[anxiety & happy]
Clenched fists — this was my unconscious attempt to contain the anxious energy flowing through my mind, through my body.
..take a look for yourself:
It was pretty eye-opening to see it captured clear as day. irrefutable evidence of the anxiety that rushed within. to realize that everything you were trying to hide somehow snuck through to the outside. After I saw this for the first time a couple of years ago, I wanted to understand it more, to see if I could figure out where it came from, to somehow change it. And I was actually able to do so. to unclench my fists. to allow anxiety to be a part of me without overwhelming me.
how’d you do that, Clouds?
good question, friend. let’s explore..
I think a lot of us deal with anxiety. It’s part of the human condition. We think. and we feel. and, sometimes, we worry. For some of us, that worry happens more often than we’d like to admit, more often that we’d like, period. It cuts into our moments of peace, our moments of love. The cloud of thoughts overrides all potential for being in the present moment. It takes us into a slew of potentials and what ifs and negatively-framed possibilities of all the things that can go wrong. Worries of not being good enough, of screwing up, or of not being worthy of a happy outcome. Worries that get in the way of calm and quiet. Worries and fears that can drown us if we’re not careful.
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” ― Khalil Gibran
Why now, Clouds? Why talk about your experience with anxiety now if it’s been around forever?
another good question, friend.
Lately, for me, it’s been about wanting the future now. The higher level of anxiety being experienced has been created from a mixture of (A) wanting to live my life as fully and authentically as possible and (B) feeling stuck, unable to do move forward in life because of current situations / professional restraints / the looming uncertainty of where I’ll be 6 months from now. It’s been about wanting to control the outcome of relationships, or rather, more honestly, not wanting to pursue any potential romantic interaction if the possibility for hurt exists. It’s been about worrying about others more than I do about myself. It’s been about wanting, desiring something really, really badly but feeling it just out of fingertips’ reach.
“Meditation did not relieve me of my anxiety so much as flesh it out. It took my anxious response to the world, about which I felt a lot of confusion and shame, and let me understand it more completely. Perhaps the best way to phrase it is to say that meditation showed me that the other side of anxiety is desire. They exist in relationship to each other, not independently.” ― Mark Epstein
Those worries are still present. The desire for having something really, really badly still exists. Nothing is settled, internally or externally. So what can I do? Well, I seemed to quell the anxiety years ago by connecting with them, by connecting with me. I was able to unclench my fists by recognizing what was happening, at a very basic level. I began doing yoga, understanding where the anxiety was being held, and finding a release for the stress and tension created by the anxious wonderings. I didn’t let go of the anxiety, mostly because I don’t think that’s possible in a complete sense of the idea. I guess what I’m saying is that it is about letting go. letting go of control. letting go of expectations. letting go of worrying that something bad is going to happen, that something will go wrong, that I don’t deserve for things to go right. Desire will and should still be there. Desire for love. Desire for success. Desire for resolution. I’m thinking that maybe it’s really more about bringing it back to the present moment, bringing my focus back to the desire and current-ness of experiencing the thing that is fueling the anxiety, instead of the expected outcome. Mostly, I think I’m saying that anxiety isn’t something we should be ashamed of, embarrassed or stifled by, or apologize for. I think, maybe, if it is embraced (in a way that allows me to connect with and bring awareness to the thoughts without feeling drowned by them), I can get somewhere good, I think we can get somewhere good.
…I’m not completely sure that this is the answer but I’ll definitely let you know how it turns out.