I think the hardest part about change is to keep on trying. When anxiety is triggered it is so easy to give in to it and just let it wash over us and take over. Then we can’t see anything around us. Life shrinks to our own suffering and we cannot experience outside of that. This is such a waste. Hours, days, too much time taken away from us. Time that could have been spent immersed in each moment, each hour. Lost forever to the storm raging inside of us. I know someone who has been suffering with cancer for a very long time. Her life has been challenged many time. The amazing thing is that she is still going on. She moves forward with joy each day and truly lives every single moment. Her faith in God and God’s blessings allows her to savor each day.
The question is how do we learn to live this way? I am sure if she were asked she couldn’t tell you. We each have to find our way alone. Our hope is that we will not be entirely alone if we are blessed enough to have friends who understand, physicians who listen and a faith that holds us close. Still, we must do the work ourselves. Each day, each moment we must repeat I am here now. I am alive now. The past is past and the future is not here. Only this moment matters.
This is the place where we feel as if nothing is working. That step backward puts FAILURE in our minds and we can just stop moving forward. Once again anxiety raises its ugly head and although
it is only a small crack we can peer through and see the chasm yawning below us.
This is where we must dig in our heels or the temptation to slide will take over. After several days of meditation, writing and focusing on change anxiety tried to take over. Sending it back into its cage seemed fruitless and yet why not try? So what has been learned to help push away slip? Deep breathing, distraction do help some but the truth is they are not entrenched enough to banish the feelings.Visualization does help to form the monster into a cloud and send it packing. Continuing forward is the only thing to do. No stopping now.
Not perfect at this point but a start. I can tell this will continue to be a struggle. This is when the whole idea of change can just fade away but determination to continue is still here.
Today change feels like a snail. It seems that change requires adding on more things than the things I let go of. Continuing meditation using echo with command open stop breathe and think has been a big help. Just having someone else direct the meditation is such a bonus and seems to make actually meditating more accessible. This is an excellent guide and one I would easily recommend to anyone.
Some of the data on anxiety says that some people have situational anxiety. This has been an eye opener for me and I am sure that this is what afflicts many people. For those of us with this it is amazing how many problems we can easily manage with very little stress but just add the situation that triggers us and we can quickly go off the rails. It seems that understanding and identifying the trigger would make discussion with a counselor be of greater benefit with more results.
“Toward all this is unsolved in you heart be patient. Try to love the questions. Do not seek answers which cannot be given; you would not be able to live them. Live everything. Live the questions now; you will then gradually without noticing it live into the answers some distant day.” Ranier Maria Rilke
There are always so many questions. Growing up I wondered why I was stressed about things and those around me were not. I thought it was just me and that I was different from other people who seemed to cope so much better with what life threw at them. I felt somehow weak and less than others. Why couldn’t I just shake things off and move on?
I am glad that today discoveries are being made about those of us who suffer from anxiety. I am glad that I don’t have to consider myself alone or unusual. Much is being written on this subject and research is being done on what parts of the brain are involved and is there some way to help.
It is clear that we have a more active flight or fight response than others. This may have been helpful when we really did need to run or fight but now it is an aggravation and sometimes a real trial. Many of us with even mild anxiety have suffered with a panic attack and sought help. I have been lucky and have only experienced this twice in my life. I hope that this journey will help me to avoid it in future.
The thing is, those of use who do not have clinical anxiety have suffered quietly and alone. We have coped one way or another and kept on going. For those of us blessed enough to have family and friends who support us the journey has been easier.
I still sometimes ask why me? Maybe as Rilke says someday I will live into the answer.
It’s funny how life puts changes in front of you. Today I discovered that by asking Alexa on my Amazon Echo I could access several different meditation sites. Even though I taught meditation, when beginning, it is so difficult to do it on your own. It helps to have someone gently leading you. Later on it is more manageable to shed the guidance and move into deep meditation on your own.
I accessed this today and low and behold the topic for the meditation was anxiety! I had a friend who says these sort of occurrences were the arragels were at work. They certainly were today!
I was able to write poetry today and just the fact that I can access those feeling and put them on paper is a blessing. I was blocked and couldn’t write. It is so good to be myself
opening up again. I hope this trend continues but expect backslides from time to time.
Sadness is here
It has slid in
While I wasn’t looking
And tears spill easily
What different life
Blindsides my peace
And leaves me
And I struggle
Sinking in confusion
Yet new paths are forming
New thoughts rise
Keeping chaos at bay
And anxiety chained
There are those
And my path
Will cross with theirs
And my love
Will envelop them
And bring peace
Doesn’t it seem that everything happens at once? We go along with what we call normal and then everything changes. I have often been struck by the song “What a difference a day makes” and how true it is. Life is ever changing but some changes are more drastic than others. For someone to suddenly die is huge.There is no normal. For two years I worked with a grief support group and saw each of them grow into an “new normal.” For those of us who make plans and projections way down the road seeing lives turned upside down in one moment is frightening. The road ahead is no longer clear.
The thing is if we just live in the moment then the next doesn’t really matter. To say I am here right now alive and fully present is enough. This journey is about absorbing that truth and living it out.
Since January of this year my life has been drastically changed. Why is for another day. That change is what has me on this journey. It was not of my choosing. Grief, anxiety and much change have brought me to this place. Recently I wrote a poem about this grief and the grief of those in the support group.
Someone once said
Grief is a gift
But who would
Who would want
To lose love
And find yourself
The tears fall
Cleansing, freeing but
For the narrow crack
And slides easily in
How can this be
A gift received
Why should it
If love is absent
Grief is stayed
Only love’s absence
And without love
There is no gift
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu
The difficulty for me is not taking the first step but continuing steps. I start out with enthusiasm and plans but don’t follow through. I am hoping that writing this blog every day will give me the push I need to keep going.
Throughout our lives we are given advice about how not to worry. “Just let it go…..put it out of your mind…think about something else….just keep on keeping on.” I’m sure that anyone could add many things to that list.
I took intensive yoga for two years when yoga was not popular. The teacher was a master at teaching and we spent almost two hours each class which allowed us to meditate at the end for thirty minutes or more. I was able to fall into a deep mediation and at times felt myself lift off the floor and float in the air. My teacher had surgery without anesthesia by meditating. If I had kept practicing I could have thrown the worry out the door years ago. We moved…I had another teacher…good but not as skilled and my enthusiasm faded. I picked back up and attended the Yoga Seminary of New York which was amazing. It was an ashram and had both yoga and teaching of the Bhavagad Gita with Swami Pravananda. (Forgive me if I didn’t remember his name correctly) The experience was amazing. Again, I was back on track and taught yoga for a while until we moved again. It seems that I can hold on to something as long as I have a rope to hold on to but just drop it on my own. Discipline is not my middle name.
It is so easy to drift back into old habits. Changing habits is so very hard. I have the phrase “I am alive today- right now-this moment.” I am using it whenever my mind begins to head off into worry. I don’t know how many have read Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence but I need to keep it close at hand and think about him often. Every task he did be it washing dishes or digging in the garden was done to the glory of God and his mind was on this fact. Obviously worry was not an issue for him.
I have started taking a few moments each day….this is about all I can tolerate…. to sit in silence and just breathe. I hope that I can increase the time as my tolerance increases. I hope to move myself gently into a new way of being. Spending time with ourselves can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t want to know but how else can we learn who we really are?