Anxiety–that little squirrel itching away inside of us–eating up the bliss of contentment–where does it come from and why do we suffer so?
The world itself seems to be made for worrying over. Look at the mess we’ve created. Wars, hunger, FOX news, slave trafficking, plastics, kudzu, crack cocaine, potholes, tainted tomatoes, heck traffic circles give me a touch of anxiousness! How are we to deal with all of this in a way that creates peace and love around the globe and in ourselves? Because we haven’t even begun to list all of the “natural” stresses that come along in every single life. Stuff like job security, retirement, moving, the frailties of the homes we call our bodies and our minds, and the ultimate, at the root of it all stressor: death, the long goodbye.
I’d like to tell you that I NEVER suffer from that skittery internal rodent, named WORRY, but I do. Today I am sitting with my anxiety over some x-rays taken a couple of days ago. I have a VERY active imagination and I can easily spin out on the possible negative implications these pictures are going to speak about my back, hip and knee….I don’t give much thought to the positive things I may learn about my joints. The worry comes despite my best efforts at containment. It shows up even when my head says “No need to worry; the world spins along in its own manner with or without your pet, anxiety. Look at yourself in this present moment: everything is not perfect, but you are still breathing! Acknowledge the gifts you have right now. You can worry about blah-de-blah when and if there is something REAL to worry about. AND if there is indeed something REAL to worry about, HELLO–your worry is not going to help at all. So Get a Grip and enjoy life FULLY. Ditch the hungry animal, stress. Go do a backbend for goodness sakes!”
I’d like to say that I have not lost chunks of my life to that darned hungry critter, Anxiety. It’s the force behind the desire to go numb. And the human species has developed a rather impressive array of methods to go numb. Anxiety has a creepy cousin named Craving. Addictions, (and we all suffer myriad forms of cravings), are created because we want to stop the fear, often disguised simply as discomfort. It’s often an unconscious process learned early in life.
JOURNAL MEDITATION: List all of the cravings you presently experience or have experienced in the past. Leave some space between them. When you have captured as many as you can think of, go back and try to remember when you first experienced the desire. Again leave some space for further elaboration. Don’t worry about complete thoughts, just get them down on the paper. You can always go back later to clean it up.
After a day or two, re-read your entry and then add your thoughts about how any of the cravings affect your present life.
Choose one of the cravings and meditate upon it. Allow any feelings associated with the “hungry rodent” to surface. It’s important that you don’t judge the feelings, attach any importance to them, or create a storyline about them. Just sit with them. Watch them with full “allowingness” as a part of your Self. Love them as parts of yourself. Love them for what they teach you about emptiness. Would you still be reading if you didn’t have them? When they pass, breathe deeply and gratefully.
OK, so this little exercise sounds so easy–your experience may or may not be simple. Use it however you can. Smile if you can, and if you can’t, accept that too. My own experience is that sometimes I can let go of the craving and let it pass. Then there are other moments….. but I dedicate my life to these teachers. Why? Because I love my Self…and I want to love ALL of myself.
Time to go now and watch the rodents teach me about emptiness. I’ve got some nuts to feed them.