Posts Tagged #anxiety
anxiety field notes, entry 1.
What you resist, persists
so, if you RESIST anxiety,
it will PERSIST?
What you resist, you bury.
What you bury gets stuck.
Some things cannot be buried.
(Most things, actually.)
Seeds can, and should be.
Flowers should not be buried, if you want to watch them bloom.
If you bury flowers they die, they rot.
Bury anger deep in a trash can like a lit butt
cover anger with an placid lid, a smooth smile, it will smolder
poison the air
you will breathe it in
it will permeate every single cell in your body.
Unburied, anger dissipates, harmless as a whiff of stinky stinky cheese
but buried—it kills love.
Speaking of love:
Love cannot be buried, kept like a secret journal in a sock drawer.
at first, confined love smells like lavender, like a sachet,
love has to grow in the light.
Love has to see the sky in the morning
see your smile in the night.
Speaking of your smile:
Longing, what of longing, my specialty?
What you resist, persists—
does this mean I should not resist the fear
of you, so warm, fading from my mind?
Or does it mean I should resist this fear,
so your smile persists forever in my heart?
Speaking of hearts:
some questions are best buried,
dark-eyed as apple seeds
planted deep in my heart
to grow as they will,
wild upstarts, bearing sweet fruit, in time.
I’m realizing the things I liked to do as a kid are still the among the things that bring me the most joy–drawing, writing, exploring. Untimed things. Things with no real point or purpose, except to be free and alive. And they were the things I seemed to think were ‘frills’ when I entered adulthood. I let them go, or (worse) tried to make them things I controlled, like I thought grown ups should do. Isn’t it an adult’s job to worry, after all?
Anxiety for me happens when I try to control things that are beyond my control–which seemed the whole theme of adulthood, until I figured out it didn’t have to be.
What brings you joy? Give yourself permission: make some joy today.
Sinking into my gut like
a spire into a low sky
it walks with me, or used to—
maybe that’s why I learned to
walk so fast, shins burning hot
uphill, it always beat me…
until I learned not to hear.
“Feeling emotional upheaval is not a spiritual faux pas; it’s the place where the warrior learns compassion.”
–Pema Chödrön, From The Places That Scare You
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Heard a story on NPR today about exposure therapy—a guy who had paralyzing anxiety of rejection set out to GET rejected, over and over, until it no longer frightened him— and it worked for him. It made so much sense. He faced his fears until they stopped scaring him silly.
I guess that is what I am doing, though I hadn’t thought of it quite that way. Exposure therapy. I have been delving into dark places lately (no, no—not all the time, that would be crazy!) and the more I look at things inside that are scary and just ‘be’ with them, the more I appreciate their beautiful powerful forces and the less scared I feel. Rejecting part of yourself takes a lot of energy. It makes you worn down. I wonder if the denial of dark things inside is what creates some cases of chronic anxiety? My overall anxiety level certainly is ebbing as I dig. (But also: spiking like mad as I hit uncharted tunnels.)
Digging it all up is a messy process. I’m not all that great at it, a lot of times. I get stuck sometimes. A lot of times. I thrash and make it needlessly worse. I grasp. But I’m hoping I’ll get better at being with it when it comes, unexpectedly. Because it’s the fear you have to fear. Like the guy who was afraid of rejection. He wrapped his brain in a new direction. Away from fear, into acceptance of something that scared him. So hopeful, stories like his.
Like anything else, it takes practice. All any of us can do is keep trudging!
Per aspera ad astra. (A rough road leads to the stars).
Yes, I’m boiling over
I’m stirring the pot,
I walk, listening
for the howler monkeys
their silence echoes
across the silver sky
A red-tailed hawk and a flock of sparrows
whisper in my muffled ears:
to the pond, to the pond, to the pond
words skipping like stones across water
like a needle, stuck
on vinyl that shines like black ice
To the pond, to the pond: insistent
like a tic, like the pot, stirring me
to the pond, to the pond where
three bubblers describe three circles,
liquid centers with white-lipped borders
ice edging dark water
A man is on the ice
walking slowly along the radius
as if walking to an altar
as if on a pilgrimage
he’s tracing an invisible labyrinth
trusting the ice to hold him, or not—
but I see only fearlessness
as I watch, breathing cold air
on the frozen edge
under the silver sky