About a week ago, my composed, mindful life hit a barrier that catapulted me into anxiety. Insecurity and misgiving clamped me shut when my supervisor went back on his word about my teaching location. I’m not a fan of betrayal. I moved right into counter action, but it took over a week to resolve.
Anxiety plays me by nervousness, sleeplessness, and difficulty focusing. I’m watching my diet and exercise, and even though they were good, I gained two pounds the first two days in stress mode.
Sleepless didn’t mean I stayed up late watching Netflix. I went to bed early and on time since I get up at 5:00 a.m. I tossed, fiddled with my phone, read a chapter of Truly, Madly Guilty and flopped around to the point where my cat got annoyed and jumped off the bed. Sleepless meant I’d doze into a light trance and then jerk awake, to have to start the cycle over. I don’t know how many times I did this. I decided to sit up and meditate in my spa room where I have a candle. The sputtering of the birch scented candle matched my mental field and I sat, recrossed and uncrossed my legs and tried to say aum. It was really futile, which panicked me. “Did I accidentally drink caffeine this afternoon? I was tempted to go on FB, but I have signed off and quit Words with Friends for my creative time.
My return from that unsupported tunnel of mental disharmony came in two levels. In the real world, real time, my real boss finally met with me after two calendar postponements and decided to move me to a different campus. I will teach reading in a real room with walls and a door – at a school with a greater need for intervention. Plus, I not only got a transfer, but I also got an invite to coach writing and offer Moonlight Universities in writing. Did you see me do a little happy dance when I returned to my “room” in the open pod?
The next evening after the fortunate meeting, I was driving home from Whole Foods through downtown San Jose, heading east on Santa Clara. I had the top down and the air was balmy. Time slowed as I people-watched at the frequent stoplights. I’d tuned into KDFC playing a contemporary classical piece, Peter Boyer’s Symphony #1 . The symphony had a motif that got into my brain. Soon I was singing along with it. I remember having the thought that one doesn’t hum symphonic melodies, but I did. Meanwhile I was noticing the light play on building facades, the cloud piles over the east foothills, and sliding deeply into the musical meditation.
Yes, I was driving, that easy, stop and go 25 mph downtown rate. Each block I drove seemed a ride on another wave of peace and visual pleasure. As I turned into my driveway, stopping at the gate, the symphony was ending in slow, descending crescendos like a mountain range melts into foothills. So I sat there in my car.
Before me, massive Bird of Paradise flowers were catching the setting sun. They became electric in the music and air, charged with life. I saw them shooting up into a connected, live atmosphere that was pouring life back into them. I could feel the active, ongoing flowering and I was enrapt in the light, air, and flaming orange.
As the music ended with a long, satisfied exhale, I was back. Alive and well.