Sometimes, as we are blossoming into a fuller, more free, more powerful, clearer version of ourselves, we feel frightened by the unknown - new ways of thinking and being, what might change in our lives, what might be asked of us. Part of us clings to our old ways, even if they are ineffective and limiting, because they are familiar. They are what we have always known. In order to do that blossoming, we may need to endure discomfort and uncertainty in the process.
Some of the problems you encounter have little do with you and are the cost of engaging with life. When you are willing to participate, you will bump up against other people's fears and misperceptions and various weirdnesses. Don't blame or doubt yourself.
The confusions and uncertainties of participating may wear on you, and you may not always be the person you'd like to be. This is also the cost of engaging. Know that even as you may regret or be confused about some of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you are learning and growing and making progress, even if the road is bumpy and imperfect. Trust the process.
The book of Mark advises in difficult circumstances: "When they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."
Today, in your speech and interaction, do less planning- and less mindless blurting and chatter. Instead, slow. Pause. Nod to the presence of Love, Spirit. See what comes. Trust. Sometimes the answer will be silence. This particular work is not ours to do. Sometimes we are able to speak from a more honest heart-place and touch someone's heart and make transformative connections. Sometimes we discern we need to protect ourselves. Sometimes we speak and are surprised by the words that come through us, some wisdom greater than ourselves.
Today, know that you are very strong: you are steady, sturdy, capable, and resilient. At the same time, treat your self with the most gentle tenderness - in the way you talk to yourself and treat yourself.
That is what the people in your life need, too. They need to know that you see their strength and capacity. They also need your gentle kindness.
Today, know that Love is bigger than your understanding. Know that Love is working in your life, even when you can't yet clearly see how. Love embraces and holds those you love, even if you can't hear the words Love is whispering to them. Love is bigger than your thoughts. Love is bigger and more powerful than your feelings. Love is stronger than your will. You will never stop learning the depths of Love.
Anxiety books have taught me that we often worry to avoid feelings. We are afraid of emotions.
This has been a surprise for me: when I pause my worrying to ask what emotion is under the surface, sometimes the emotion is positive! Joy, wonder, hopefulness, expectation, delight, peace. Maybe part of me is afraid of positive emotions, too, that they won't last, that they'll disappoint. By doing this, I'm missing out on so much of the fullness of life.
Today, don't force or try to create positive emotions, but welcome them, make room for them, trust them, see them as sturdy gifts.
Often we increase our suffering by fearing our fears. We have an anxiety and then we worry that we are worrying. Today, let go of that second layer.
Sometimes we tie ourselves up in dramatic knots of self-imposed suffering because we are avoiding something. The best way to deal with it? Take one small step to tackle an important task, project, goal that you have been avoiding. You don't need to finish it. Just one step. That is often enough to break the building resistance. (Also, sometimes we avoid by imaging that other, less important tasks are urgent. Don't be fooled!)
Some of us focus obsessively on our deficiencies, all the ways we imagine we are not fully developed or falling short of standards. While of course self-awareness and self-honesty is important, our obsession with our faults can be destructive and inaccurate - as equally dangerous as the delusions of those who imagine they are brilliant in every way.
Today, be willing to see that you are so much more than your deficiencies. Know that Love already moves through you: in your skills, your perspective, the care you put into the world without even thinking or trying because it's so much your nature. Appreciate all the ways Love loves the world through you.
Today, if you are feeling confused, overwhelmed, at a loss, down on yourself, ask yourself, "What would a wise friend say to you?" If you had a beloved friend in this situation, what advice/perspective would you give? If you can't slow down enough to hear, write it out.
You have the capacity to hear the perspective of Wisdom and Love.
For those of us who tend to worry, we can add worry-about-worry to our anxiety. We know our stress is out of proportion to the danger and feel shame about that. Or we know that we have many blessings so feel shame about worrying. Or we worry that stress will hurt us physically or mentally--or harm our relationships. We tie ourself up in knots.
Today, commit to treating your worry kindly. The Vietnamese monk Thick Nhat Hanh tells us to speak to our fears with great tenderness : "Don't worry my little fear, I will take care of you."
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.