There are days when I feel the weight of old memories, heart losses, and traumas suffered along the path of life. What triggers this can vary. So, what I choose to focus on is not so much what landed me in the low energy or anxious thoughts but, instead, what can help me shift out of it. Today was one of those days where I awoke with a feeling of heaviness and worry.
Logically, there is no reason for this. But emotions don’t come from logic. According to experts in neurology, emotions are a reaction to a physical change in the body. When our body perceives changes, which can be caused by physiological factors such as sleep, hydration, and hunger, our limbic system creates an automatic response. Sometimes that response is what we know as ‘fight or flight’ which can be stressful and anxiety-producing.
Living a more conscious life includes recognizing the onset of this response and doing a self-check to notice if we are truly in danger or if the feeling of danger is a self-created perception.
Am I Safe?
How do I know if I am safe? I ask myself that exact question, “am I safe?” If the answer is yes, then I need to look at the narrative about the past or future I’m creating in my head that is causing me to feel anxious, overwhelmed, stressed, or under some great burden. It is my thoughts about the past or the future and how I choose to view them that affect my energy.
In the present moment, when I’m safe, I am simply experiencing the moment. Of course, if, for some reason, my answer is “I don’t feel safe” or “I am not safe”, I rely on my survival instincts to take the actions necessary to move to safety. Asking myself, “what do I need right now to feel safe,” helps me take an inventory of what thoughts, actions, or support I might need to no longer feel at risk.
Motion Creates Movement
I know that when I move, so does my energy. So after a short meditation silently chanting So-Hum, I showered. Water is a wonderful cleansing and grounding element. I imagined my worries running off me and swirling down the drain. Because the truth of it is, in this moment, given that I am safe, I have none. Then I moved.
Presently, I am living and working remotely from Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is a quiet Sunday morning in the city and the heat of the summer day has not yet begun. As I walk to my favorite local coffee spot, the empty streets are devoid of the usual city clamor. Instead, a single bird fills the air with her strong, cheerful song. My thoughts go to the bird and wonder at its ability to sing when it does not know if today will bring shade from the sun, water for its eventual thirst, or food for its belly. Right now, she sings.
Being in the Moment
I find solace in her birdsong. Comfort in knowing a creature far more vulnerable to the elements than I am as I stroll through Buenos Aires, raises her voice in a joyful melody that is unscripted, unplanned, and uniquely hers. When I allow her magical notes to caress my ears and my heart, I feel no burden and no worry. My feet travel across cobblestones that have seen hundreds of years of joy, pain, blood, celebration, fear, hurt, and hope. The warm morning breeze dances across my shoulders. My thoughts shift to gratitude and appreciation of how the little bird embraces life in the now. The moment is like a salve for the past wounds that sometimes color my present moments with fear or anxiety.
As I turn the corner and leave behind the winged songstress, my step and my heart lighten. Nothing in my life has changed between the time I awoke and when the last of the bird notes fade behind me. My past still contains the losses and the traumas that are part of my story. My present still contains the challenges of daily life. But by moving into the now, my perception of these things is more peaceful. I’m more open to embracing the day ahead with less fear and more ease. Mostly thanks to the healing song of a single bird.
Tags: anxiety, coping with grief, Lessons From Nature, meditation, Moving forward, stress