Some of you have been getting phone calls or messages from me lately when I have been in a place that I can only describe as an anxiety attack. My chest feels tight, I can’t breathe, I want to cry. And although I sometimes think I know why, often times I have no idea what is happening.
I have dissected my thoughts to no end, trying to find a solution, to “fix” whatever it is that is happening. Because honestly it is uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. I’ve done all of the energetic work I know to do, I have verbally processed, and I have told myself to flat out “stop it”. They keep coming.
Through an extensive conversation with my brother, I realized that I am in a place I have never been before. I am alone. A lot. I know, I know, I’m never alone. Except I am. In the past I have found ways to fill my lonely times, whether healthy or not. And now, I am choosing to sit in the aloneness. And it is SO uncomfortable.
Today I sat down with a good friend who shared a parable with me about a Buddhist student who was seeking enlightenment. She had a yoga and meditation practice, she did all the right things, and yet could not reach enlightenment. So her teacher told her to begin hauling water. She hauled water back and forth from the well to the village until one day, the bottom fell out of her bucket. It was then that she reached enlightenment.
He then pointed out that I was working really hard to keep it together and maybe it was time to let the bottom fall out of my bucket. I know he is right, and the thought of letting it all go is terrifying to me.
I am endlessly grateful to the handful of you that have been on the other end of the phone, across the table, and next to me on the couch. And to those of you I tell ALL my crazy thoughts to, thank you for not running away.
I am not quite ready to let go of the notion of keeping it together, and I know the people in my life will love me even when it all falls apart. I challenge all of you to give yourself the space to fall apart, it will push me to do the same, and we can all be messy together.***
***This was written about 3 days before the bottom of the basket fell out. I spent 24 hours in bed, no music, no tv, only a good friend on the other end of the phone. That was 2 weeks ago today. I have spent the last two weeks discovering how to care for myself. Yes, anxiety has crept back in during that time, and yes, it always ends.