HEALING 70 YEARS OF ANXIETY WITH MEDITATION & PLANT MEDICINE
How the 28-Day Meditation Challenge helped Baby Boomer Marcel to break free from his reactive nature and chronic anxiety.
“I am less reactive when something happens now, a little smoother in my own head, and able to accept what is happening- it’s a really nice change.”
“We don’t want to run with or indulge in the unpleasant, we want to recognize and understand it in a grounded space.”
~ If we can’t ground ourselves in our physical body, it’s hard to contain emotional experience. If we can’t contain our emotional experience how can we connect into something that is bigger than us? If we can’t feel safe within ourselves, how can we feel safe in an external space? ~
Marcel’s Meditation Case Study
As a veteran elementary school teacher, Marcel knew a thing or two about the necessary task of guiding young ones in the skills of “controlling your emotions.” Even with all his knowledge about the interconnection of mind and body to becoming calm, he has had a difficult time practicing not letting his emotions take over.
Marcel’s successful case demonstrates the impact that the 28-Day Meditation Challenge can have. The usual triggers or stressors (which Marcel refers to as his “Dragons”), no longer elicit the same intensity of emotion. The return to a grounded and calm state is easier if triggered, and as Marcel puts it, the meditation practice and plant medicine “relaxes me and it relaxes me for a long time.”
Marcel was approaching his 70th birthday and during his entire life has felt he stressed too much about the worries and concerns of life (and in particular, of fatherhood). His worries have physically and emotionally affected him for years.
Although being concerned for your children is natural, when those worries become a trigger and start chronically and negatively affecting your life, it becomes a wound that deserves to be healed.
Our goal with the 28-Day Meditation Challenge was to allow Marcel to become more grounded and peaceful with his experience in fatherhood and to translate those emotions into a level that was more manageable. For that, I introduced him to a practice that will help him to stay more grounded during everyday stresses and anxieties.
The program, inspired by the Daoist teachings, includes a range of complementary tools: one-on-one coaching sessions, the consumption of 3 Shen meditation tea, and application of 3 Shen essential oil, in selected body points before starting my guided 2-Point Awareness Meditation.
Both 3 Shen tea and 3 Shen oil are made with my proprietary blends of plant medicine. They were specifically crafted to relax the mind and body — to help change how one’s emotional triggers automatically provoke a negative response and, instead, to create an openness to the healthy and beneficial results of the meditation practice.
I invite you to read through Marcel’s story below. This is the first of a series of case studies that I have compiled to answer the questions I generally receive from clients and other practitioners about the fantastic healing journey of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge.
I hope this encourages you to follow Marcel’s brave footsteps towards a life free from your personal “dragons.” You can also find in this video Marcel’s testimonial of this process and its liberating results.
If you feel that the 28-Day Meditation Challenge could be your path to healing, I make myself available to you.
Click here to see how to start your healing journey.
Summary of Coaching Call #1: Taking a first Step
“As a father, I worry about my daughters and I physically and emotionally am triggered for up to days on end.”
“The goal is we want to separate out the thinking pattern of worrying about them, and the physical sensations in your body when experiencing these triggers.”
As a first step when I work with a new potential client, I learn about their primary concerns, troubles and challenges during a discovery call. Together we then design our goals for the process and which tools we will use to assist them in their healing journey. That means: which meditation practice and combination of my proprietary blend of tea and essential oil will best align with this client’s needs.
In Marcel’s case, I suggested he use the 3 Shen Meditation tea and 3 Shen Meditation oil. Once he received these in the mail, we had our first Coaching call as the starting point. The goal for this session is to dive a little deeper into the history of his emotional triggers and to walk him through the 28-Day Challenge process and its transformative exercises.
While you have access to the complete video of this First Coaching Call, my team has outlined the talking points and the time at which they occur in the video, so you can navigate to any topic of specific interest to you:
First Coaching Call
2. The Human Journey, 2:20
3. A Wandering Mind, 6:04
4. Marcel’s Specific Trigger, 13:20
5. The Rabbit Hole of Analyzing, 16:09
6. Moving Breath, 18:16
7. Why 28-Days?, 22:30
8. Being Grounded in the Unpleasant, 29:00
9. Emotional Cleanse, 35:20
My Notes on Marcel’s First Step
Marcel’s emotional triggers primarily come from being worried and concerned about his daughters. For years, his worries have overtaken him to the point of physical and emotional turmoil.
The goal of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge is to help ground you in those highly triggering moments in life. Instead of the original response (worry, spinning thoughts), the Challenge will help recondition Marcel to take a mindful meditative breath when he feels triggered, and to center himself in his body rather than in the perilous space of his mind.
The 3 Shen Meditation tea and essential oil make sinking into meditation — the practice that will help Marcel learn how to “reset” — an easier task. Unlike stimulants such as alcohol or caffeine, this plant medicine builds up in the system and in the future, Marcel will need less and less to see the benefit.
Marcel’s biggest emotional trigger (or “dragon”) is when he chronically worries about his grown daughters. He experiences a physically unpleasant reaction and emotional turmoil when triggered, which affects his health, sleep, and relationships. Marcel over-analyzes and looks at the worst case scenario, and although this pattern is normal, it is non-beneficial.
Coming into the physical body and seeing how the body is reacting in this practice, Marcel will be able to release the tension and ease the trigger. This practice says ‘no’ to the thoughts and says ‘yes’ to the physical body. Where tension is experienced in the body, focusing on moving the breath to that area can release the stress that is caused by our triggers.
When we are grounded, we are able to come to recognize and understand more clearly our “dragons.” We don’t want to run from or indulge our discomforts, we simply want to identify and smooth out the areas of tension in the body. We first must feel safe within ourselves in order to feel safe in an external space. As I reminded Marcel,
Coaching Call #2: Finding Resilience in Emotion
“After getting angry with myself, I was easily able to diffuse it by grounding myself with the meditation.”
“It’s hard to use the mind to fix the mind. But somehow, when we slow down and come into the physical body, it calms down the emotional body.”
The second coaching call is an important moment to help Marcel to realign his practice, and understand the discomforts that arise as a part of the internal “movement” provoked by the Challenge. Each client will have a personal reaction to it, and within this call, we will be able to fine tune their experience.
Second Coaching Call
2. Calming the Emotional Body, 3:22
3. Peeling the Onion, 7:46
4. Restless Sleep Solution, 11:00
5. Dropping in With the Tea, 17:05
6. Next Phase, 21:15
7. Comfort in the Discomfort, 23:05
8. Breathing into the Underneath, 34:30
9. The Mantra, 36:50
My Notes on Marcel Finding Resilience in Emotions
Marcel has had a beautiful experience with using the meditation in the 28-Day Meditation Challenge to help him drop in to his body during his triggering moments. Throughout his entire life, Marcel has let his emotions take over. He has had little practice in controlling them. With this meditation practice, Marcel has been able to dive into his body and ease his emotions.
A common mistake we make when working with our triggers, stresses, and anxieties, is not getting to the core of them. Every trigger points towards a deeper issue, it is the under-layer of the trigger that we want to dive into. Diving in is how we can become more resilient with our emotions.
The theme underlying our emotional triggers is typically a “dragon” we don’t want to face. However, growth comes from facing that “dragon” and sitting with it. Sitting with emotional distress comes with hesitation at first, but our goal is to comfort it, not fight it. Inviting our “dragon” in for a cup of tea is a beautiful metaphor for learning to understand and get to know your trigger to better work with them in the future.
Ironically, shying away from addressing the roots of the emotional trigger only serves to reinforce our fear of it. I have invited Marcel to practice drinking the 3 Shen tea and talking to his “dragon” as he would a child — with ease, compassion, and understanding. The goal isn’t to fight or flee from the “dragon” and the feelings it provokes. It is to sit with it and become aware of the physical sensations of the resulting emotion. No harm comes from sitting with emotion, only freedom from its control.
Finding comfort in the discomfort is a concept that shows up often in my work. For Marcel, his initial understanding of working with his “dragons” was to run away from them, which was his comfort zone. What this practice challenges him to do is to become grounded and learn to slowly and softly face the emotions that cause him discomfort.
As humans, we have a difficult time using the mind to fix the mind, it is when we use our physical body to drop in and work through our emotional triggers that we can heal.
“Say yes to the physical, and no to the thoughts.”
Coaching Call #3: Reaching Meaningful Change
“I don’t ever see this practice as an end, I know the benefit, and I need the benefit.”
“With this practice, we look within ourselves to self regulate and make ourselves feel better instead of seeking externally.”
You will find that the third and final call of Marcel’s program is more than a wrap session. It helps me to understand and clarify my client’s trajectory — to help him know how to continue on his healing journey. It also allows us to explore which goals were reached or not. From there, we have a perspective of the ownership that the client has gained over the program and its practices.
This is the true goal of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge: to provide my clients with tools and practices to safely and confidently be in charge of their emotional control.
Together with the client, I craft a new plan to address any unreached goals.
Third Coaching Call
2. The Beautiful Result, 0:43
3. The Saint, The Warrior, and The Alchemist, 3:40
4. Requirement of Life, 12:13
5. Catching the Dragon, 15:20
6. Tapping in With the Oil, 18:24
7. The Benefit, 26:05
8. Breath Work, 30:28
9. Continuing the Journey, 32:50
My Notes on Marcel Reaching Meaningful Change
With Marcel’s practice during the 28-Day Meditation Challenge, he has become less reactive when a trigger shows up, his thoughts have become more gentle, and he has become more accepting of what has been happening around him. This is exactly what this practice is dedicated to serving, it has been designed to assist you in showing up more in your present with greater ease and capability.
Being present is always necessary in any life journey. With this practice, we look within ourselves to self regulate and make ourselves feel better instead of seeking external reassurance.
Marcel has developed knowledge and practices to assist him in living more in the present, and he is seeing and feeling the results of the 28-Day Meditation Challenge.
After having years of struggle with falling asleep when triggered, he now uses the meditation practice to help him fall asleep. Marcel is able to drop in to his physical body and ease the tension his triggers create, allowing him to fall asleep.
Marcel’s family has also noticed a shift in him: he is calmer, more present, and his worry is less easily triggered. Marcel sees how the Challenge has given him a much-needed sense of empowerment — he now has the tools necessary to better manage his emotions and anxieties. His improved sleep, greater calm, and improved relationships are a testament to the process.
Where to Go from Here?
Although titled “The 28-Day Challenge,” Marcel shared with me that he sees no end to this practice. He now knows the benefit of the tools in this practice that says ‘no’ to the thoughts and says ‘yes’ to the physical body. He knows the necessity of them and will keep having tea with his (now less intimidating) smaller “dragons.”
Marcel’s heartfelt testimonial about his trajectory has encouraged many clients to take the pilot seat of their mental health carriage and re-write their fates.
Would you like to take control of your anxiety, stress, and/or anger, as Marcel did? I invite you to learn more about how the 28-Day Meditation Challenge works.
Discover how the program can help you to slow down, be more present, and understand how to take the driver’s seat with your emotions.
I welcome you to experience this powerful healing.
-Justin Ehrlich, L.Ac