Friday, September 24, 2010

Cure for a Panic Headache--7 Magic Remedies

  The other day I had a panic headache. It took me quite awhile to realize just what it was, and longer to figure out why.
Look Fear in the Face

Here is the why:

This week I plan to submit a proposal for a gallery show and to apply to be on the December Art Studio Tour in my home town. Or at least to begin the process. I didn't realize just how scary these two things are, or how powerful that little voice that says:
"you just ain't good enough".

and "you'll never get enough art work/product done in time"

and  "It's so much work and expense. You'll never make the money back that you spend getting ready"

and "no one will come. if they do come, they won't buy anything."

and on and on.
So how do I deal with the fear?

Eleanor Roosevelt said: "Stop and look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Some of my favorite techniques for facing the fear and healing the panic ache are:
          1. Create a picture in my mind or in my sketch book of what I really want to create. Once I cured a panic headache  (due to an impending divorce) by heading down to the local coffee shop and designing my dream studio in my sketch book. Since then, I met and married my soulmate and now have that studio. It took awhile, but...
          2. Naming the fear and telling a trusted friend helps. Even when the friend has no advice to offer--or maybe especially then--just naming the fear and telling someone who is on your side works wonders.
         3.  Breaking it into small steps. List the steps and tackle the first one. Your courage in moving forward anyway breaks the spell.
          4. Facing the worst case scenario and developing a plan B. Even if you never need plan B, having one is like having a solid ground under your feet instead of shakey uncertainty.
         5. Focusing on the outcome rather than on the means. i.e. "I want to show my work to a wider audience and to get recognition as an artist" instead of "I MUST get into that gallery or juried festival". This gives me options if I don't get accepted by the first gallery or festival.

And here are some things I will try this time:
          6. Turn the fear around and write on a slip of paper what I want to have happen instead. Save these slips of paper in a pretty bowl or box on my studio shelf.
          7. Sit by a stream or fountain and let the thoughts arise, then thank them and let them go.
Jennifer of a blog titled Giggling in the Rain seems a kindred spirit. Her post on letting go of memories and thoughts that no longer serve are quite timely as I face my own panic.

 And then this came from a friend doing biodynamic craniosacral work:

let go of what has passed
let go of what may come
let go of what is happening now
don't try to figure anything out
don't try to make anything happen
relax, right now, and rest

----- Tilopa

How does panic show up for you? How do you deal with it?


  1. This post is really interesting and very helpful. Thank you Suzanna.

  2. Fears always seem to show up almost in the same form. Mine looks pretty similar to yours when i wanted to submit for poppytalk handmade market. I revisted the chapter on our flying lessons with regards to fear, writing them down and aknowlege them. It helped me lots and i remember what sweet teacher kelly tought us about how we have to "practise our courage"...and so i finally sent in my submission. :) Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

  3. For me panic seems to show up in the part of my body that is the weakest at the time... and I am not very good at dealing with it, other than to belittle myself and make it worse. Love your steps to deal with it. Also love the creativity and education video - just may need to share it.

  4. I used to trash talk myself when I made mistakes or when I said something I later realized was hurtful to another person or showed me as foolish. Some time a few years ago, I thought, "I can only make mistakes if I'm alive and kicking. It is human to make mistakes." after that when I blew it, instead of cutting myself down, I would say, "Yes! I "m alive! I'm human!".
    I've been much happier since.