I've been nervous this week, out of sorts, having bad dreams and spending my days worrying. No matter how many ways I try to tell myself that everything is fine, no matter. Still, I worry. I say to myself, you're ok, you're alright. I remind myself of the preciousness of life, I remember to be grateful for my great good fortune. I take deep breaths, soften my jaw, drop my shoulders. I do things, like cook and clean, walk, take pictures. I watch the clouds move through the impossibly blue sky in the midst of the nicest summer I have ever experienced in DC.
Still. I worry.
One thing I've realized only recently is that anxiety is not rational, therefore rational arguments against it can only serve to shame me for my emotional state. Like I need that, on top of the worry.
I've been chronically anxious all my life. Even as an infant, I was upset. The Sufi acupuncturist believes it's because my digestion is so dodgy - always was, of course. I had colic and cried all the time. I did not sleep. As a baby, I was a wreck. Some people are, it's not my fault. And so it has been ever since.
Over the decades I've amassed a huge cache of tools to help me calm down. Oh the breathing, oh the meditation. The stories I tell myself, the affirmations, prayers. I sage myself, ring my Tibetan singing bowl, give myself Reiki, send Reiki to others. I am aggressive about self care, receive massage, acupuncture. I connect with friends, feed them. Of course I self medicate with a martini, too, now and again.
All methods help at least temporarily most of the time. This past week, even my very favorite self soothing techniques have fallen flat.
The world feels as if it is aflame, a term I borrowed from David Remnick. Here's a link to his essay in the New Yorker about the happenings of this summer. Israel/Gaza, Ukraine/Russia, Ebola. Beautifully written. Scary!
Right now the fabric of the world of people feels like cheap polyester too close to a burning candle.
There are definitely things to be worried about right now. Good lord. And yet here I sit in Washington DC in the midst of a beautiful summer, surrounded by the serene emptiness of downtown DC in August, among friends, clients, neighbors. I'm eating good food and laughing and walking. I'm taking some really good pictures.
Maybe it's the paradox of the world aflame juxtaposed with my own little bubble of tra-la that's got me so anxious, who knows?
I believe that persevering through times of angst is strengthening. I will prevail is one of my favorite self soothing stories.
Yes, I know there are pills that would alter my brain chemistry and make me feel like I'm not really anxious. If I were depressed, not functioning, I might actually follow that line of inquiry. But I am functioning, doing good work in the treatment room, sleeping well, eating well, connecting with others, cooking.
I don't need drugs. Maybe what I need is patience.
I've spent much of my adult life practicing the art of intuition. I have sharpened my ability to sense the subtle energies much as a wine aficionado learns to taste the most subtle flavors, or the way musicians learn to differentiate the most subtle shifts in tone, rhythm, key. The way a musician cringes at a bad note, I cringe at the energy of this crazy moment in history.
The astrology of the past few months - well, years, really - has been ridiculous, motivating personal and collective reinvention. The social fabric of my society has been shaken hard. In particular, the geometry of the stars and planets has been really hard core since the day I left for Paris. I did not plan for that, I assure you!
I dance with the subtle energies, I surely do. It's my soul's calling. Lately, the dance feels like a scene from a mobster movie when the bad guys shoot at the feet of someone. The someone has to jump around to avoid being shot.
Serenity prayer. Breathe. Get about the business of the day, Reya. OK. This, too, shall pass.