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Tag Archives: anxiety

A cloak of invisibility (or fashion in times of Lent)

ImageOccasionally I freak out. Not like in a outwardly crazy sense, but more in the way that one usually keeps hidden. At times I feel like I am simply a child “acting” like an adult. Navigating each day like a dream where there are no rules, nothing is certain, and danger potentially lurks behind each dark corner. Ok, so most of the time I can keep it together, maintaining a good exterior facade and putting on a game face which says “I’m okay… got everything under control. I got this… Really… I got this.” This is certainly not how I feel on this inside. Under this mask, I am worried. I am concerned about the future. I worry. A lot.

ImageI suppose this all comes from worries I’ve held since I was young. Don Miguel Ruiz posits that we inherit a belief system growing up, which we cling to ad infinitum. Being scared, we react with anger, we transfer our “poison” to another, and we feel better. We become such wonderful masters at doing this that it becomes second nature. It is now part of who we are. Becoming less divorced from our surroundings, we now inherit those traits which have been taught to us unconsciously by society. Well, I suppose we have to be good at something! I just would have wished that something to be a positive aspect of human relations. It feels like control, this reactionary existence. It feels empowering to know that we can rid ourselves of potentially negative feelings simply by transferring them to another. But do we ever “really” get rid of these unwanted and often uncomfortable emotions? I think not. It almost seems like a game of tennis – hitting a ball back and forth, the final “receiver” of the ball is the loser. But wait for the next round. That goddamn ball is heading right back for ya! And not only is it on its way, its more powerful than before. You “opponent” is seriously pissed off, and wants you to lose. Seems so petty, this struggle. Where’s the love?! Where’s the humanity?! Why even play the game at all? Well, we are taught that we must play the game from a very early age. Just try to quit, you might see a bit of resistance from your fellows. A “Carlos Castaneda” sort of way of dealing with the world. Image

One wonders whether there are shades of gray as far as judgement and perceptions of one’s connectedness to social norms. Are you drinking enough of the “Kool Aid”? Certainly the Kool Aid drinkers want you to join in. You must text back immediately, you must email withing 24 hours, you must attend a gathering you committed to, you must work during the day, and sleep at night. Eggs are for breakfast, and cake is for dessert. You must answer your phone. You must have a cell phone, an email, a facebook, and so on…

Ok, so not to indulge too much or get too “out there,” I will try to bring it back to my original topic – worry.

So let’s say I have been pretty much trained like a dog to react to certain stimuli with fear, anger, and a compulsion to release any uncomfortable feelings. It certainly seems plausible. Ok, so if that’s true… what to do?

I don’t want to release any “poison” to those around me simply to relieve my own tension and anxiety. I love my friends and family, and the world around me. I don’t want to be in conflict with the world. The world/universe is my god, and I want to be at peace with my god. Therefore the answers must come from inside. An undoing. A willingness to suffer a little discomfort. To finally let a part of me die so that another part of me can live – Wait, wasn’t that the premise to Harry Potter? Hmmm… I digress.

Anyway! So, upon this Lenten season, I see this as an arbitrary opportunity to let part of me die. To finally let the waves of discomfort subside. What does not kill me makes me stronger (said the great and wise Kelly Clarkson). So I need not be afraid. Lent is a time for transformation. I look to those who have survived the Holocaust, both physically and mentally. How did these folks find freedom in such an oppressive environment? By seeking freedom from a sacred place – a place within. A place that no one, no matter how strong or cruel, could ever desecrate. But transformation is not easy. As my mentor and friend David Bruner says “Practice makes permanent.” I must find a new belief system, and guide myself through everything I do with my new beliefs. I need not seek the approval of the outside world, for I know that I am loved, and that I will come out stronger on the other side.

Happy Ash Wednesday folks. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 🙂

Thanks for reading.

-Jon

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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Monster from Within

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Sometimes it can be difficult to get through the day. Most of the time, life seems alright and nothing more than mild depression or joy seems to take place. But other days, life can seem rough. And what’s more, it may not be clear why. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and I am not sure why. I didn’t have sugar before bed or anything, but I woke up terrified. Sometimes it’s the things I can’t articulate that overwhelm me more than anything else. At least with a challenge that’s laid out in front of me, I know what to fight for and what to prepare myself against. But this morning was something different. Sometimes the monster is not like something in a Harry Potter movie, but something inside of me. Another form of destructive beast. The kind that takes on friendly forms and eats me from the inside out. I speak of course about a monster that has no name, one that lies in the deep and waits for a vulnerable time to strike. It cares less about the injury and more about getting me down.

For days like this I have to tell myself to press on. Fight the good fight, or don’t fight at all. Do whatever it takes to not let it take control. I took a hard look at all the wonderful gifts I have in my life and decided to focus on that. And although I felt sad and anxious, I walked through it all accepting the fact that I can be a neurotic young man sometimes. 🙂

So having pressed on and weathered the crappy morning of uncertain despair and hidden sadness, through the love and joy of the world around me and the wiliness to not only push through my emotions but also accept that I have them and maybe they will sting for a while. After all I am not a robot. I get knocked down and I get back up. It’s not easy. It just plain isn’t. But it is possible. With faith that everything will be okay, I can walk through anything. So I will choose to hold that in my mind the next time I wake up less than wonderful.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Wellbeing

 

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