By Carol S. Pearson
David and I woke up recently feeling anxious and began to tell each other what we were fearful about. We have a lot on our plate, and some of our worries were about getting everything done, some about pending decisions, and some more nebulous. But, as we talked, we remembered that in the body, anxiety and excitement are hormonally similar. We realized that we were speaking as if we were victims or martyrs of the complexity of our lives, and the more we told such stories, the further we spiraled down into feeling anxious.
We concluded that we could tell stories about how excited we are that my book, Persephone Rising: Awakening the Heroine Within, is done, my revised website is up, our Santa Barbara house has sold, and we have moved into our new home in the Washington, DC area, balancing unpacking our worldly goods with book promotion events.
So, once again, I was able to experience the possibility of moving from being anxious to feeling excited. Instead of worrying about accomplishing our long lists of things to do as if they were oppressive, I recognized that all of them were positive—tasks that we could and should be happy about. By shifting to a story about how lucky we are (when doing so is not denial), we tapped once again into the underlying happiness of our lives.
The archetypal stories of gods and goddesses in Persephone Rising take this insight further. Each one is trapped by a story that governs how they see their life and events. The result is a breakdown between and among them (as also happens too much in the world around us today). Yet, when each of these archetypal figures shifts their story, they not only become happier, they also re-form a supportive community.
Personally, I have learned a great deal from the process of recognizing the stories I’m telling myself, and especially from letting go of those stories that undercut me. I can then replace them with narratives that open up possibilities. When I do this, my life unfolds in wonderful ways. I believe this strategy can have the same impact for you.