I leave,

You stay.

Two autumns

– Shiki

My anxiety has been in high gear these last few weeks. Before I started meditating and studying Zen, I would have judged myself pretty harshly for that. A Zen blogger with bad anxiety? The nerve. Now, I have to laugh because of course I have anxiety and blog about Zen quotes. One leads to the other and back again. My anxiety is also why I wake up at 4:45 nearly every morning and toss and turn trying to go back to sleep. Not today though. I woke up and spent about 15 minutes considering my options: scroll social media and try to get comfortable enough to doze off, keep my eyes closed (what I was doing) and try to will myself back to unconsciousness, or wake fully up and face whatever is in my brain making me leave sleep in the first place. Obviously, I chose the latter.

So what is in my mind keeping me from sleep? Work. Work, work, work, work, work. I am stressed by office politics and drama. I try to avoid it for the most part and can because I mostly work from home, but some things are too big to be avoided. Last week I had some intense meetings and once there were over with my anxiety lessened but now, a new week is starting and the dread has come back. Today, I will spend the better part of 7 hours driving to and from a short meeting. I won’t get home until 7 pm. I’ve prepared my kids, my son will make dinner for them, they have phones, all with be well. But, already I’m nervous. How bad will traffic be? Will there be a lot of hurricane evacuees clogging the interstate? What if I can’t get home by 7? What if, what if?

And what good does worrying do? Not much, in this case. I still have to go. It will still be late when I get home. Traffic will be what it will be. If it is too bad and I’m late, I can reschedule the meeting.

My natural desire is to cancel it and run away. I always want to escape and run away. Yet, I rarely follow that desire. My little scared rabbit heart just beats like crazy in my chest and I face whatever I’m worried about. Adulting, my best friend calls it. I do The Adulting. I hate it, but it gets done. Then, the anxiety is a little less. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I’ve done a lot of adulting lately. A lot of facing things rather than running away. But oh, how I long to run away.

I leave.

Worry stays.

Two choices.

No, it is better to face things. If I sit with my anxiety, as I am now, I can feel around it and realize it is just fear with a different mask on. Fear has its place and a good one when it comes to survival, but this is nothing to be afraid of.

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter…. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

– Richard P. Feynman

Fear what I will miss when my kids are home alone. I fear what my boss thinks of me and how I do my job. I fear not being enough. Maybe that’s it. Yeah, that feels about right. I fear not being what everyone needs or expects of me. What can I do about that? I can only be myself. I can only be what I am, at this moment. I try to do well. I don’t always try my best, I can admit that, but I do always try to do well. I try to meet others expectations. Wait, am I making myself a Crane Wife for work? Hmm, that’s an interesting thought. Honestly, I’ll have to ponder on this one a little bit more. It’s 5:45 and my alarm is going to go off in 15 minutes. I still wish I was sleeping, but I do feel better. I’ve been watching the not quite arrived sunrise and the cats grooming themselves and breathing. I am breathing the almost autumn in the wind and the moist air being pushed this direction by hurricane Dorian. Today and this week will be what they will be. I will be what I am. It will be enough.