Return to Stillness

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Another beautiful morning! The sun is shining full and bright over on Eaton Dr, but is kept from shining on us by the big redwood trees to the south. I imagine to be hit by the sun this morning would be to feel at least 10 degrees warmer. Here in the shade it is very cold.

I’m feeling great this morning! Yesterday I did not feel good at all. In the morning I did, but then something happened. Almost instantaneously I did not feel good at all. It was a twinge in my chest. A rush to my head. A feeling in my shoulder. A taste in my mouth. I immediately went back into the fight against fear. Fear of heart attack. Fear of death and thought of all that would mean. Fighting those thoughts. Along with feelings I’ve felt before, returned the bewilderment that often accompanies them. Confusion. I had been relaxed, I thought. I felt relaxed all morning up to the twinge. I even felt relaxed the day prior through my deposition. How could my nerves be so sensitized that I could have such an episode despite my alleged relaxation?

Sadly, I ended up taking a Xanax. The feelings were strong and fear was making them worse. I hoped the Xanax would aid in the deescalation of both. It did. This, once again, should prove to me that it’s all psychological. That if I were having a heart attack, Xanax would not provide such relief. This should once again prove to me that I “have nothing to fear but fear itself.” This should also remind me that it can happen completely subconsciously. That worry and fear have their roots deep down where I forget about them at times and think I’m feeling relaxed. But they’re still there waiting for the smallest inclination of WORRY to bring them back to the front of my mind.

WORRY!!! Even only brief! The duration to effect relationship is exponential. For example: In a short pause from writing just a second ago, I caught myself in the act. Sitting at my writing desk I’m able to look out my bedroom window and enjoy the most expansive view we have from anywhere on our property. The redwood trees on the distant hill are far enough away to appear hazy even on the clearest day. All of a sudden it occurred to me that if the neighbors build a large enough structure on the back portion of their property, that view that I have spent years enjoying would be blocked!

Worry! Fear! Panic!

I noticed it happening. I noticed myself living out that very unlikely scenario in my mind. It would mean this. It would mean that. I would feel this and that. I was rehearsing devastation as if that future had already been written. I was doing it myself. I was giving those roots of fear and worry the thoughts they needed to grow and sprout in the garden of my mind.

Because I observed it, I was able to slow the escalation and stop it shy of panic. As I now sit in the same spot, instead of the negativity I had been seeing in my mind’s eye, I am now seeing the bright red leaves of the neighbors’ tree. Upon the branches from which those reddened leaves hang, small chickadees hop. Fluttering their wings and then landing on another branch. I always find such peace and joy watching birds. Then I focused on the branches.

The branches were bending under the birds and would bounce after the bird leapt from them.

But then, it struck me. No longer stressed by the weight of the bird or the bird’s act of pushing off of it into flight, the branch quickly calmed. Quickly returned to stillness.

Beautiful, that return to stillness. No more tension or forced movement. No more stress. Natural rest. Peace. Stillness. Visual silence.

With that branch, let me too return to such a state. The bowing and bouncing, the stress and the tension were but brief and did not prevent the branch from returning to rest. Let my worries and the thoughts kindling them be so brief. Let my mind now find the same stillness found so quickly by that branch. And when thoughts return, when worry, fear, and panic start to rear their weight, let me remember they are but a small chickadee, and my mind need only bounce briefly before returning to stillness.

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