or she’s hoping I’m dying so that she can have Dan all to herself…I never quite know with my little Demon Seed). I have the Calm app on my phone and put my headphones on and listened to a meditation specific to anxiety. No luck, and I still felt like there was a vise on my chest.Precious Marley…

Sweet Dan woke up and reached over, “Honey, are you okay?” I told him what was going on, and he immediately put Marley between us in the bed and we both stroked her as he spoke gently and encouraged me to breathe. It’s good to be married to a yoga teacher for sure, especially in times like these. He has such patience and compassion- and great love.

We were expecting big storms, but it hadn’t begun to rain yet. With Dan’s encouragement, I decided to take Marley for a run to see if that would help. Aside from being so good for both of us, I consider our morning run/walks as part of my therapy, starting my day in a healthy, positive way.

Birmingham’s Vulcan statue…

My favorite place to run with Marley is on the new portion of the Vulcan Trail, as its peaceful gravel path through the trees far above the city is a healing place to me. As I work to build up my running endurance, I choose certain trees to begin running (after walking up a very long and steep hill to reach the trail), and then choose a goal tree to run to, repeating this throughout my workout. Sometimes I’m able to go past that goal tree, and I feel such a sense of accomplishment as my fitness begins to improve. I used to run 10k races, and I like the idea of embracing that goal to return to down the line.

I’m using that mental picture of going ‘from tree to shining tree’ in my daily life. Setting small goals, being gentle with myself as I work through things, and if I go past the goal, celebrating those accomplishments- no matter how small. If I don’t reach the goal, there is always tomorrow.

When we got home from our run, we were greeted by a beautiful harbinger of spring on our front hill…another promise of hope that things will get better. I am so grateful.

12 thoughts on “From Tree to Shining Tree

  1. Aw, so beautiful! You’re going to be just fine! Remember, all of you is welcome, and depression and anxiety are very much a part of the experience of being human. You connect with millions as you move through those experiences, and as you move through them as you do, with mindfulness and compassion, you bring in healing for millions, too. Being a person, however we are in the moment , is sacred.

  2. Our pets know. I am celebrating your tree goals too. I love that idea and think I’ll use it myself! I’m also a little jealous that you have blooming flowers. We are still in the tight grip of winter – my daffodils rarely bloom before mid April!

  3. I follow your journey and have shared in some of your trials. One thing I have found to help with my stressful job and the problem of not sleeping well at times. Recently I found Qi Gong practice right before I go to bed is the most relaxing thing. I follow Lee Holden’s PM practice and by the end I’m like a wet noodle. If I wake up during the night I do a few of the movements and it puts me back in that space. May not be your cup of tea but thought it worth mentioning. Take care and thank you for your wonderful writing.

    1. Thank you so much for your message and for following along with me. I appreciate the suggestion about Qi Gong and will definitely look into it. I’m so glad that you found something that helped you. ❤️

  4. I hope running does for you what it has for me. It’s hard to run many days in Vermont during the winter, and when I finally *do* get outside I remember just how restorative it is for mind/body/spirit. I never cared all that much about time/distance—only that I did it. Peace to you. (I kept mis-typing peach. Peach to you, too!) ~xoxo

    1. I used to run 10K races all the time, but after I broke my ankle I gave up running. I’m with you- I never care about the time or distance- it’s just getting out there and doing it. Such great time to think through things and work off stress- and bond with your dog. 🙂 Thank you for the peace and the peach! 😊❤️

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