i keep trying … i keep trying to ‘fill in’ the form – to ‘fill up’ with what’s expected – with what i ‘should’ be. so, why is it that i still feel so empty? … why do i keep spilling out all over the place?!
recently a dear friend reached out regarding some stressful changes in his life, changes that triggered feelings he thought he’d left behind.what he described was familiar – a painfully real quality of fear – that first arrow – that constriction – the hands shaking, breath limiting, inability thinking, longing to skip over this part.
i’m intimate with the effects of anxiety, depression … attentional disorder – how they ping off each other – how genetics and trauma contribute – and, what’s screaming like some hungry ghost is that, as a humanity, it seems as if we’re lost in a collective crisis of faith.
because that’s at the heart of it – faith!
… faith that i have what i need to ‘make it through’ – that ‘who i am’ is enough’ – that ‘i have the power’ to create my life!
and it seems to be accelerated through technology – so much ‘in’ form that we can’t keep up with it – can’t catalogue it fast enough. in a recent 60 minutes episode, a private company has succeeded in building hundreds of satellites that have taken over 800 million photos to date – many as small as the size of a fist. my head hurts! with so much information available, and with limited skills, it’s difficult to choose what we want to pay attention to. no wonder we feel like lucille ball in the chocolate factory.
at its highest capacity, anxiety functions as an anticipatory agent, ‘pay attention! what’s coming up is important!’ so fear can fall back and presence can rise. however, without awareness, thought and overwhelm is transmuted into a fear and uncertainty met with some story of powerlessness – “i can’t do it!”
when you can’t pay attention you can’t see that fear is asking you to look deeper – under the nervousness, under the sadness – and anxiety is pointing to ‘how’ – through faith.
now, in order to look deeper, you need to slow down; and in order to slow down, you need to let go of what you must do now for some uncertain, future need; and in order to do that you must be here – trust that what you have right now is enough. you must be willing to move forward on faith alone.
an inability to deal with inner and outer conflict will drive you deeper and deeper into the need for certainty, where, at some point you’ll be forced – by the body or by the mind – to come into conversation with the ghosts and shadows that have been driving this conflict of faith.
your body will let you know and your mind will scream!
however, with some preparation – prudence and provision – you can begin to satisfy and trust that you have what’s needed to rest safely in this moment. in awareness, you can respond to anger and empower with anxiety – you can see clearly!
how do you do that? what do you need to bring? what are the qualities that support trust in your aliveness and what are the faithful attitudes that relax anxiety?
be ok with uncertainty and be fully alive
there are no certainties in life because this life is, by its very nature, so spontaneous and ever-changing! what is certain is that all will change and the end may feel fearful and painful.’ however,with practice you can train your mind to pay attention to this aliveness – train it to pause before defaulting to the story of anxiety that sends you into a tailspin or forces you under the covers.
this is not mind control, which limits the ability and opportunity to contrast, makes the world small to inspire a false sense of safety, limits curiosity and free will, separates with fear and is fueled by anxiety!
take back your power
become aware – of how you’re choosing and to what you’re paying attention. what do you already know about your capacity and who are the people that surround you?
the people that you choose to surround yourself ‘with’ and those that want to be near say a lot about what you believe.
start with the people closest to you – not every person or ever experience, not all the time, but a few and notice when you do. just begin with one and remember what you already know. relocate the stillness.
and ask, what’s the story?
anxiety needs a story to stay alive, and how we interpret that story shifts our experience from fearful to powerful.
the story of my anxiety says that in order to be ‘good’ i have to ‘con’form – that i have to ‘pre’ sent myself in a particular form – and, time and time again, i come back feeling anxious! but here’s the difference: when i bring space to the feeling, i realize that this anxiety isn’t saying, “i’m not good enough,” it’s saying, “girl! you come in many forms and what you ‘really are’ can’t be formed! heads up! tap into faith and don’t get lost!”
so, what’s the story of your anxiety? and what’s left once it spills away?
next time it rises in you, slow down, take a breath and remember – ah! i’m not this story! then lean in a little closer to hear what it’s really trying to say – be brave, be curious, be loving!
challenge the boundaries of fear, and share this experience with someone you love with the certainty that, indeed, you are enough!
*** Anxiety is real and can become a serious condition that limits the ability to be in life fully. If anxiety is affecting you in ways that keep you from this aliveness – that keep you hostage in fear – REACH OUT, speak to someone, connect and know that you are important! Learn how to recognize and manage stress.
Follow this link for more information on teen anxiety: https://angstmovie.com/resources-find-therapists/
No matter what’s happening, NOW is an opportunity to pay attention. NOW is the time to begin a practice. NOW is the time to be the person that you long to be. Click here to begin a practice.