i seem to always be working on the residuals of my mental illness, sweeping them up and out of my life. this is a maintenance thing, i mean, i have to radically accept the eternal presence of anxiety and depression. they no longer stop me from living my life like they did before (and after) i got clean, six and half years back. yet they are like a snake and threaten to constrict. i have to maintain and keep building. thank god i have a career that enriches me. i have a home and can cook my own food. i have my health and no longer take psych meds. the recollections of traumas have subsided though they sometimes resurface in nightmares and an uneasy mistrustful and guarded relationship with both internal and external worlds. i am working on self-discipline. my stress levels fluctuate but are more manageable when i eat healthy and exercise and stretch. life demands mindfulness. i am drinking more of water and air and prayer. i am devoting more time to reading and writing. i read at night, before bed. on weekdays i get up before dawn and write, more and more frequently. it is hard to build the life you wanna live but it sure is worthwhile.
today is monday. i have a full work week ahead of me. i wake up semi-refreshed and with a narrow window to make coffee, oatmeal, shower, make up, and dress for the day. i experience the anxiety at first in waking. prayer is helpful to offset it. mindful interaction with my cats. calling someone i love to let them know i care. a mantra i repeat aloud: nam-myoho-renge-kyo. an affirmation: yes. you can do this. the world is yours. basic morning rituals. i hope not to push this anxiety away. it gets larger as i am driving on the freeway. offset it with national public radio. mindfulness in driving. feeling the sensation of the steering wheel. listening to the sound of the road and the engine. soft focusing my eyes so i can see the morning sun as it hits the trees on either side. reminding myself i am capable. i will do the best i can today. i may make mistakes and that’s okay. turn the radio down. i try and half smile or even sing a song out loud to myself. look at the city skyscrapes as i pass through downtown. today is monday. if i stay fully present, in the here and now, it is no different than any other day. i can experience it the same if i breathe deeply and pay attention, and bring my wandering mind back into the moment. i cannot stop my mind from wandering. notice where it goes. remembering something which happened yesterday. last week. concerned about the upcoming holidays. or a particular event coming up. i radically accept that it is the nature of the mind to fall into the past and future. my mind is sensitive. it is trying to help me. it just goes about sometimes the wrong way. gently bring my thoughts back into the moment. oh! there it goes again drifting away. its okay. bring it back. gently. try not to judge myself. try not to judge anyone else. this is all information and im curious. i like to learn. the world is a fascinating place to live. i have anxiety and its not gonna kill me. its trying to help me gear up for the day. tackle all my challenges. i want to relate to it. form a working relationship with my anxiety. put a hat on it and give it a name and a purpose in my life, today.
I could feel my anxiety in my body, in my blood, and I no longer fought to escape it. I focused on it and understood it to be energy and that it could be useful to me rather than a hindrance. The room was full of people and soon it would be my turn to speak. I stayed calm and receptive to the growing spirit in me which sought release. I asked my heart what it knew, and told it to my associates. The day would be long and arduous. A cat befriended me. When I got home I made myself a salad and watched Dr. Zhivago. The movie was full of trains and war and winter and romance. People were losing their homes, all in the name of the working man. The doctor was a poet and recognized by a soldier, who told him his work was no longer meaningful, that the time of shared personal intimacies was over. I felt the sting. I came to tears. War is terrible and can make hopeless fools of us all. But stay honest and keep about your work, and you will have life eternal.
I think what’s happening today, I mean, all the anxiety I feel, it’s because we are timed to expire. So what the hell do you do with yourself, really knowing that for sure? What does a pill do? It goes into the system and makes itself known and gets processed. Hopefully makes it into the system before it’s expiration date cause it’s not gonna be very effective afterwards. Even so, may find its way into our tap water. We all gotta look to be absorbed by the greater whole. Every little drop of you and me counts, okay, so don’t be so afraid. Calm down. You will be felt, you will be known. Maybe you are – already.