My goodness, we are living in an anxious world. I’m thinking more and more that we humans are suffering from a collective anxiety disorder. It seems that either we are motivated by sheer will, or we are motivated by fear of what will happen if we do not [fill in the blank]. Also, we must do it yesterday.
Our to-do lists are miles long, our calendars full a year in advance.
As I sought medicine and thought-remedy for these dilemmas, I remembered something a healer said to me recently, which was that when we are in any state other than a relaxed one, our emotions are running our lives. I had the thought that we often are either running away from those emotions or strapping them to us like grenades and running headlong toward whatever comes next. It’s a lot of running either way.
In an attempt to break it all down, I composed this list of modern anxieties and some starter-thought-treatments:
Anxiety: There isn’t enough time.
Treatment: My spirit is infinite. I can do all that I can with my human body and the daylight available until I stop to rest. I will listen for when I need to do that. Rest is equal in importance to doing.
Anxiety: I can’t handle all of these feelings I’m having. I’m so overwhelmed.
Treatment: I can make a choice to face what is coming up for me. I can learn to create a manageable life, even if it means giving myself three times the time, cutting my expenses down to a third of what they are, and cultivating energy by making wise choices. I am able to be responsible. I know how to ask for help when I need it. There is no shame in building a team to help me.
Anxiety: I don’t trust my government or today’s leadership.
Treatment: I alone can make change in my local environment by becoming active. No one in politics is going to rescue me or make it easier. I can create meaningful community and fruitful solution-seeking dialogue in my own backyard. I can put plans into action to take care of myself as best I can under the circumstances.
Anxiety: I’m afraid of World War III.
Treatment: I am not going to live in fear. I am going to be love and be peace, and those cannot exist in a paralyzed or terrified emotional state. Those who would make war have everything they need to make it. I don’t need to make it inside of myself to their model. I am going to tend to and talk about what comes up for me around this and try to create a calm state amidst my questions. I will read Viktor Frankl if I need more relative forms of inspiration and hope.
Anxiety: I am in pain. I am suffering.
Treatment: I am not alone. I must grieve what is not able to be. I cleanse my emotional body by feeling my real feelings, seeking others in my position for support, and admitting the nature and origin of my pain. Healing occurs over time and I can be patient and keep checking in with my soul while making holistic choices on my behalf. I can be open to life while I am in my healing process.
Anxiety: My job is killing me. I am silently wilting in the wrong line of work for me. I am not living my purpose.
Treatment: I know how to seek other work, even if it means I have to scale down my lifestyle. I can take risks. I can make a difference right now wherever I am. I am willing to align with what my spirit wants for my human form.
Anxiety: If I speak the truth, someone will get hurt.
Treatment: If I don’t speak the truth, I will hurt, and likely others will, too. I can find fair language which helps me to be responsible for my health and wellness. I can express from my own heart without blaming and making someone else wrong. I will know what to say and do once I’ve become clear about what is true.
Anxiety: The way things are unfolding makes me so mad. I’m so angry that I want someone to wake up/change/pay for this/suffer/hurt/feel what I feel/see my side/hear my story/do it my way.
Treatment: I have a hand in how things unfold. I can make a choice to be humble and allow healing or I can make a choice to act arrogant and blaming. My voice is my own and what happens from here on is up to me. I may think something is terribly unfair. What can I do with myself to bring things into balance? How can I affect change in me that will naturally affect the change I want to see in the world?
Anxiety: I cannot forgive myself for what I’ve done/caused. I cannot forgive someone else for what they have done/caused.
Treatment: Forgiveness is an act of courageous self-compassion which relieves the body of toxic emotional waste. Without it, I become sick. I need not punish myself any longer, nor anyone else. I need to be free of these bindings and I can better help others who have been through this from my state of freedom from shame. I can acknowledge that what was done was wrong without living in a perpetual shame state and/or sentencing someone else to do so.
Anxiety: I am not enough. I don’t have enough.
Treatment: I only need to be me. I do this well when I am connected/plugged into the Source which fuels me. I can name that Source in my way and find all of the ways which facilitate the recharge I need. It might be easier than I think. When I am enough for me, everything shifts, including how I experience scarcity or abundance, love or rejection.
Anxiety: It is very hard to be on this earth.
Treatment: Maybe the truth is that I am not native here. Perhaps my spirit originated elsewhere. In considering this, I can cultivate my relationship with the place I feel most at home while living my purpose here on earth, where I have for some reason been positioned. What can I look to which will teach me how to be more at ease, and in charge of my life and feelings? I needn’t numb out the discomfort, but seek to understand what my existence is about and find meaning. It is quite possible that many people do not feel at home here and perhaps that is why we are often chasing our tails trying all the wrong roads in an attempt to come to peace with who we are not.
Sometimes I see this quandary of anxiety as one of displacement, of an ongoing sense of not belonging…anywhere. Of not being able to relate. The demands of modern life do not sometimes feel in alignment with who we are meant to be as spiritual beings. Think about what the railroad meant to indigenous North Americans. That was not part of the plan!
It is okay. We are here now. We get to be here now. We are seeking to understand what we are meant to do.
More will be revealed. Until then, let the trees, mountains, animals, insects, rivers, oceans, birds, flowers, and wind teach you how they live here. They’re very good models when you think about it.