Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Hello, Crazies.

I have a couple of different meditation podcasts I like for my various incarnations of worry. You know--can't sleep, nervous, can't stop dreading something, panic attack. They've (purposeful vague pronoun) been in a pretty steady rotation lately as I try to get through the end of the year. Boo. Everything is too close together this year--finalizing AP grades (today), AP Test for my kids (Thursday), last day of school for seniors (tomorrow), grades due (next week), graduation (next week), retirement of a close friend (sooner than I'd like to admit). There's no breathing room. I'm tense. And scared. Scared is never a good color on me.

I have my usual home and Mommy routine, but that lightweight stuff ain't working tonight:

I thought I'd try talking to E, but my words were all wrapped up in crankiness.
I thought I'd try walking, but a bird crapped on me.
I thought I'd try eating my feelings, but I bit my lip while shoveling in food.

So at 6:55 PM on Tuesday May 8th, 2012, I gave up. I lay down in the dark on my bed, and--in the absence of other, more productive thoughts--I thought about breathing.

In those podcasts I like there's this one about exhaling and releasing the worries, one at a time.  I imagine each thing drifting to the floor like that clumsy CG feather in Forrest Gump, swaying back and forth against the air until it settles underneath my bed in a soft pile. There's another one about taking things off--like a backpack--and setting them down, but it doesn't have the same effect as the breezy feather exhale thing. The idea of this meditation is that putting down one's worries doesn't mean they can't be picked up later to be dealt with. It resonates with me. Part of the worrier's mantra is if I don't worry this right now it won't get the attention it needs. The other part is if I don't hold all of these worries tight, they aren't important. Often, like now, I feel the worries crowding together and shouting for attention. That's what makes me nuts.

It's been a panicky week. I saw (and felt) it coming in my nerves and couldn't stop it with reasoning. I ended up in my car at lunch yesterday, rubbing my palms together, thinking about breath and watching trees across the parking lot until I was grounded back in reality. That works and I got through the day. Nothing brings on a panic attack faster than worrying about having a panic attack, though. Hence the feeling (now) that I'm not done.

Last Sunday I spent some time sitting by the American River and just tried to not think. I tried to listen to the air in the trees, hear the river against the rocks, and feel the granite against my back and the sun on my face. The river is a good example of how something can change--always--and still be okay. Even against the roar of the water, though, I had a hard time letting these stresses go.  Some of them take more than one breath. Some take days. Some are stuck to me and haven't hit the floor yet.

I'm trying to release my grip.  I'll let you know when it actually happens.


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