We’ve all had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night filled with anxiety about a problem that we’re struggling with in our lives. Things always seem to feel more frightening when we’re along in the dark. I believe that this is when we connect with the terrified child inside who doesn’t know what we, the adult, know about ourselves. That child expresses our greatest fears that we can’t take care of ourselves or our problems. The child is right from her perspective; she doesn’t have the knowledge, wisdom and experience to handle adult problems. When our adult side can take charge and address the fears and say positive things to the child like, “I know I can handle this…I always come through for myself,” then the child relaxes and the overwhelming sense of anxiety subsides. When you’ve grown up with a parent figure who has said comforting and reassuring things to you when you were frightened, you will have greater access to this part of yourself.
Sometimes I think of this process as connecting to the warrior inside. This comes from my practicing Yoga and studying the Yogic texts. One of the most energetically powerful Yoga poses is the Warrior series. To me the Warrior poses represent a manifestation of our most determined and powerful side. One interpretation of how the ancient Vedic tradition (where Yoga comes from) defines a warrior is the following; as human beings we are here to make the world a better place and use our own gifts to fulfill our potential. Think of it as the modern day version of being a responsible citizen of the earth who lives life with integrity. In order to do this we ultimately have to fight the internal conflicts that frighten and confuse, as well as the external obstacles that derail us from achieving our true heartfelt desires. Imagine a video game in your head of the hero who has to overcome the barrage of danger coming at him from all sides in order to finish the course. This is fight that we all face to make our own lives meaningful.
The Warrior series in Yoga (for those of you unfamiliar with this, please google this to see what the positions look like) is a confirmation of our intention to remain steadfast to our true goals in life. Warrior pose is a physically energizing pose because it engages and opens so many of the energetic channels in our bodies. And because mind and body are interconnected, when the body feels powerful, the mind responds. Therefore, it’s a powerful counter to the anxious, negative thinking that scares us and deters us from believing in our own potential.
So next time you wake up in the middle of the night frightened and thinking about all the bad things that can happen, see if you can find even the tiniest voice in your head that reminds you that you have a warrior in you to help you win these battles.