When I was in high school, I lacked the finesse required to to discern my own levels of stress. Instead, in alignment with what I was taught and that which I believed, I held tightly to the safety net of God:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
In my world: anxiety = atheism.
But as much as I ached in my deepest soul to believe this, my body said otherwise. I was plagued with random stomach pains that I could not identify. Sometimes they were so bad, I would lie down in classrooms just to find some iota of relief. Eventually after many doctors’ visits, it was diagnosed that my gallbladder needed to come out.
And it did.
Yet, still, there were ailments I could not pinpoint.
The only way I knew to find boundaries or rest or–dare I say–weakness (without guilt) was through sickness.
Now, with over a year of solid meditation practice in my corner, I realize I gave so much power to my anxiety by mentally avoiding it. My body has always known this. Driven by pure freedom, it always felt the experience without the stilted narrative.
And now, by changing my own narrative about stress and anxiety, I am beginning to taste that delicious freedom.
This summer, I have been amazed–perhaps even a bit frightened–with how calm I have been about the impending move. However, with less than four days left in country, I sense my internal landscape changing. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Just this morning, Dave’s mom asked me if I was worried. Honestly, I am not. But, in my body, I feel a heaviness. I am not sleeping well. I feel energy pulsing through my body. My skin is breaking out in rashes and pimples. I can’t stop eating. Sitting still takes an uncomfortable amount of control. I got ants in my pants.
But, instead of the striving and thrashing and condemning script I normally would have rehearsed, I find myself leaning into all the things.
All the things.
In my head and heart, I chew over and over on this poem by Rumi:
Welcome and entertain them all…
Meet them at the door laughing…
And so, I will.