Anxiety is not the default condition of human existence.” Bethany Eaton, An Inside Job: 5 Steps to Anxiety Relief.
Life has become increasingly complex over the past fifty years. We are drowning in external stimulation when what we need are love, simple food, rest and community. In trying to live up to the image of who we should be, constantly comparing ourselves to others, we are left with the feeling that who we are isn’t good enough. Enter anxiety’s evil twin: shame.
Shame fills us, wrapping around our psyches like a deadly snake strangling our healthy self-love. Until we deal with our shame we will not reduce or eliminate our anxiety.
In An Inside Job: 5 Steps to Anxiety Relief, Bethany has done a wonderful job of looking at the anxiety epidemic from a different perspective, and she offers a powerful solution. The anxiety cure can’t be found in the outside world. Governments and corporations can’t fix the danger and rescue us from insecurity and worry. After all, the government and the corporations are made up of people like us.
Nor are other circumstances and people to blame for our feelings of anger, fear, distrust and pain: bosses, spouses, friends and those different from us. The solution is not to numb ourselves in search of anxiety relief by escaping into wine and carbs or ill-fated attempts to control the things and people around us.
We look outside of ourselves for solutions - other people, medicine, distractions - while in reality, it's an inside job.
An Inside Job demonstrates that it's lack of love and respect that causes us to feel this deep distress. Self-love creates the capacity for empathy, compassion, and love to domino out to those around us. The policies we make at the family, work, community, government, and corporate level reduces anxious suffering along the way.
Bethany Eaton says “anxiety no more” and offers 5 straightforward steps for learning to love ourselves again. These steps, Bethany claims, will help us create more peace and joy in our lives while calming our anxiety panic.
I took away a number of helpful nuggets from this book, all of which are helping me in my day-to-day search for more tranquility in my life.
Here is my interview with Bethany:
BE: As I coached clients I saw a pattern emerge. They were suffering from emotional turmoil and life conflicts because of a lack of self-love and painful mind stories. This created unhealthy choices and lack of healthy boundaries in their relationships. Critical thoughts, lack of self-care, and poor choices resulted in extreme anxiety and stress in all areas of their lives and created self-sabotage and chaos. At the core of all this turmoil was a depleted sense of self-love. I noticed that the world was awash in an anxiety epidemic and knew the two conditions were directly related. I felt compelled to write the steps that I used to help myself and my clients get past anxiety and move into freedom and peace.
KM: At what point in your life did you decide that being an author was no longer going to be a dream but something you were going to turn into a reality?
BE: The stirrings for a book had been in my heart and mind for many years. I just couldn't see what form it would take. As I progressed on my own spiritual journey, I coached clients, diving deeper into the world of self-development. I collected journals full possible topics and outlines, which became sections in the book. As I observed my own and my clients' needs, I realized that the time had come to provide a step by step blueprint for self-love as an antidote for our rising anxiety levels and life turmoil. When I committed to the topic, the opportunity for the book to be published by Difference Press appeared.
KM: What authors do you read? What books do you love?
BE: My go-to authors for spiritual food are Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, James Redfield, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Gary Zukav, Wayne Dyer, Myrtle and Charles Fillmore. Self -development writers I look to include Martha Beck, Barbara Sher, Dr. Judith Orloff, Brene Brown, and many more. Each book brings me nuggets of understanding and illumination.
KM: What does your writing process look like? Are you a daily writer or do you write a gush of words all at once, followed by a period of reflection? Any particular writing “rituals” or environment required? For example: pen and paper or laptop to start? Quiet room or music? Dog, cat? What makes it comfortable for you to be productive?
BE: I work best with a framework and time structure. It's imperative for me not to feel rushed or pushed by a deadline so I divide my time carefully. I prepare each time by going into a brief meditation to access my core of peace and state my intention for the book. I require an organized office space, meditative music, and lots of room to spread out my papers and books. I use one desk for organization. Above it is a corkboard that holds my detailed outlines. When I've outlined a section on paper, I move to my computer desk to write and then re-write numerous drafts. If I'm stuck, I lie down on the floor and close my eyes to free my mind and let the creativity swirl. Because I'm visual, I literally cut and staple sections back together if needed so it flows better, then start writing all over again. I keep Post-it notes in every room and in my purse just in case a thought pops in. My best ideas arrive in the shower. Every morning I recite Anne Lamott's advice to write a sh***y first draft. This gets me past any mind blocks. I give myself permission to just write whatever comes to mind, just start, and then re-write it over and over until it flows and feels right.
KM: What was your favourite part of your research and why? Was there any part of your research that surprised you?
BE: My favourite part of the research was Dr. Brene Brown's findings that our willingness to be vulnerable in safe spaces, to show our authentic selves, our imperfections, leads to deeper connection, healing and stronger relationships. However, emotional armour and shame creates disconnection from ourselves and others.
The biggest surprise was the rising number of statistics on how widely and deeply our children are suffering from anxiety due to online harassment, bullying, tension at home, stress over winning, societal comparisons, and lack of connection with nature and loving adults. It's heartbreaking the number of children and teens on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. They need these self-love tools as much as adults do.
KM: If your readers were to take away only one message from your book and apply it to their lives, what would you like it to be?
BE: The biggest take away is the realization that our thoughts create our emotional suffering. Learning to be the watcher of the Self: our minds, thoughts, emotional reactions. The aches and pains our thoughts create in our bodies, contain the path to create our best lives. When those thoughts are self-loving they change our lives.
KM: Did you find that writing this book changed you in any way?
BE: I carried the idea of a book around in my head for a few years. It constantly plagued me, demanding my attention. It was an enormous relief to put it all into a container that I believed would help many people, and send it into the world to do its work. To date it has reached as far afield as Australia, India, the UK, Japan, Canada and the US. It was a huge weight off my shoulders to have accomplished this work. Now there's room for the next project.
KM: What are three “Good to Know” things about you?
BE: I'm constantly evolving and I don't know what my next move is. And that's okay.
At 61 years of age, I believe my best work is still to come.
I believe we are spiritual beings living a human existence.
KM: What is next for you, Bethany?
BE: I'm open to the next project, the next vision for my work and creative journey. I continue to serve my clients and I write and speak intuitively with love to those who come to me with life challenges.
KM: What final thoughts would you like to leave us with?
BE: You are not your mind or the painful stories you tell yourself. You are beautifully and wondrously made for joy. Give yourself the gift of self-love and as you do your anxiety will be replaced by peace; your relationships and work will flourish.
Bethany Eaton has lived a passionate life of reinvention in the fields of teacher, musician, mother, event planner, interior design consultant, Martha Beck life coach and published author/writer. She now resides with the love of her life in a 163 year-old Victorian, formerly a church, in Stratford Ontario with their two cats, Flute and Ripley. Bethany designs the interiors and exteriors of model homes and residential homes through Bethany's Interiors. Her articles are published in the internationally distributed Motivated Magazine. Her first published e-book, An Inside Job: 5 Steps to Anxiety Relief was released on Amazon in 2013.
You can connect with Bethany here