Shhh ... a Silent Retreat Guide
“A silent retreat is a gift to yourself to recalibrate, to connect, to learn about yourself in a ...
The wise 14th century Persian poet Hafiz once wrote, “Now that your worry has proved such an unlucrative business, why not find a better job?” This question, posed 700 years ago, is still relevant. Even though we know worrying can’t protect us from experiencing life’s unavoidable difficulties, and even though it fuels our stress and saps our joy, why is the worry habit so hard to break?
Personally, I don’t have to look far to pinpoint the origin of my entrenched worry habit. My mother was a champion worrier who truly believed that worrying was one of her primary jobs as a parent. I can’t blame her: As a Holocaust survivor who experienced unimaginable pain and loss, my mother lived in terror of the next catastrophe. I grew up in a whirlpool of fear, where worry and love were inextricably linked.
Regardless of your background, being a human on planet Earth can be extremely challenging. Along with immeasurable blessings and beauty, there is inevitable loss and heartbreak, so it’s understandable that so many of us worry about the future, no matter how futile and exhausting.
Yet, because this universe isn’t limited to what we’re able to perceive with our physical senses alone, we can learn ways to lighten our load and feel supported on our journey, no matter what comes our way. Bonnie Wirth—a life coach and channel medium—teaches people how to make choices that lead to greater peace and align with energies that foster wellbeing.
As a medium, Wirth gleans insight and wisdom from what she refers to as her “spiritual team”—divine beings of loving intelligence from non-physical realms. These divine beings have been guiding her throughout her life, and they help her assist others on their healing journeys, which includes breaking the worry habit.
Wirth explains that worry, like everything, has an energetic frequency. “When we worry, we’re growing the frenetic energy of fear while moving further away from the calming and nourishing energy of love.” Wirth cautions that, when left untethered, worry can become habitual and debilitating, “like a virus that continues to spread, stealing our joy and peace of mind.”
Wirth has found that the best way to stop worrying is to move toward a love-based thought system as opposed to a fear-based one. “Worry begets more worry,” she explains, “because when we’re stuck in the energy of fear, we become attuned to things from the outside world that match and align with that vibration—things that confirm and fuel our fears and make us less receptive to the energetic vibrations of love.”
Worrying is very uncomfortable, but running from it only increases feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, and helplessness—what Wirth refers to as a “tailspin of emotions that fuel our fear-based thoughts and narrows the scope of our perspective.” In this triggered state, we lose sight of the bigger picture, our thinking becomes more black and white, and we’re unable to access the full range of our creative problem-solving capabilities.
“No one is immune to worry,” Wirth says, “But we can become practiced at being our own caretakers when worry arises. For me, this is usually about acknowledging that I feel afraid and out of control, and then soothing the scared little girl that still exists inside of me.”
As soon as you notice feeling overwhelmed by worry, here’s what Wirth recommends:
Turn your attention away from the outside world by closing your eyes and placing your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly.
Focus on your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling. Let your awareness drop from your chest down into your belly.
Settle into this space. Allow yourself to be totally present with your breath and body.
Acknowledge that you’re going through a difficult time, and that’s okay. Allow your feelings to move through you while you soothe yourself. Give yourself a hug, rub your chest, rock, or hum—whatever feels most comforting. Open your heart to feelings of self-love.
Talk to yourself like you would a small child who needs love and reassurance, either aloud or with the voice inside your mind: “Even though things feel out of control in my life, in this moment, I am safe. In this moment, I am okay. Even though I have no idea what is going to happen, in this moment, I am safe. I can trust this moment. I can trust myself.”
Wirth encourages us to bring to mind the things we love and feel grateful for. “The thoughts you think and the words you use hold power over your life. Consciously focusing on gratitude and positivity will help you shift away from the energetic frequencies of fear and toward the calming energetic frequencies of love.”
Assuring us that this is not about “putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses,” emotional suppression, or spiritual bypassing, Wirth says, “There are indeed things that are very difficult to accept and an array of emotions that are hard to embrace. But calming your nervous system and consciously cultivating inner peace not only feels good, it also empowers you by increasing your sense of agency over your life, no matter your situation.”
“Practiced thoughts become dominant thoughts, which then become our dominant vibration,” Wirth says. “Many of us hold beliefs about worry, both consciously and subconsciously, that keep us attached to the worry habit. Some of these were inherited, others come from direct experiences. Either way, becoming aware of our limiting beliefs enables us to set the intention to cut those cords and free ourselves.”
Below are some questions that can bring your limiting beliefs to the surface. Consider free-writing your answers, which can help access information stored in the subconscious.
How safe did I feel growing up?
How did my family of origin handle fear?
What beliefs did I form as a result of what I witnessed or was told?
Do I believe that worrying protects me and my loved ones?
Do I believe that worrying about other people is a kind and compassionate act, a sign of my love and commitment?
Although many of us unconsciously believe that worrying is prudent—and maybe even that it’s naïve and irresponsible to let go and trust in life—Wirth wants us to understand that the energy of worry is never beneficial. “Worrying only adds more tension and toxic energy to the situation, whereas the energy of love and compassion is calming and healing.”
Wirth believes that everything happens for our greatest good, even when we can’t see it. She views worry as an opportunity to learn and grow, and an invitation to build trust in the universe and foster inner peace.
As we tease out the lessons offered by a particular worry, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
Is my worry bringing me a message I am meant to listen to? Is its persistence a gift, pointing me to areas where I need to make a change, create a plan, or take action?
Are there emotions I need to feel and process that I’ve been running from? Are there deeper issues I need to explore that I’ve been avoiding?
Am I being asked to cultivate more patience and acceptance? Is this another opportunity to develop a sanctuary of peace inside myself despite living in an uncertain world?
If we’ve determined that there is no way to alleviate a worrisome situation, Wirth says it’s time to work on acceptance. “This has nothing to do with resignation, shrugging things off, or conceding that they should happen. Rather, it’s about making the choice to foster more presence and to stop struggling against life.”
Wirth offers the following mantra that helps her release worry and find peace with whatever is happening:
I make peace with what is.
I make peace with what is not.
I am at peace.
“By accepting things as they are, we can let go of attachments to outcomes we cannot control. We begin to surrender to a universal intelligence greater than our own, which bolsters our faith, strength, and courage. From this deeper sense of security and trust, we can flow from love in the presence of any challenge.”
To help you access calm within turmoil, Bonnie Wirth offers this 5-minute guided meditation, The Peace Within.
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