My Anxiety Ritual

taken from ...Tao and Zen

taken from …Tao and Zen

It is the feeling of being alone when I am in a crowded room of friends. It takes control of my emotions and leads me away into a grey filled nether place. Seeing it approach me, I summon it to leave me alone. I am fine and do not welcome its attention. I do not want it to pretend to befriend me again. I know it is really not my ally as it fills my head with an uneasiness quite unlike any other. This annoying caller always visits me after the holidays, sometimes impatient enough to tiptoe into my world in the midst of the celebration…waiting for the moment to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that it is waiting…to carry on our ongoing discussion of life.

I have seen a lot of depressing things in my time. I have been “awakened” in a sense, to the world around me, finding it much more complicated than a Rubik’s Cube…but none the less a pattern presented to ponder upon. I think some people believe it is this awareness that causes my anxiety ritual but it is not. I suffered from it way before I saw the ugly in the world. This false cohort sought me out in childhood as well. No, I think it is a product of my soul-searching to bear witness to the grace and charm of life. I have always sought to be surrounded in family tradition as it glued my world together past and present. I hold many shared moments in reverence …vacations with my parents and children/ card games at the kitchen table with my grandmother/
my years of taxi mom to school functions/ my children stepping out on their own/ my wonderful husband and our conversations that only soul mates can carry. All of these fill my heart and head…beautiful experiences and I know that looking back I will always see them as such. However, as I revel in these times I also worry that they would someday end…and thus my anxiety takes over.

I also love the beauty of life…simple beauty of the sunrise and sunset, snow glistening on the hillside as well as the beauty of hope and compassion and love. I tend to try to drown myself with just my head above -not totally lost within…and as I do, I remind myself that all of life is fragile…the sunset will soon be gone, the sunrise as well and there will be days of hardly a hope and little compassion to be had out there. This is life I remind myself. No one said living would be easy…but the world reminds us that real living is full of the beauty and charm, love and laughter- as well as the deep emotions that make the heart heavy.

Oh my anxiety softly sings the song of never know what tomorrow will bring…and I have my quiet reflection on the hard truths of life that I have seen over the past years.. But I tell myself that pure love never leaves…it can’t be taken away as love is a forever bond. Even with the death of a loved one, the love remains within me. And the love of my family and friends..their love will remain forever within me too. Ah! I tell my little transient banshee as we stand face to face, I know this to be true as it quiets his ramblings in my head… and this knowledge keeps me one step ahead of my unwelcome visitor.

I take a deep breath…it is my saving grace in times like these. I remind myself that the beauty of life is still here…yet to be found another day in some new and provocative way. I pull my memories of family and friends to help me see what a treasure I have already collected. I again awaken to see the beauty of hope for tomorrow more clearly, new experiences to be had and memories to be made. The pattern begins to be seen and the joy of my journey with it.

My Regrets

Cattails 

     Regret…a rather heavy word that weighs one down like extra clothing. Making it uncomfortable to move freely in life, always reminding of its presence. I try not to accommodate regret as I intentionally move it to the farthest corner of my thoughts. It is hard not to soak oneself in such misgivings yet the damp chill is unhealthy for hopes and dreams of the future. We all have had times when we made choices we did not like. Life is full of choices. Our day starts with a choice- when to get up and ends with one- when to go to bed. Every twist and turn in existence is a choice. Every breath followed by action derived …by choice. Some of them seem to dance in the sun, some seem to give us sorrow and …regret. But how sweet would the dance be without the sorrow. I can take the sorrow. It melts with time like the winter snow. It is regret that one must be wary of as it stings as long as one holds it close.

     I don’t carry regrets long in my life. I have had struggles and learned lessons but I refuse to lament my decisions. I think that looking too long at the past can cause one to stumble as they walk towards the future. Validate it…accept it….let it go. Sometimes this is hard and the shoulda and coulda find their way out. They stir the pot and place regret on the table. I smile, breathe a very deep and slow breath and I say “not today thank you.” I would rather eat alone with my thoughts and me. No regrets… I find them just too hard to swallow.

Perfectly Ok

Above Arctic Circle, Alaska

      To me beauty can be found in imperfection. Maybe that is why I love old things. Items once new to an owner, proudly bought with hard-earned money. No longer new, no longer shiny but showing its wounds gathered through life. Looking at an old table, I am reminded of its history and the scars and scratches that prove it has a real, time worn existence. People are like that too. No one goes through life living in pure perfection.

     Oh we start out such innocent babes, cooing and smiling and adored by loved ones. As we travel down our chosen path, we bump and bruise ourselves inside and out. Wrong choices and bad decisions scar our souls a bit. Yet many of us strive to have a perfect home, perfect marriage, perfect family…perfect life. You know, the whole picket fence deal and money lining our pockets and a family dog fetching the daily paper. But who really has obtained real perfection. No one. It is not reality. We can not successfully learn and grow in life without making mistakes along the way. That is how humanity evolves. That is what makes us real.

      I try to embrace my own imperfections. Alas, there are many. I won’t go into detail here and bore you but….I know many of them by name. I recognize the battle scars inside and out from our many confrontations. I strive to maintain the ability to accept who I am and own who I am. That doesn’t mean that I should not continue to strive to be a better person- imperfect or not.

      Yep, I get highlights in my hair and remove some grey. I see the fine lines and wrinkles as they silently make their way on my face. I must remember that I have earned them all. I have survived half a century and it has not been perfect. I smile, (another wrinkle forms) I know that I am a work in progress. I am impatient and it is hard work but it is who I am. I tell myself there is a certain perfection in the imperfections. I smile again and take another step towards tomorrow.