Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sitting in my anxiety

om, originally uploaded by keepingstill.

I've noticed a trend about myself, brought to light in the crazy-making world that dating is today. I swear I'd play by the rules if someone could just explain them to me. Instead, I find myself anxious, totally outside the present moment, trying to speed the process, just to know.

"Just sit with, be in your anxiety next time," my friend counseled me, likely sick of hearing my repeated patterns. At first being still is an awful feeling, like electrodes are in my fingertips, wanting to do, to question, to text. But when I do still the monkey mind, I can hear what's really going on: the need to know what I cannot know, to be in control, flavored with a dash of worry.

"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are." ~ Jesus, Matthew 6:27-29

Not only do worries not add a moment to your life, they can detract from the fullness of who you are meant to be. In Daily Om, Madisyn Taylor writes about when worry becomes a prayer. "If prayer is an intention that we announce to the universe in order to create a desired outcome, then our every thought is a prayer," she writes, reminding me of Paul's exhortation to always be joyful, and pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:16,17)

It also reminds me of a phone message my parents kept for me to hear when I returned home for a visit. After a spilling a long litany of my concerns and worries, I ended my message, "Amen," petitioning my parents and the universe for a good outcome. But as Taylor warns, "some thoughts are more focused or repeated more often, gathering strength. Some are written down or spoken, giving them greater power. Every one that we have is part of a process whereby we co-create our experience and our reality with the universe. When we use our creative energy unconsciously, we invoke what is commonly known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. In essence, when we worry, we are repeatedly praying and lending our energy to the creation of something we do not want."

Not to leave us in the worry that our worries are creating negative life patterns, Taylor reminds us of what Paul taught centuries ago. In Paul's words, "Be joyful always, pray continually." In Taylor's, "the simplest antidote to anxiety is affirmations. When we hold these uplifting thoughts, repeat them often, speak them, write them down, and refer to them throughout our day, we are using focused energy to manifest positive results."

This obviously goes beyond the small worries about dating, as I put out constant prayers of what I want my life to look like, to be a "bride married to amazement," to "be thoroughly used up when I die."


("Bride married to amazement" - Mary Oliver, "to be thoroughly used up when I die" from a pendant Julia Bergman wore as she helped Greg Mortenson and the CAI scout for schools in Afghanistan.)

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