I am feeling anxious today. My life is in a period of massive and unexpected change.
Just over two years ago I experienced a period of massive, but expected and planned change. One big change was that my daughter finished school and began a gap year on her way to university and leaving home. The other was that we were relocating to Scotland from Derbyshire. Leaving our home of 16 years and buying another house.
I recall intense levels of stress through that period of time. Particularly, relating to sorting out a mortgage. I had a strong desire to move to our new house in Scotland and took every obstacle personally. At that time I was constantly ruminating on the latest obstacle, battling with reality to get what I wanted. It was exhausting.
I am struck by how different my current period of change is. There are obstacles, but my attitude is different. Fundamentally, I trust that everything will be OK, whatever unfolds. I can recognise how little control I have about what is going to happen and am taking things much less personally.
It’s not that I’m not doing anything, about my changing situation, but I am doing just enough to accommodate the changing circumstances around me. I feel curious and proactive.
This time I know in my bones there is no point in worrying or scheming. When I notice my mind grasping to the future to plan or control I can bring myself back. I understand now that the best way to take care of the future is to be present now.
From time to time I wonder if I am in denial about what is happening or whether I really am OK with it all. I guess time will tell, but I do feel pretty OK.
I am doing a lot of practice, bringing curiosity and self-care to each day. When I notice anxious habits emerging, I am cutting myself some slack. I am consciously making more time to rest and relax.
However, today I feel anxious.
I was struck by the comments of one of the participants in the members online teaching last night. She noticed anxiety and connected it with the uncertainty permeating the whole of our country at this time of political chaos. I think we do pick up anxiety from those around us. Then there is the ever present anxiety about climate crisis!
Anyway, I am traveling today. As I write this I am listening to one of my play lists. Music always soothes me and raises my mood. Once I have finished writing this blog, I will go back to listening to the audiobook of Mingjur Rinpoche’s ‘In love with the world’ for the second time. A true practitioner’s account of momentous change, within which my experience of change pales into insignificance.
I find the account of his own anxiety deeply soothing – I am not on my own – and the account of his response tremendously inspiring.
One phrase from the book strikes me ‘….the self-imposed punishment of anger’. How apt. I write this phrase down immediately and it inspires this blog.
Change the word ‘anger’ for ‘anxiety’ and I recognise myself. I am experiencing the self-imposed punishment of anxiety. Self-imposed by a mistaken idea that I can/should be able to control what is going to happen. This ignores the truth of impermanence – that everything is constantly changing due to myriad causes and conditions way beyond mine or anyone’s control.
Many things around me keep sending me the message that there can be no courage without experiencing fear and vulnerability.
All I can do is courageously surf the waves of impermanence as best I can. Actually, it is all any of us can do. And that is absolutely fine! Really – it is!
Now is good!
You can practice mindfulness with Heather by joining her on the following courses:
Teacher Training Level 1 at Samye Ling – 29-31st May, 2020 (date subject to change)
Heather also teaches on the MSc Studies in Mindfulness.