I have noticed a sharp uptick in my anxiety over the past couple of months, to a point where I feel I am at a crossroads; either I tame the beast, or I let it cripple me and make my world a very small place. I choose the battle over submission. Just yesterday, as I waited for Dan to come out of his colonoscopy procedure, I felt the fear rising. I had brought my Rick Steves book on Spain to read up on Madrid for my trip next month (one month from tomorrow, to be exact). As I read what should have been exciting information about all of the wonderful things I will see in that beautiful city, I felt my breath become shallow and the by now familiar knot in my stomach.
This is not the only area where fear is creeping in. I see it in performance anxiety, in a general fear that something will happen to Dan, the animals, our home. I worry about my book, my job, my responsibilities, and my sleep cycle is a mess. I worry about being a failure…the fear that something bad is lurking around the next bend. I know it is normal to have those thoughts flit through our minds sometimes, but this is more than that- it is becoming something that is taking root in me, and I just can’t accept that. My mother lived a life of fear, always worrying about the next bad thing that would happen. When one issue was resolved, she moved on to the next in her litany of worries. She had a very happy and positive side, but I often saw the dark underbelly of fear, as I was her confidant. There were many wonderful qualities that I hope I have from my mother- fear is not one that I want to claim.
I took another step toward battling back my fear this morning- I finally began to meditate. I have had the best of intentions, but I find myself often putting off those things that will help me by getting busy with other things. Another battle I am waging this summer…defining my priorities. I have to decide what kind of life I want and need to live, and then order my priorities accordingly. I also have to remind myself that I am not a failure. I have accomplished a lot in my career and in my relationships. I have a wonderful and happy marriage, I have long-time friends, a love-filled home, a career that fulfills me….I can’t let fear and anxiety rob me of those things, or the enjoyment of them.
I watched my mother’s world become smaller and smaller, until she almost became afraid to leave her lift chair at times. Afraid she would fall, afraid she was going to lose her leg, afraid she had a tumor, afraid that she wouldn’t have a home. No matter how much I tried to reassure her, the fear usually won. She was my mirror, and I need to remember that reflection and face the issues now before I become that woman. I want to be like the other woman I knew, the Dorothy who faced so much and persevered, who everyone loved for her humor and positive outlook. And, I want to be the woman I have worked toward being, with my own strengths and gifts. I refuse to let fear steal that from me.
I have set early morning as my time to meditate. I have a meditation timer on my phone, and I have found the place where I feel most comfortable. Along with that, I will continue with yoga and other exercise to deal with stress….and I will write. Writing has been one of the greatest gifts in helping me to gain perspective in my life. This summer of renewal and reflection is an important one. I am making progress- down twenty-three pounds so far- but this layer of self-improvement is crucial. The most loving gift I can give to myself will be letting go of the fear- for good.