I’m on a hunt, a life-long hunt that I hope you will join.
The Beginnings of My Hunt
My Serenity Hunt began surprisingly during lunch with an acquaintance, Dan Miller of 48 Days to the Work You Love, in the fall of 2010. We were meeting at the Chop House in Franklin, Tennessee to talk about my future and how he might be able to help me find my way through Life Coaching. Instead, he opened my eyes my eyes to an obvious truth about personal growth that had eluded me for years.
It’s not enough to dabble in areas where we want to improve whether it is tackling depression and anxiety or learning to be a master boat builder. In my case, it wasn’t enough to read an occasional book about mental health, mindfulness or life strategies. It wasn’t enough to peek around the corners at practices like mindfulness, meditation, exercise or nutrition. It certainly wasn’t enough to do so only during times of crisis.
A New Way
Dan encouraged me to immerse myself in those things that were most important to moving forward in life and leaving behind – to the extent possible – the ghosts of anxiety and depression. He encouraged me to make it my life to study, learn and grow continually in all things that would life up my efforts to move beyond the anxiety and depression that has defined my adult life.
An Ego Buster
Now, I’m not a dumb guy. If I can brag for a moment, friends, family and colleagues often think of me as brilliant and I have the IQ scores to back it up. Yet, I was blinded to the ineffectiveness of years of short-term efforts to tackle anxiety and depression. Furthermore, my ego got in the way. It didn’t want to admit that I might have a lifelong struggle ahead. Instead, my ego screamed, “Don’t let anxiety and depression win. Don’t let them define you as a person struggling with anxiety and depression. Don’t let them definite you by dictating how you live.”
So I resisted making the meaningful, long-term changes in my lifestyle and behaviors that I needed – unless they were things I really wanted to do anyway like going to the gym. In doing so, I left myself open to the whims and cruelties of anxiety and depression
A Truth about Anxiety and Depression
For someone who haven’t struggled with anxiety and depression on repeated occasions, those short and medium-term efforts to beat them may have done the trick. But for someone like me, and perhaps you, the anxiety and depression fights back and with a vengeance. Together they undermine recovery efforts, making it so much harder to succeed in making lifelong changes that will provide some degree of peace and protection against future bouts with the disease.
In my cast, anxiety and depression has also prevented me from tapping my vast potential at times and for someone who prides himself – perhaps too much – on his accomplishments that can be a crushing truth.
The Student Becomes the Teacher
Occasionally, I follow the writings of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, who once wrote:
They say that people teach what they need to learn. By adopting the role of happiness teacher, if only for myself, I was trying to find the method to conquer my particular faults and limitations.
One might say something similar about Serenity Hunter. I’ve learned a lot through the years and I have much more to put into practice so I felt it was time to pay-it-foward by helping those I could through this website while also reinforcing for myself the lessons I’ve already learned.
The ultimate lesson being that if you want to find serenity in the face of depression and anxiety then you’ve got to be committed for the long-term about making those changes in your life that will put you on a path toward greater happiness and fulfillment. Otherwise you’re following in my former footsteps by simply swatting at flies, trying to knock down the latest crisis and that’s no way to live.
So join me on my Serenity Hunt as we seek to find new and enriching ways to take the fight to anxiety and depression, to show it who is really the hunter and who is the prey.