“You cannot do what's important now for you if your mind cannot accept what is happening in this present moment.” ~ John Kuypers
Present for Peace is a community of support for those who suffer from anxiety and for those interested in learning, practicing, and strengthening a lifestyle of being present.
My name is Cindy Olejar. I am a Seattle native. Over the years I was an elementary school teacher, owned and operated a dog and cat business, worked as a peer support specialist, and am currently a nutritional therapy practitioner. I love being near and out on the water, walking, and reading, Currently, my favorite food to eat is baked sweet potatoes with sea salt.
Anxiety and uncomfortable feelings have a purpose and message. Understanding what your anxiety and uncomfortable feelings are telling you can give you the wisdom to experience a peaceful state.
Do you relate to the quote in the short story called, "A Painful Case" by James Joyce who writes, "Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body." We often do not realize that we are not living in the present moment, living right here, right now. Instead we are thinking about the future or the past, or we are rushing through our day, or we are doing tasks on autopilot without being aware of what and how we are doing them and we are disconnected from sensing how our bodies are feeling and knowing our true nature. For some people this habitual way of being or response stimulus mechanism can create a state of anxiety or uncomfortable feelings and sensations mentally, emotionally and physically.
Often there are emotions underneath the anxiety, such as grief, shame, guilt, and anger. We may have heard and also believe that having these emotions is bad, so we learned to resist and disconnect from them. However, suppressing our emotions does not make them go away but rather makes them grow stronger, which can cause more discomfort and damage to the body down the road, such as inflammation, heart disease, cancer, sore muscles, fatigue, digestive issues, skin problems, headaches, and more.
The good news is you can learn how to be with anxiety and other feelings in a healthy and prosperous way. There is not a one size fits all method to relieve or shift anxiety and other feelings. You decide the path you want to take and the tools you want to use.
Our mission is for uncomfortable sensations to guide you to experience a state of peace through being present.
Our vision is to enable you to create a peaceful way of being with whatever is happening.
This will bring value to the situation and benefit all. In addition, a sense of empowerment is felt with having a knowing that you can handle anything that arises.
Coping strategies can be useful to reduce anxiety. Having a variety of coping strategies is helpful in the event that one is not effective and also when encountering different environments or situations, such as at home or work, in a store, on the bus, and with family or friends. Many coping strategies are easily accessible, and at least for the short term, can help relieve anxiety. It is important to discern how you use coping strategies so that they do not function as a distraction or avoidance technique because that has the potential of strengthening the anxiety and other uncomfortable feelings.
There are also engagement strategies that help discover the root of the anxiety. Engagement strategies can help you understand the anxiety: learn why the anxiety is there and what the anxiety is telling you. This process of understanding can open you to accepting the anxiety rather than fearing it and listening to it rather than ignoring or suppressing it. Although engagement strategies usually take more time and commitment, they are well worth the effort, especially if they save your life and empower you to create the life you want!
Some coping strategies can also be an engagement strategy and visa versa depending on how they are used.
Some examples of coping strategies:
-go on a walk
-focus on your breath
-take a bath
-experience feet and hand reflexology
-get a massage
-sit near a tree, lake, ocean, beach, flower, stream
-learn something new
-paint, draw, sculpt
-listen to music
-pet an animal or walk an animal
-talk with a friend
-find calming scents
-drink warm herbal tea
Some examples of engagement strategies:
-journal to process, inquire, question, connect, create, and discover
-engage in voice dialoguing
-practice coherence breathing
-create a valuable service
-work to generate new neural pathways
-apply shadow work
-change thought and behavior patterns
-use neurofeedback to help change brain functioning patterns
-partake in biofeedback to help gain more awareness of physiological functions
-calm your nervous system
-release stuck emotions in the body
-identify limiting beliefs
-learn what your needs are and discover how to get them met
-grow your awareness
-know what you value and what you do not value
-implement effective organization tools
-wield your time valuably
-utilize inner work
-discover your aligned energy
What is exciting about anxiety is that it is always pointing to something wonderful around the corner: aligning your energy, discovering a value, appreciating a mango tree, noticing a sunrise, understanding a need, treasuring the air, teaching a child, meeting someone new, enjoying nature, supporting a friend, enhancing a job, learning a skill, helping a stranger, eating nutritiously, valuing sleep and rest, being mindful, evolving awareness, realizing you are enough, believing you are worthy, knowing you are lovable, creating a song, painting, book, recipe, connection or . . . . Life has so many possibilities!
Present for Peace uses Arrow UP, a process that incorporates coping and engagement strategies, awareness and being present, which can guide you to create a peaceful way of life.
Currently, we offer a free weekly online anxiety support group via Zoom every Wednesday evening from 5:30PM to 6:30PM PST.
We also offer free individual and family support via Zoom or by phone Monday through Friday.
In addition, we offer free Present for Peace groups to support those interested in learning, practicing and strengthening a lifestyle of being present that meets every Tuesday from 7PM to 8PM PST and every Wednesday from 4PM to 5PM PST.
To receive a Present for Peace group Zoom link or to set up an individual support call, email Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.