I wake up in the middle of the night. It just happens. Often. I’m forty-nine. Seems to be part of my life at this point.
My thoughts get churning. Sometimes it’s first thing in the morning.
- How will I keep a roof over my head over these next few years?
- Will I ever see her again?
- Will my business be able to cover all expenses this year?
The survival dogs bark – led by Him again – The Inner Critic.
For Christ’s sake, I’m almost fifty, when will I trust that all these basic things will work out?
Worry and fear have a great track record. They always help me get things done. Why would I get rid of them now?
This is the exo-skeleton of my life. The bones of survival – roof, work, how I feed myself. Remembering many small details, emails, texts, phone calls, and tasks. It trickles into my inner life, when I’m not vigilant.
I can feel claustrophobic – so many years of self-revolving thoughts. I seek something bigger than my own worries. My mind carries me too much.
Something beyond myself. Work that helps others in need. A mountain landscape. Or a felt connection with the Great Spirit. Something beyond every-day worry. Something expansive. It’s an every-day practice.
I sit in the morning, or in the middle of the night, feeling the frequency, contracted or expanded, pulsing within. I see the words at my altar, “Be in the mystery and magic, not just the tasks.”
I vanquish depleting thoughts of what “I have to do” for the day. Instead, I do what feeds me – I write, hike on the land, check in with a friend, meditate, or play my guitar.
I take the reward of “me” time, yes before I’ve “earned” it, even as the skin of anxiety of “what needs to get done” still pulls at me. I rise into a mindset of not needing to know anything, open to what Buddhists call “emptiness” or Sunyata – a meditative state. I decide to “sit” and set the timer on my phone to sit for 10, 12, or 20 minutes.
I battle and surrender to cultivate a bigger internal space, where I can immediately have the freedom I might think is only available when my mortgage is paid off… when I’ll be truly happy… when I can be free to travel more… and when….
NO! That freedom is MINE here and now. I create my own reality. To choose “the last of the human freedoms”, as Victor Frankl said, is “to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Some days, I can’t sit. I stand. I shadow box. I scream. I physically punch and jab at fear and worry. Battle them off like Orcs. Or I breathe them in, convert them into allies, appreciating how they help me get things done, and how I can call on them, when it’s time to get into my doing for the day.
But fear and worry can’t help me until I know this first – that I am okay. I am healthy. I have a roof over my head. And I will have one for years to come.
Then I move that worry energy away from polluting my inner ecosystem and instead nourish it to expand the doing that pays my bills. And this too is a mystery.
What will he say to my offer? Will she want to enroll in my program? It’s all a mystery and more magical when I engage it as such – yes, even the mundane.
I cultivate an inner smile here and now, to appreciate that I can provide for myself, that I can love enough to fear aloneness, that I can live my “vision” of my life here and now. I am enough.
I am powerful in this way. We all are. This is self-relationship.
- How do you sit with your fears?
- How do you use worry as an ally?
- How do you make friends with yourself? To then love others?
There is a vast empty plain, beyond good and bad, longing and desire, beyond where you want to retire in 10 or 20 years, and beyond any “vision” of your life. I’ll meet you there.
This post was previously published on www.stuartmotola.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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