I woke up this morning with an intense feeling of dread.

This is not normal for me as I usually wake up with a feeling of excited anticipation for the day ahead, not an anxious feeling of impending doom. 

I felt light headed, like the feeling you get when you’re overly hungry, except my stomach was full of cement. 

The first thing I did was check in with the present moment, go within and ask “what’s this feeling about?” Taking long, deep breaths and silencing my mind, I waited for an answer. But the more I sat in the feeling, allowing it and not resisting it, the stronger the dread became and waves of nausea washed over me, forcing me to run to the bathroom to throw up. 

I then called my beloved, who’d already been at work for an hour, and said, “please don’t take any risks today,” but deep down, I knew that whatever’s meant to happen will happen regardless of how safe and cautious he, or anyone, is. It was a futile grasp for control and I knew it but I did it anyway because I wanted to feel in control even though I knew I wasn’t.  

That sense of control quickly faded as soon as I hung up and the foreboding unease increased ten fold, rising up powerfully within my body and being, and I noticed my mind was starting to make up possible gloomy scenarios of what might happen and running through a list of people in my life and who something bad could happen to today. 

I know how this plays out all too well. Been there, done that. The highly sensitive mind has an innate tendency to consider all possible outcomes as well as ruminate about things endlessly. We also like to analyze things from every angle so we can understand it better. It’s easy for a sensitive soul to get carried away by their thoughts and emotions if they haven’t practiced grounding themselves, mindfulness and staying in their own true power. 

I didn’t want to end up like this:

So I turned to the quickest and easiest disruptor to let the energy of dread (or any powerful emotion) flow through me without getting lost in the thoughts and feelings of it: EXERCISE.

Moving your body physically is a great way to release any powerful emotion, allowing it to flow through rather than getting stuck in us. It transforms it from a raging river to a trickling stream so that you can better process and understand it without getting swept away in its current. And exercise doesn’t require any inner work such as changing your mindset, witnessing or self-reflection. 

I grabbed the dogs, put on my shoes and went for a brisk walk outside. 

But don’t think my mind didn’t try to wander off into the bad possibilities that might happen while on a walk… What if there’s a coyote and it attacks my dogs? What if a car doesn’t see me and runs over us? What if I have a heart attack and die in the middle of the field and no one finds me? What if a plane falls from the sky and crashes on us? What if the very act of trying to release the feelings of doom actually causes the thing of doom to happen? 

My mind went to all those places and more before I was able to reign it back in, put a leash on it and take it for a walk alongside the dogs. 

Nature is also a powerful calmer-downer of intense energy. Being in the stillness and unconditional acceptance of the trees, flowers or sky can immediately calm one’s energy. When I returned home, I was back to my normal, centered self and could acknowledge the dread without getting lost in it or being fearful of it. 

I still have a feeling of dread but it’s not intense or overpowering as it was early this morning. It’s more like a subtle pulsing rather than a throbbing fury, and much more manageable. Now I can process the energy while remaining grounded. I don’t want to transmute it because it’s here for a reason. Our emotions, especially the random, unexpected and powerful ones that come out of nowhere, bring gifts of messages for us. Whether it’s something we’re ready to bring to light, an unresolved or unconscious issue, a loving forewarning of things to come, or a communication someone’s imparting on us, if we can center ourselves enough to acknowledge, allow and honor it, we just might receive the gift.