“Anxiety is being in a trying place.”
When I first received that message, I chuckled at the double meaning. Since then, however, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.
In the most basic terms, anxiety exists when I am trying to solve a problem. In those moments when I am most anxious, I am very aware (and focused) on a problem I cannot find a solution to.
Interestingly, a particular problem can exist for a while, yet my anxiety around it comes and goes. I now understand that I feel anxious when I am actively trying to be or do something (in response to the perceived problem). In most cases, the problem isn’t so much a problem right now, however, I can too easily imagine it becoming a bigger problem over time.
As if to really bring my understanding to a head: I got sick this weekend. I had a mild fever, a sore throat, and felt achy everywhere. When I get like that, I put myself to bed…and I put all of my concerns to bed too. I don’t try to do anything. I just rest as comfortably as possible.
While I was lying there, feeling very uncomfortable, I noticed that my anxiety was completely absent. It occurred to me that I had given myself permission to not try and solve any problems. Here I was feeling terrible (in physical terms) yet breathing more easily than normal.
In my ailing, I suspended my fretting.
In writing that last sentence, it occurs to me the power in rewording the experience. Instead of saying, “I feel anxiety,” I should say, “I am fretting.” That way I can tell myself to stop. It is easier to stop doing an action than it is to stop feeling a feeling, don’t you think?
The word ‘anxiety’ feels like a big, dark thing that has power over me. The word ‘fretting’ puts the power back in my hands.
Earlier, spirit gave me another gem. It said:
“Actions do not create solutions. Rather, solutions inspire actions. Don’t look for actions to solve problems, reach for solutions, which will inspire the right actions.”
One last thing. I think just about anyone would agree that anxiety is a form of fear. But think about this for a moment. In my mind, there are two different things we describe with the word fear.
1) Fear is a feeling. We feel fear when we are in present danger, when we are threatened, when sitting in front of us right now is something that can hurt or harm us.
2) Fear is also a concept.
To better describe fear as a concept, consider this:
The opposite feeling of fear is love.
The opposite concept of fear is trust.
Trust is not really a feeling. In fact, it’s hard to say what trust actually is. However, we know what, when, and who we trust, and when we don’t trust. When we trust, we feel ease. When we don’t trust, we feel dis-ease, uneasy, anxious. When we don’t trust, we fret.
Anxiety is being in a trying place. We try when we don’t trust.
If we trust others, we relax in their presence. We don’t fear getting hurt by them and we understand that when we are hurt, it was not intended.
If we trust ourselves, we believe we can solve what needs to be solved. We believe in our ability to care for ourselves, provide for ourselves, and find happiness for ourselves.
When we trust the Universe (God/Goddess/All-That-Is), we begin letting go of control.
Imagine what it would be like to let go of all fear and control. To trust that we are blessed and loved and cared for…always. To trust that all problems are temporary and that solutions abound.
Imagine trusting that life could be grand no matter who sits in the oval office.
Imagine believing that you can be, do, or have whatever you want; that it is simply a matter of time and never a matter of if.
Imagine believing in your ability to create a reality for yourself no matter what anyone else thinks, says, or does.