action · community · faith · perseverance · recovery · self-care · spirituality · writing

Don’t Freak Out: A How-To.

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When I was sick, I became extremely diligent about my
spiritual practice.
Despite, or perhaps including, the conversations I had with
a few select friends about the nature, existence, purpose, and questionable
benevolence of a Higher Power, I knew that my safest and surest course through
all that uncertainty, fear, and buzzing activity around me was to touch base
with my center.
It really was only after the first month, though, that I was
able to write. I found my first journal entry in a notebook friends had brought
me in the hospital just days after I was diagnosed. It begins Saturday, September 29, 2012.
There’s one on the 30th, and then it stops. Until after my month of chemo and
recovery in the hospital.
But, thereafter, I made it a huge part of my practice to
journal, meditate, and eventually write my near-daily blog. I even made the
nurse put a sign on my hospital room door that read, “Meditation in progress;
Come back in 20 minutes.” (I personally loved that this meant people would
continually be turned away without a firm time listed, and I could have some
solitude in that busy and anxious place!)
But, I think about this practice now (journal, meditate, blog), one that was common
for me before I was sick, one that was essential to me during my treatments, and one that still needs to be a part of my
daily life.
Meetings, Movement, and Meditation are my recipe for sanity.
And most recently, with all the hubbub, I’m lucky to get even one in there.
But I know very specifically and with assurance that it not
only works, it also helps to light my way through.
I am in another place of uncertainty, fear, and buzzing activity. And my only way through is to have the anchors of my
practice.
There’s a phrase I’ve heard, “Most days I meditate for
thirty minutes, but on really busy days, I meditate for an hour.” Not that I’m doing that! But the intention is there; the intention to give myself even more time and space to coalesce, to touch down, to get
grounded, and to listen.
I have less trouble listening as I do heeding. It’s all well
and good to listen, and I can do that, and sometimes get answers or guidance;
but if I’m not following through or up on the information I receive, what’s the
point? Then I simply know what I’m not
doing and get to beat myself up for it!
And, I guess that’s not the point either.
I get to remember this morning that I have been in more dire
straits than the one I’m currently in: Job ending Friday; uncertain income
sources; uncertain path toward fulfillment. I get to remember that I’ve been
here before with previous job changes, and I’ve emotionally been here before
because of cancer. Nothing puts things in perspective like cancer!
And if I could have gotten through what I did, using the
recipe I know works every single time, then I am bidden to use it again. Journal,
meditate, blog. Meetings, movement, meditation. Heed the information I’m given.
Rest.
This career shift is all about buying myself time to see myself more
clearly, to see my future more clearly, and to create the space and time in
which to build toward those goals. This isn’t about busy work, or a brain
fogged with anxiety. This isn’t about despair or hopelessness.
This isn’t even about simply “getting through” this time.
This time is important; being in this
transition space is
important.
It’s not simply, Batten down the hatches til the storm passes. This isn’t about
ostriching my head into the sand. It will be important for me to be aware
through all of this time, to listen through it, and to be aware.
To not hide from my own change, because then I won’t know
where I’m going or what I’m doing. I have to stay present with this change. I
have to acknowledge that I’m uncomfortable, and that I’m taking positive steps.
I have to acknowledge where I’m neglecting myself and acting out my anxiety in less than healthy ways. And in order to know any of
these things, I have to be present.
And that’s ultimately what each of these “recipes” does for
me – they help me get and stay present.
So, yesterday I did
cancel that modeling gig. I went to meet up with folks I hadn’t seen in a
while. I got my vacuum cleaner fixed, went to the farmer’s market, put that bookshelf into my closet. I
bought dish soap.
The more I engage in my recipes, the better I feel. The
better I feel, the more able I am to take care of myself and to take actions
that support me. The more I take action, the better I feel.
It’s a continuous positive feedback loop that has carried me
through the most atrocious and trying of circumstances. With grace.  


And if I can remember that — I am voraciously confident, it can carry me through this. 

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