Yesterday, on one of the colder afternoons in January, I walked the dog and stared up at a purple sky swollen with clouds and sliced by city buildings and tree branches. Traffic filled my ears and the leash pulled at my fingers, stiff from the frigid shadows. The sun left too early and so I tried to call it back. A distant rain lingered on the horizon instead.
Everything is more expansive outside, including me. I first felt it in the green hills above San Diego a few weeks ago, sitting on a porch while monsoon winds stirred the air and rain soaked through the floorboards. It was a long and quiet weekend, the air heavy and wet, our cabin smelling of burning logs and wine bottles. Worry softened, momentarily, drowned out by new frantic thoughts.
It’s magnetic, this force that wishes to anchor me in constant worry and stress when all I want to for is to find and protect my peace. My sensitivity often feels tested: Jow much anxiety can I resist? How long until I buckle and break? If I find peace, will it eventually slip through my fingers?
After a few moments on the porch, the peace finally came. It’s easy like that on vacation. You carry a lighter version of yourself back home, souvenir rocks from the hills, reminders of who you’ve found, who you could be, and how you hope to live differently.
But peace is a hard choice. It requires continuous movement towards that which you crave and need and thirst for. The worries don’t go away; you are sensitive to it all still. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe the peace includes the worry; only you let it pass like afternoon shadows. Once you’ve remembered the soft blanket of what can be—of what should be—that is when you remember how peace can become a pattern, even a permanence, if you let it.
If you let it.
Whenever I'm feeling anxious or frazzled, nothing calms me like going and standing outside under a tree somewhere. There's something biological in breathing fresh air.
On your note of peace and worry, I think they both can exist simultaneously. My therapist has talked with me about the concept of radical acceptance, and I think that applies there. With an anxiety disorder, I've come to realize that my anxieties won't ever really go away - but I can train myself to recognize them and say "I feel anxious. I also know that I am ok."