notes from winter-time: anxiety

Written in February:

Things have a tendency to fall apart. And so do people. That’s what they say. That’s what’s been written in the law of entropy.

If last year for me’s been defined by an almost continuous state of euphoria, a peak of life filled with heart-opening experiences, this year has mainly been a dip. Marked by mistakes, failures and bad news coming from every imaginable corner. To the extent where I was scared to leave the house, answer the phone or have any contact with the surrounding world for who knows – maybe this curse of ‘bad luck’ is contagious?

They say that fear, not hate, is the opposite of love. ‘Coz when you hate you are still  connected to the object of your hatred. Whereas if you fear, you repel any kind of love that might come your way. You’re completely detached from the world, withdrawn and alienated. That’s what they say. What they don’t say, though, is how to get out of this endless loop of fearing once you’re stuck in it. So, with a very limited knowledge on ‘what to do with fear’, you start fearing the fear itself for it cannot be a desirable emotion. That’s when you burry yourself under a pile of bed-sheets and drown the sleep-less hours in the exsessive amounts of mind-numbing comedy –  everything just to get through the phase of anxiety in fast-forward. But the time stops, though the clock is still ticking – nothing is moving. And when you yourself decide to move, you realise there are only two options – to either overcome the fear of living or the fear of dying.

To all of those who continiuosly find the strength to not choose the latter – hang in there, for I know just how dark and unbearably lonely this journey through a never-ending winter can be. But there’s sunny spells on the forecast. There’s always a few.  They must and they will make this journey worthwhile.

 

Written in September:

In many ways, we live in the reality of images. In the reality of looks and norms and very concrete ideas that we will always be drawn to live up to. They are deeply engrained in our brain and therefore affect the ways in which we perceive our reality.

I speak of this because I struggle with anxiety a lot, like – a lot. And I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for me. We all struggle, we do, ‘coz in the world as we know it today, if we really take advantage of the communication forms that we’ve got – life’s impossible without stress. Because there’s always that ad at the bus stop which makes you think that you oughta get new shoes, there’s always that friend on facebook who is having a helluva time on holiday while you’re at work, there is always an e-mail which tells you you’re not good enough. You didn’t do something right. Or you did something wrong. Our everyday life is just a mine-field of potential triggers put in place to make us feel like we oughta be someone we’re not. Or to have something we haven’t got.

But I think by now we all know this and it would be far too easy to say: “Just don’t pay attention.” But attention is not such an easy thing to control. Yoga science (or wisdom – whatever you call it) is built on years and years of practice which allowed for some theories to emerge that explain the ways in which we go about managing our attention. You do that, first of all, through the use of body, through breathing practices and only in the very final stages of it all – you can attempt doing it by the power of thought. And neither one of us are yogis, so whenever I hear: “Don’t take notice” or “Don’t pay attention” there’s exactly two things that happen to me. First of all – I get  incredibly pissed off that somebody thinks so highly of themselves, so as to be able to instruct me to do something that takes years of practice. And once I calm down a little, there’s a second thing that happens to me – I get saddened that instead of bothering to ask why is that thing or a person triggering my attention, i’m just being told to pretend I’m not noticing the things I probably notice for a reason.

Just by the way, as I write these words, I just let my true thoughts and feelings fall into them.

So bear with me…

So the solution to this, the solution to all of this chaos of desires that comes with the massive amounts of information that we have to deal with on daily basis, the solution to the endless state of anxiety that we’re being asked to live in each day, the solution to this is that… Well, there is no one simple solution.  But what I’ve noticed, though (and I’ve noticed this precisely because I pay attention) is that this solution lies in doing precisely the opposite than the advice that I get each time I get a bit heated and some God-sent messiah comes to save me with a message “don’t pay attention”. The solution to this chaotic state of mind that we have to live in each day where we don’t really know what we want, coz we want everything, is to actually pay attention.

And I’m really careful about writing these words now, coz I don’t want to sound like some messiah myself, but I’m really trying to make sense of this ‘coz, first of all, I would like to help myself also. And I do so, really, I do so by trying to pay attention to my emotional states and observing what triggers them. I think it helps a little.

When you linger on the emotional state, when you ask yourself, why am I feeling this way? What’s really happening with me? Why has this feeling taken over me? What is its trigger? You can go pretty deep into the depths of your own mind, you can learn some very interesting things about your self that you didn’t even know existed. You realise there might be nothing you really wanna change about yourself, and those shoes that you bought the other day, were not all that necessary – coz you will never even have a chance to wear them. Coz you barely have the time to do your hair before you go out, let alone to think about picking those shoes Well, that’s me anyway. You might be different.

Damn it, I’ve gotta rush now.

And yet again – I haven’t done my hair. Shoes are of least importance.

 

 

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