Worry, worry, worry, worry
Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone
Oh, worry, worry, worry, worry
Sometimes I swear it feels like this worry is my only friend…”
Yes, Ray Lamontagne says it best in his song “Trouble:” worry just won’t seem to leave my mind alone!
I sometimes wonder if being anxious is part of my nature or if it is something I have taught myself to do and thus have to unlearn.
I feel like I came out of the womb anxious. Infant Megan was probably already worrying about how she was going to eat or breathe or where she would go to the bathroom even before she was born. I’m not kidding.
At times it seems like anxiety is my default state, my equilibrium.
In fact, I’ve somehow gotten to this place where if I’m not anxious about something I feel anxious that there’s something I’m forgetting to be anxious about! Yeah, it’s a problem.
Lately whenever I find worries creeping back into my consciousness I force myself to stop and answer this question:
But where are you now?
Yes, you may have deadlines to meet and bills to pay and things to plan but where are you now? What does this moment in time look like? What does this breath, this one right here, feel like? Is the wind on your face? Who is sitting beside you on the trolley? What does the pen feel like as you write?
Last night on the train ride back to Philly I found my mind filling up with worry after worry– the final facilitation due for class, the Maundy Thursday service I’m planning, the animals I am caring for this week, the groceries I have to buy and meals I have to make, the trolley I need to catch when the train gets in, and the list went on until I forced my mind to stop.
But where are you now?
I am on a train.
What do you see?
I see the trees rushing by, the sun setting in the distance, fields shaking off the slumber of winter, space.
What do you feel (besides worry of course!)?
I feel rejuvenated and reflective from a wonderful weekend filled with family and love. I feel relaxed because I don’t have to think about how this train is getting back to Philly, only that my body is here, in this seat, enjoying the last few precious hours of the weekend.
This morning on my walk to work I started thinking ahead to what I would do when I got to work, where I would take my break, what I would get at the grocery store, when I would take the dog I’m watching for a walk– I nearly had my whole day mapped out before I forced myself back into the present moment.
But where are you now, Megan?
And, truth be told, I think I’ve asked myself that another few times since then.
The term “being present” has become something of a trendy term like “artisanal” or “gluten free” or “certified organic” but, like all these others, it is a phrase rooted in deep meaning and importance.
Being present, feet fully planted in this current moment, mind and senses alert to all surroundings– this, my friends, is my desired equilibrium, the default state I long to find myself in. The sense of wonder and calm I experience in those moments spurs me on toward a full, vibrant life more than any moment of worry ever will.
That’s the funny thing about anxiety, we think that by rolling around all the things we have to do over and over in our minds we will somehow solve all our problems and make meaning out of our lives. But, in reality, all anxiety does is create more chaos.
The meaning comes from clearing our minds of the clutter, stopping in our tracks, breathing deep into our lungs, and asking, but where am I now?