Counting Omer 5780, Day 13
Foundation, Establishment, Setting The Foundation, Fundamental; Foundation upon which The Divine One created the universe within Limitations; Spiritual, Physical, Emotional Strength; and Boundaries. Quality: Belonging and longing I belong every where and no where*. I am connected to every one and no one. I joyously experience this paradox when I stand in “I belong to me and to The Divine One.” I speak to people every day who are struggling with anxiety and many are on medications for their anxiety. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority are women. From my own experience, I know the deep never-ending pool of anxiety is a very real existential threat rooted in the expectation that I am to be perfect at all times. When I make a mistake, the perfectionist is merciless in her assessment of me, which produces more anxiety. Not wanting to produce an anxiety attack in you, my dear reader, I’m stopping the description here. A few years ago, I took my anxiety on. In doing so, I had to face several truths, including that I and most other women are trained to be perfectionist. When we behave, we are greatly rewarded. When we make mistakes, we are severely punished. This continues when we get into school, even when it is not present in others, because we do the monitoring to ourselves. The anxiety is rooted in our deeply held desire (longing) to belong, to be accepted. Anxiety lies. It’s suspicious of the present. It doesn’t trust the future. It cherry-picks the past. It misjudges everyone. I gave up perfectionism, and my life is much – MUCH - better for it. The first thing I did was to detach from my anxiety and just listen to it. It said the most ridiculous things about people, situations, the past, the present, the future. Listening to it as a detached and interested observer, I saw the kid in me still trying to win parental approval and love, and the compassion for me flowed. I also did a lot of laughing. Both freed me to practice good enough – a great tool because good enough is often great! Detaching from anxiety caused me to cease allowing it to run my life. When it arises, I recognize it for it is, a sign that I’m feeling something I would rather not feel. So, I stop, place my hand over my heart, and welcome the guest: fear, disappointment, sadness, pain, loneliness, anger… It is not long before I am back in my body and present to the moment. We cannot erase our past. There is no opportunity to have a second childhood, young adulthood, better first marriage… We can love ourselves, especially our imperfections. We can accept that there was nothing we could have done to avoid the real monsters who crossed our life paths. We are not what we have done. We are not what was done to us. We can free ourselves from the protections we created to seal the part ourselves we do not like or that we hold responsible for getting us into traumatic situations. With compassion for self, we can see ourselves as healing and mending. Listen to your longing as your desire to be closer to your true self and The Divine One. Fill your longing with belonging to and acceptance of you. Listen to the feelings beneath the anxiety that wants your attention. Daily note your blessings. When your anxious mind tells you, “You don’t have time for this nonsense!” Place your heart over your heart and say "It's okay, honey. We got this.", Blessings! Sabrina © Sabrina Sojourner 2020
*Deliberate non-conforming punctuation.