A way through anxiety is being in the Now.
In this first episode, our guest is David Gill from Oakland, California. He's a successful architect, graduate school professor, and faculty advisor at the Academy of Art University. In addition, he is principal at David Gill Architect.
David pulls back the curtain on growing up with anxiety, how hard it was and is still sometimes to be himself, as well as how he has learned not only to survive but also thrive despite anxiety.
David begins by sharing why learning to be proud of yourself is essential for anyone struggling with anxiety. He talks at length about how committing to new and seemingly routine professional opportunities, like deciding to accept a lecture proposal for work, can provide significant opportunities for growth.
The journey of acceptance is key in a life challenged by anxiety, according to David. He explains that it all starts with being in the now, doing one thing in the moment and then assessing what the next thing is. Moreover, it’s important to focus on producing something concrete to support the idea of consistent success. This is important because it’s easy to get caught up in fear of the unknown, but life is made of moving parts which aren’t always controllable. Therefore, getting comfortable with what you cannot control is essential, and acceptance is the path.
David remembers how he was nervous, shy and had trouble with social situations as a child. At one point during the podcast, he says, “Life was a struggle; it was hard to be me.” He had no idea there was a way around or through anxiety. His anxiety worsened from his teens to adulthood. By 30, David hit rock bottom and decided to seek professional help.
To regain balance and cope with anxiety, David uses a variety of strategies. Meditation is one such practice. David talks how he meditates in the morning, evening and throughout the day if needed. However, this isn’t always as effective he hopes, but he continues to practice. Sometimes, David states, that engaging in the task at hand, doing one thing at a time and proactively acknowledging anxiety can help as well.
David believes anxiety has allowed him to discover other qualities of his personality and experience life more fully. This awareness has led him to be more proud of who he is and reminds him of his personal agency in life. Even though he still has anxiety, David describes how clearly he now knows that anxiety is not all of who he is.
[01:53] What about himself is David most proud of today?
[05:09] How can undoing anxiety loop empower a person? David shares his experience
[05:54] David shares his story of growing up with Anxiety
[08:45] The onset of Anxiety - David tells his story
[15:20] A family struggling with Anxiety: Positives & Negatives
[17:34] The skepticism of “a happy place”
[19:24] Coming to terms with feelings we don’t have words for
[21:28] Living everyday life with Anxiety after becoming a successful person – David shares his perspective
[25:10] How to be present "in the now," despite Anxiety? David shares his strategies and practices
[30:01] How Anxiety changes the experience of every day interactions for David
[35:43] Nancy discusses The One Thing and how looking only at the next step alleviates the pressure exerted by Anxiety
[37:35] How to be more present “in the now” David shares advice
[40:13] Being kind to oneself
[44:08] This is life. There are very few moments in life where we have this massive epiphany and the trajectory shifts, and complete light comes in and we have ultimate clarity. It is living those moments over and over again, and piecing them together cognitively, emotionally and physiologically, and talking to people questioning things, and genuinely acknowledging that we exist, and that we are here and that we have bodies that are responding to these things around us. That is is how we come to these conclusions about new ways of thinking that there are other possibilities [to deal with Anxiety]
[47:39] Treat yourself like a friend
[53:10] What has Anxiety taught David about himself?
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
General Self-Compassion & Mindfulness Resources
Kaiser Permenante Psychiatry Department, good group programs
Self-Compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff
Jack Kornfield, founder of Spirit Rock
San Francisco Zen Center
Yoga & Dharma, Ashley Sharp
Body/Energy Work, Mieze Steinberg, CMT
Berkeley Zen Center
“Everyone will have a different starting point, but the most important thing is to start - recognize the anxiety and talk to someone about it - and not be afraid of not knowing where the inquiry will take you.” David Gill