Learning to Breathe: From Panic to Peace

Dean and I recently attended an event with Meredith Vieira and her dear friend, Priscilla Warner. It was a conversation about anxiety, how it creeps up, and how Priscilla finally learned to breathe. Dean and I are very lucky; neither of us suffer from panic attacks so I’m sure you are asking yourself why, then, would we attend this event?

1. I really love Meredith Vieira and miss her on the Today show. (Check out her heels above. Stunning.)
2. A few of my near and dear do suffer from them and if I could learn one thing for them, then it was time well spent. Luckily, I learned 100 things so our time was really well spent and most of those things were just great life lessons, panic or not.

First you must know how funny Priscilla is, but she shared how panic followed her like a shameful secret shadow since the age of 15. (Amazingly, Meredith Vieira – her friend since grade school never even knew what she was going through.) It wasn’t until Priscilla’s tour for her bestselling book The Faith Club that she was motivated to go from “a neurotic Jew to a serene Tibetan Monk.” Ok, so she wasn’t really going to become a monk, but she did learn from them. She wanted the brain of a monk. She wanted to be “a monk in a minivan.” Her journey was not easy (she even popped klonopin at meditative retreats), but she no longer suffers from panic attacks. She believes everyone needs to have their own tool kit. Her tool kit was assembled with meditation, yoga, various types of therapy, and a bit of crying. But she got there.

Though this may be a bit deeper than my usual posts, I wanted to share her story with you all. Because let’s be real, we all have our “stuff” and if we can learn from each other then this blog really is a success. Here are collected bits of wisdom she shared. I think they can be applied to whatever your “stuff” may be:

1. You have to be committed and ready to make a change in your life. She quoted the Buddhist proverb, When a student is ready a teacher will appear. It may be a difficult and long process, but as cyclists say enjoy the climb.
2. You are not on the path, you are the path.
3. It’s not selfish to seek happiness.
4. You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
5. Tell yourself over and over again, you are going to be ok.

You can read more about her journey in her new book, Learning to Breathe. I have not yet read it as it was just released this week, but I have no doubt that it will be honest and inspirational.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Hi,
    I too attended the event at the JCC and loved it. So much to take away, even as a person (like you say about yourself) wihout the condition of an anxiety disorder. But we all have our ‘stuff’ as you say, and there was so much insight and wisdom shared. You really captured the main points. Thank you for sharing and putting into words some great take-aways for All.

    • loveumadly says:

      I’m so glad someone else who was there agrees! I was so impressed. Maybe we’ll meet at the a future JCC conversation!

  2. For five years, I experienced the debilitating symptoms of fear, anxiety, and depression. Often these symptoms are diagnosed by physicians as panic attack disorder or anxiety disorder. In a constant state of anxiety and panic, I searched desperately for a way out of my forest of despair. Following what seemed to be an almost insurmountable degree of frustration and disappointment, I found the way to permanent recovery from severe anxiety symptoms.



Speak Your Mind