Stress is an interesting roommate, especially when it isn’t accompanied by fear. Before this last year, I would have said that wasn’t possible. I’m still not certain that it is. Perhaps I have yet to find that deeper fear hiding within. I’ve found so much already, looked in the dark corners and crevices of this mind’s treasure hold, been given no choice but to experience so much my former self would have done anything to avoid. Is there more? Of course there is. The answer is not one whit elusive.
Anxiety about what is happening, about what may happen next appears to be fear-based, a not wanting something to happen that the mind fears will. Or on the other side, wanting something to happen that the mind fears won’t. So the game continues, unwinding the threads that appear to hold the tapestry together. We want to see what happens when all that remains is a pile of unwindings. Maybe life just is and further inquiry into that which seems difficult perpetuates its presence. Maybe the more threads we pull, the larger the tapestry gets.
Is it possible to have anxiety residing in the cells, the memory of such shock and surprise to the system that it takes up residence within and starts building community?
As I am finding it is quite possible. Old traumas add to new traumas and stack one upon the other building to a crescendo of sorts that is bound to spill into life’s expression, the path upon which one is walking, putting up roadblocks and detour signs. I used to think of trauma as something extreme: the death of a child, a horrible car accident, a violence perpetrated. I no longer see it that way. Trauma is anything that disturbs a sense of well-being and that felt sense seems, at least on the surface to be different for everyone. What isn’t traumatic for one person may be for another. Some souls continue to function apparently well after what brings another to their knees. Or, maybe that’s not true at all and trauma is actually cumulative. Perhaps rather than an overpowering horrifying event, for some, all it takes is one more little thing to tip the scale and fire up the stuffed and overlooked, tended and processed, stockpile of life’s heartbreaks.
Regardless of ultimate truth, we experience life through the body even though we are not the body. Without it we are eliminated from this particular game – the earth playground. Anything that threatens that creates trauma. Is it actually possible to be in a body and not have some level of anxiety? I used to say yes. Now I don’t know. Perhaps I was dissociated, spiritual bypassing and my life only felt anxiety-free.
I couldn’t see what I couldn’t see. The more I am open to feeling the sensations, the blocks and knots in the body, the greater the possibility of seeing becomes. And yet, I cannot feel what I cannot feel … until I can.
Is this stress a fear of death even more hidden than anything else I’ve uncovered? If so, fear is at the base of all stress and anxiety. Is it electrical firings, so ingrained in the amygdala that its autonomic response, the hormones secreted are unavoidable while the body remains? Or is it something else? It seems my life is for this discovery.
I have spent the last year face to face with my death, learning to breathe one breath at a time, for truly nothing more has been afforded me. I have learned to breathe into heart arrhythmias not knowing whether I would be here a minute later. I have sat in a hospital bed while all the lights are flashing and panic fills the eyes of the doctors and nurses and breathed through it, in acceptance of my death when it comes. If this is the moment, there is nothing to be done but embrace it fully. And, it seems each week, each day something new comes to breathe in, to experience, to let be.
Perhaps what I call anxiety, stress is actually bone-weary, soul-changing tiredness. Whatever it is, it is the path upon which I have been walking, a bed of hot coals which appears to have no end. At times I wonder what I have done wrong to be so challenged. Sometimes I realize that I have done nothing wrong, have acted from the consciousness resonating through me at all times and nothing could be different than it is. Other times I fall deeply into the void of no one here, nothing being done, no one to do it – it’s all This That Is expressing and experiencing aliveness through form.
Is one better than the other? The experience of ‘what did I do wrong’ appears to be a lesser experience, fraught with difficulty. It is, but it is also teeming with possibility. Entered into with purity of intent, it’s the fertile ground of insight, of revelation.
Last night I asked that question. The answer wasn’t so much a course correction as a new step on an entirely new ladder. We are being moved into a new reality and that cannot be managed while remaining in any way, form or fashion in the old world. In the old world the truth was revealed through surrender, by breathing into the flow and remaining here-now regardless of life’s fluctuating content. If one has been sufficiently honed, adequately pulverized into the pure material of life, a fixture of the here-now, a new step appears, one that seems an utter paradox to one’s life of surrender. Life steps forward and demands our full participation, calls us to take up the mantle of creator and release ideas of God, of co-creation, of anything at all that can impact our sovereignty. It strips away the question mark of impossibility. The apprenticeship ends. A new teaching emerges.
What humans call fear of death is so layered, deeper than can possibly be imagined. I wonder if the bottom can be fully experienced, entered into without the actual event transpiring. It is fascinating to feel anxiety, to recognize its intensity, its prevalence, its pervasiveness and not feel what I have commonly known to be fear. It makes no sense to this mind. The concept of death is rich and offers bottomless lessons.
So what is left? Feeling into it: it is here; it is deep; it is intense. Now be with it. There is nothing more, until that moment arises from within a genuine, all-in, nothing held back openness to truth a new teaching materializes, and even then it seems feeling is our portal to all teachings.
The master becomes the beginner again.
Further. Further. Further. There are no endings, only new beginning to infinity and beyond.
“You grow and evolve. It also happens that you struggle and slip back into well-worn patterns of behavior. When that happens, it appears that headway has run into headwinds and that fills you with anxiety and doubt. Both keep you frittering along the timeline of your life – past and future – anywhere but here.” Card #9 Headway – The Wild Child