Im talking about angsty anxiety type pain. Ouch ouch ouch….I try to distract myself, to ignore the uneasiness I’m feeling. It doesn’t work, I still experience some suffering. I try and shut it out. I am convinced if I can ignore it enough it will go away. I eat something, and I make some tea. I try not to look closely enough to even name it. I’m afraid it will overwhelm me and I will descend into even more suffering. And I have another 7 hours till bedtime. Relentless rain and grey out there all day long.
Today has been like that. My suffering isn’t major, but I completed my work at 1 today and and I don’t know what to do. There is nothing I need to do, nobody I feel like talking to and nothing I really want to do. I’m afraid of this nothingness, this open space. The suffering is fear. And not the fear itself is the most painful, but my unwillingness to fully put my arms around it and embrace it.
So let’s see where it actually is. I pause, and meditate a little. I breathe to centre myself in my physical body. I locate a tightness in my throat area extending towards the solar plexus. I put my hand on my heart, a gesture of my willingness to be with the feeling, to be with all my experiences with tenderness and care. I breathe. I am safe. It’s just a rainy day. It’s warm indoors and I don’t have to expect more of this day than what is just happening right now. Hand over the heart again, I feel the warmth of it go through my clothes. It’s a beautiful scene around me. There are colours and flowers and a view. I am well and comfortable. I can relax with this. I can relax with this anxiety too. Hello anxiety, I hear you, I am here. I, who am unchanging awareness, Im with you now.
I feel less anxious now that I have allowed myself to remember self compassion. I have let some love into the equation. No need to panic. I feel less paralysed now. Less like a rabbit stuck in fright in front of the headlights. Options open up. Think I will go for a walk in the rain in the trees now with my big umbrella. Might as well get some beauty, some air and exercise, still 7 hours till bedtime.
Later So in the park in the rain along the swollen river I walked. The whole way there I am remembering to ‘be with myself’ in a loving embrace. I love the huge golf umbrella which makes a large dry space around me as I walk. It could be described as a miserable day but now the beauty jumps out at me without the angst taking up such a big space. The way the rain splashes on the puddles making big circles, the silence of the place with everyone at home sheltering, the buds bursting open, the fresh earthy smells. Returning to my car my fit bit goes into celebration mode as I reach 5000 steps. Achievement, of a small kind but at least Im out there doing something, and not at home feeling angst ridden and uncomfortable.
It truly is a miracle, how the slightest small shift in attitude, the conscious application of care and directing of loving attention towards suffering can allow it to be heard and to change once I have listened.
Here’s a photo from the walk.