Author Corinne Zupko, a licensed counselor and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher, undertook her study of psychology out of necessity when debilitating anxiety threatened to derail her life. Seeking ways to do more than temporarily alleviate her symptoms, Corinne began to study A Course in Miracles (ACIM), mindfulness meditation, and the latest therapeutic approaches for treating anxiety.
As Corinne healed her own mental anguish, she compiled the perception-shifting process she describes in From Anxiety to Love: A Radical New Approach for Letting Go of Fear and Finding Lasting Peace (New World Library, February 14, 2018). We hope you’ll enjoy this Q and A with Corinne about the book.
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You say that even though your personal anxiety journey was one of the most terrifying experiences of your life, it has become your greatest teacher. How so?
Anxiety is painful. There are times when I never thought I would feel normal again. I spent a lot of energy hating my anxiety and I wished it away as hard as I could. However, having this attitude changed nothing. If anything, the strain of hating my present state only created more anxiety. Instead, I became willing to see the anxiety differently. Rather than expending a lot of energy wanting it to not be here, I shifted into accepting that it is here, and that rather than see it as my adversary, I could see it as my teacher. My anxiety showed me that my current thought system was largely based on fear. It empowered me to seek a new thought system, based on love, as taught by A Course in Miracles. Then it motivated me to deeply practice the Course’s teachings. Ultimately, the pain of anxiety catapulted me into experiencing unshakable inner peace as it helped me remember our eternal nature and our True Self.
Your perspective on healing from anxiety is chiefly inspired by A Course in Miracles. Please explain what A Course in Miracles is for those who might not know.
A Course in Miracles is a metaphysical text that teaches a new thought system based on Love, rather than our usual thought system, which is based on fear. The Course is a spiritual pathway that seeks to help us fully awaken to our eternal reality and our complete innocence. It teaches us that we are eternal beings and are not limited to these bodies. It is also profoundly psychological. It works with our thoughts and helps us choose to listen to the thought system of Love instead of the thought system of fear. The book is divided into three parts: a text, a workbook (with 365 lessons, one for every day of the year), and a Manual for Teachers.
What is the “Inner Therapist” and does everyone have one?
Our “Inner Therapist” is the part of our mind that fully remembers Divine Love. It remembers this Love even though we think we’re separate from it. It is important to know that our Inner Therapist is not something separate from us. It is a part of our very own mind. It is an Inner Guide, we can learn to listen to for guidance.
One of the sections of your book is called “Down the Ego Rabbit Hole.” How do you define ego?
The ego is the voice of fear in our minds. It is the small self. It is a voice that tells us that we are alone, separate and vulnerable. It is the part of our mind that believes we are limited to a body and to a world that often makes no sense.
How can someone who is new to this work begin to distinguish between the voice of the ego and the Voice of the Inner therapist?
It can be challenging to distinguish between these two voices at first. The voice of the ego is the voice of fear. It is full of judgment and it likes to tell you all of the things that are wrong with you. It tells you that you need to protect yourself from this crazy world we live in, and that attack is the only way to defend yourself. It can be harsh and loud. The Voice of the Inner Therapist is completely different. It is wholly loving, and it only sees your inner light. It reminds you that you are made of peace, joy and love. It’s a soft voice, so it can easily be drowned out by the ego voice. Note, however, that the ego and the Inner Therapist don’t have to be experienced as a “voice.” I often experience the “voice” of the Inner Therapist as thoughts, but more often, I experience it as a feeling – a resonant feeling in the core of my body.
Do you have any advice to offer anxiety sufferers when they are in the midst of a panic attack?
I always recommend these three steps: 1. Remember that panic occurs in linear time and so it WILL come to an end. 2. Remind yourself that this is just intense anxiety and you are not going crazy. 3. If you’re comfortable, lay down or sit back in a chair. Place once hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. Chances are you are breathing from high up in your chest, so soften your abdominal muscles so your belly moves as you breathe. This automatically can change your physiology, and help bring about calmness.
What do you most hope readers will take away from your book From Anxiety to Love?
My hope is that this book will re-awaken and strengthen the hope, light and love in the reader’s heart. I hope the reader will be motivated to work these healing principles and learn that our awareness can continue to expand to know the boundless love that exists within all of us. An anxiety-free life is possible. We can awaken from the dream of fear, right now, and anxiety falls away as you begin to remember your True Self. Who you truly are cannot be hurt or sick, and cannot die. We do not walk alone because Love is always with us.
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Corinne Zupko, EdS, LPC, is the author of From Anxiety to Love. As a licensed counselor and keynote speaker, she has helped thousands of individuals through her one-on-one counseling, weekly meditation classes for corporations, and the largest virtual conference of ACIM in the world, through the organization Miracle Share International, which she cofounded. She lives in New Jersey. Visit her online at http://www.FromAnxietytoLove.com.