By Janae Jean and Spencer Schluter
We had the pleasure of speaking with Corinne Zupko, Ed.S., author of From Anxiety to Love: A Radical New Approach for Letting Go of Fear and Finding Lasting Peace. Zupko has coached, counseled and educated thousands of people at national and regional conferences, in classes and workshops, and one-on-one. She co-hosts the largest virtual conference about A Course in Miracles through Miracle Share International, an organization which she co-founded. She also hosts the podcast From Anxiety to Love Radio. Zupko also serves as a corporate consultant for mindfulness practices, and she teaches mindfulness and wellness at the College of New Jersey. You can connect to her through fromanxietytolove.com .
The following article only contains a portion of our conversation, listen to the podcast on our website to hear much more and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and/or YouTube. — J.J
Janae: What inspired you to write this book?
Corinne: I was pretty much born anxious. I received my first psychiatrist diagnosis at the age of two, separation anxiety disorder. I was always an anxious child, but once I got to college things got really intense for me, because that was the time I broke down with really debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Those [attacks] were triggered by the death of a student on campus. I didn’t know this student, but it was a very sudden death. It really freaked me out. After I learned that news, the next morning, I woke up at about three o’clock in the morning in an all-out sweat. My heart was racing. I thought I was dying, and it turns out it was my first panic attack. Then for years, I had out of the blue and out of control panic attack…a high degree of anxiety. Through the help of a number of things, including counseling, and talking a lot with my mom because she was a true spiritual mentor for me. But, the thing that helped me the most was a spiritual pathway called A Course in Miracles. Through all those things, I found my way into really wanting to give back. I ended up becoming a therapist and working with one-on-one clients for many years, but I still had some degree of anxiety that followed me.
In 2009, I had another really debilitating episode of anxiety. When I say debilitating episode, I mean I couldn’t really function. It was hard for me to get off the couch. My stomach was in such a physical knot that it was hard for me to eat because it was spasming all the time. It was at that point that I started to really dive in deeply into my spiritual practice, and I started finding relief. I started noticing that a lot of my anxieties and my fears were falling away, and I knew at that point in time that I had to start writing about what was helping me. The results, from a total of six years, are in the pages of From Anxiety to Love.
Spencer: It’s really interesting that your spiritual practices helped you with that. For hundreds of thousands of years humans used spirituality as a coping mechanism. Now people don’t have that outlet. They go on a medication…stay on it for years… and sometimes, it doesn’t even help them.
JJ: I liked that in your book you pointed out that it’s sometimes necessary to have that medication. It saves people’s lives, especially in crisis situations.
CZ: I’m so glad you brought this point up about how society as a whole has moved away from spirituality and has gone to this strict medical model. Whatever your spiritual practice is, it’s all about coming back into your being, your true self. For me, I truly believe that love is at the center of everything. Learning how to reconnect with that myself, and trust that voice of love within me was huge. Like you said, a pill is not going to take us into ourselves; it’s just like a bandage. For me, it was temporary. I needed it during the very acute debilitating times, but I trusted that my need for it would fall away as I was ready to let it go. A lot of my anxiety was existential. Why the heck are we here? If God is love then how can all this crazy stuff be happening in this world? So, I needed a spiritual remedy; there wasn’t anything medical that would answer those questions for me.
JJ: I like that, in your book, you use the term “Inner Therapist.” Would you like to elaborate on that?
CZ: This Inner Therapist is part of our very own mind that heals, that remembers the truth that we are all united, that we are made of love. A Course in Miracles calls your Inner Therapist your Inner Teacher, Holy Spirit. You can call it your Higher Mind, your Inner Guide, or your Inner Guidance System. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but it’s the idea that there is something outside of this limited, fearful thought system (that we all know so well). As we get connected with this part of our own mind, with our Inner Therapist, we are able to use it for healing…
This process (that I write about in my book) is about finding your willingness to do differently and bringing your willingness to your Inner Therapist, to your Inner Teacher, asking for a miracle which is this sort of shift in perception. This ability to perceive and to experience love again is to hand it over and just trust that you handed it over. That shift is going to come when you’re ready to receive it. This Inner Therapist, for me, has been a key part for me. As I have become better and better at listening to it, which I also call the “Voice of Love,” or your intuition within you, the more I’ve come to identify with that, and the more I’ve found the anxiety issues just fall away. I feel so connected to my sense of being and the Divine Love that’s within me.
Janae Jean serves as editor, social media manager and podcaster for Conscious Community Magazine. She has an M.M. in Computer Music Composition from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Music/Education from Judson University. Janae is actively researching using electronically generated sounds for healing. Visit janaejean.com and perennialmusicandarts.com for details about Janae’s upcoming classes, lesson information, workshops, shows and projects.
Spencer Schluter is the advertising account manager, social media manager and podcaster for Conscious Community Magazine. His experience includes visual communications, advertising, social media, marketing, public relations and business development. Visit yggstudios.com for more information about his freelance design and consulting work. He is also a master level Reiki and traditional Chinese Qigong practitioner.
Podcast Theme Music: Sublimation (Theme from the Conscious Community Podcast)
Janae Jean Almen and Spencer Schluter, composers SpindriftGreenMusic Publishing ©2017