Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.

The Point

I found a years-old grocery receipt with the following message I’d scribbled on it:

The point of life is to become enlightened, again and again.

For me, the quick and easy way to become enlightened is to suffer beyond words to the point that my ego splits open and divine light pours in.

Every time I arrive, I bow to my suffering in gratitude.

I remember that what I had grappled and struggled with was actually on my side the whole time.

When I arrive at enlightenment, for a moment, I know peace

Then the journey starts again, like bringing my awareness back to my breath, most of the time I am unconscious of the miracle that flows through me.

Perhaps suffering is not necessary, however it seems to be a catalyst; speeding up the process.

I want to hug the whole world, wrap it in a hand-knit sweater

To those who feel sick, I hope you feel better.

I want the glow in my heart to grow and light up the dark.

I’m glad I kept that receipt

I could frequently benefit from a reminder about what the point is

It is most difficult to remember when I am surrounded by those who cling steadfast to their self-centered identities, awash in all sorts of drama, trying at every angle to drag me into their mire

I pray they will know enlightenment, even if for a moment, someday

I pray that I will know enlightenment, even if for a moment, today

When the High Wears Off

You can drink and smoke and swallow

Sniff and huff and wallow
Burn it up, inject it in
But no amount of noise will silence the din
I hear the roar of your pain
I see the fire in your brain
Anxiety and depression rage
Fueling the words on this page
I’ve tried it all
I’ve had a ball
I’ve lived through hell
Just to tell
What I have learned
What I have earned
Highs are temporary
Where will I be
When my next high wears off
Highs always wear off…
After chasing many a transient high
Which only left me feeling low
I’m building upward toward the sky
Growing that inner glow
I’m creating a sense of safe space to come home to
After another long day of battling anxiety monsters and depression demons
My mental sanctuary is invisible, yet indispensable
It is my daily practice, my intention, my breath
My practice is to remind myself that I belong here
Even if I don’t believe it at first
I am worthy
Even if I don’t allow myself to receive at first
I am a person
Even though I’ve spent a lifetime of feeling lesser-than
Of feeling like I owed my life to strangers
I’ve survived so many dangers
I’m lucky
I’m ready
To start living
To feel beyond high
Cultivating a sustainable solution without bodily pollution
Emotional storms are best weathered while wearing a life vest
So I envelope my chest with positive visualizations
Letting my heart garden blossom and thrive
With this breath, I am alive
I am beyond high

Emergency Room

Emerging from the emergency room, gasping to find my breath, I weep.

I finished my last shift in that hell-hole, and I thought I would cry tears of joy, but instead I am crying tears of raw emotional release.
My patients called me an angel, but many of them were also angels to me- holding my spirit buoyantly with their sparkling eyes, a much-needed balance to my co-workers who seemed mostly dead inside.
Crushed inside the machine
Their eyes see only the screen
Their skin knows no fresh air or sunlight
As they toil day and night
In a crowded, chaotic space filled with alarms
Long ago, they replaced their charms
With rigid motions, mechanical minds
Without windows, they don’t notice the passage of time
When did they become so cold and bitter?
It must have been little by little
The fire in their hearts was starved of oxygen, their spirits wore away
I hope I keep my heartspirit intact, at the end of the day
Flashback to a line of gurneys in the ambulance bay
My attending grilling me, I didn’t know what to say
Broken bones and chronic pain
STAT CT to look for a bleed in the brain
Patients sustained on turkey sandwiches and diet ginger-ale
We wait on them, they wait for us, but we are all stuck in this jail
Trapped in a health care system which is systematically inhumane
No wonder so many of us don’t feel quite sane
My vision is blurred by tears
I’ve finished one more day in the middle of many hard years
Of sacrificing my life, enduring unfathomable strife
Just to help others survive another night
I want to get off this roller coaster, but I’m strapped in
Though I am sick to my stomach and deafened by the din
I return to my breath, breathe in new air
I have the rest of my life to move on towards
Tomorrow night, I’ll be back in the wards
With renewed gratitude, I leave this emergency beast
I walk past patients waiting to suckle the mechanical teat
Finally allowing room for my own emergency
My meltdown of tears isn’t enough to drown out the blaze
Which burnt me out long before today
I struggle to justify
Why I put myself in situations that make me cry

Zen and the Art of Driving

I tend to drive vehicles the way I live my life- reckless when I was a young sex worker (professional rape victim), and responsibly now as a woman with a career, committed to a life-partner with long-term goals.

When I was a child I felt nauseous during car rides. I vomited into faded plastic containers which always traveled with me.
As a teen I drove illegally, borrowing my classmate’s broke-down rust bucket of a car. In exchange he took much more from me.
On the brink of adulthood I got ticketed by a cop for not stopping at a stop sign ‘long enough’. I was driving because a friend asked me to take them to the corner store, and I said yes. I always say fucking yes, even when it puts my life in danger. I was rushing on the drive because I was freshly heartbroken, and wanted to hurry back to the party to be near the guy I love even now, even though I’d already lost him.
Every time I’ve gotten pulled over or in an accident, it was with other people in the car. My extreme empath tendencies left me lost in their desires- to drive faster, longer, drive when I felt exhausted or didn’t want to, ignoring my needs over their wants.
What I failed to realize was that I was the one who was driving, not my ragtag friends edging me on. Like a puppet, I felt pushed and pulled, never free to be me, always somebody else’s words coming out of my mouth. Far too many yes’s. Everyday, the struggle continues.
I am grateful for the accident, because it made me a safer driver, though I could do without the PTSD dreams of not having control on the road. Perhaps post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, but a natural reaction to trauma.
I still feel nervous around others: my social anxiety is always ready to rev its engine, and makes me a more skittish driver when I have others in the car with me, but everyday I practice presence, breathing, and empath empowerment.
I am in better control of my life now than I have ever been before, and I am a safer driver on the road.
Driving through patches of panic, I find my breath, and arrive safely home to the present.

Alchemy

I spend my evenings dissecting out the lead bullets which you pummel into my chest throughout the day

I gingerly remove the palpable parts of your reckless barrage

Do you intend to hurt me so deeply that I must perform surgery nightly just to keep my sanity?

If I ever had any sanity to lose, that is…

Wisps of breath curl coolly around my open wounds, trying to soothe the painful sting of your attack

I am humbled by how long it takes me to heal from injuries that you were so quick to inflict

Don’t tell me you Kant follow the Golden Rule

That is the universal elixir we are all hoping for

Now I know where the true treasure is

It has been mine all along, my heart of gold

I choose to share it with the world

What will you do with your golden treasure?

Please don’t keep it buried all your life

It is already within you, yours to share whenever you wish

If only I could get this message to you somehow

I’ve sent messages in bottles before

But bottles can lead to ripples

And I’m trying to calm my water

Splash

I’m learning to dodge the lead bullets of your matrix

And melt them into gold

Treating others how you want to be treated

Is a rule that never grows old

Breathing Underwater

I know a girl who used to hardly breathe at all
Most of her life she was barely surviving
She felt like she was drowning in plain sight
As tsunami waves of fear crashed all around her

Now she is learning to breathe underwater
Because she remembered that she can do anything                                                                                She realized that mermaid magic                                                                                                Was hers all along

She has learned that every moment is a prayer                                                                             And every prayer is a breath                                                                                                             And the overwhelming experiences of her life
Are where the pearls of wisdom can be found

Just breathe                                                                                                                                          Yes, you can