I read something interesting this morning that spoke to me; a woman described anxiety as feeling like a flock of birds were battling in your rib cage. That’s it exactly. She also wrote that anxiety arises when we don’t deal with emotions and stuff them instead. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Deal with this now!” Once we deal with it and face the emotions, our body can come to an understanding and let go of the anxiety. That’s what I am working on this summer.
We have become a society where anxiety is commonplace. We just medicate it like it’s normal and go about our lives, but its specter is always in the shadows, preventing us from living full, rich lives. We become so tied in knots that we reach for whatever helps us to escape- medicines, food, alcohol, etc. I want off of the merry-go-round. I want to be able to embrace the ghosts, face the emotions head on and deal with them. It’s contradictory to the way I was raised as a Southern woman- we don’t show negative emotions, we smile through everything (at least in public), we are polite to a fault- we have to be ladies, handling everything with grace and aplomb. The problem with that paradigm is that we are human, just like everyone else. The challenges and hurts we face wound us just like they would anyone. We just wear a mask to cover it…and we pay dearly for it sometimes.
There is a certain freedom just in writing these words, in recognizing the elephant in the room and serving him tea. Each time I meditate, focus on really breathing, my mind seems to open, and I feel one less bird battling in my rib cage. There are always going to be stressful times, sadness, loss- every person will face real life. The trick I think for me, is seeing the experiences for what they are- blips on the map of a life fully lived- and also opportunities. If I can refrain from seeing the stressors as catastrophic, as just reality, their power over me diminishes tremendously. I can choose to see the good in the bad, the light in the darkness, to find the lessons that will stretch me and help me to grow. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? We are here to learn and grow, and to become better, more compassionate human beings. Nowhere does it say that life will be perfect, always happy and joyful.
I am human, I will stumble along the way, but I am excited to be on a path that feels so right. I already love my life, but I want to let go of the things that don’t serve me anymore- and fear and anxiety have long over-stayed their welcome. When I think of all the energy I waste worrying and how much I could do with that energy in more constructive and positive ways…I feel such hope and anticipation of the good things to come. I am ready to burst open like my sunflower buds, my face to the blue sky, my heart open. I feel it, just around the corner. Ready to burst into life!