Layers of Anxiety

I am beginning to observe that the more I make space in my life for quietness, the more I notice the issues which I have been trying to block out by the background noise of my life.

It can be disconcerting at times, to feel that in the midst of a period that I have set aside for quiet reflection and calm and peace, I am in fact challenged by my inner voice which speaks to me of the chaos of my existence.

For example, I have noticed that if I have an extended weekend I feel far more anxious as I walk from the car to the building, a matter of  3 to 4 minutes in time, than I am if I have had off the customary two days.

In these few minutes on Tuesday morning after the Easter break these were the thoughts which crowded my mind:-

  • I don’t think I can continue in my job until I retire in nine years time – can I just make it through five more?
  • My car is getting old, can it last out for a couple of more years?
  • What if I don’t manage to save enough money for the weddings I want to provide for?
  • I really wish I could afford to have the kitchen refurbished now
  • Oh I’ve made such a mess of being a parent and I so wanted to be loved by them
  • And how much longer have my parents got to live – will I be able to cope when they are gone?
  • How long have I got left?
  • Should I have taken a chill pill this morning – this worry is making me anxious! (Honest to God!)
  • Will my wife make an effort to be nice to these friends of mine that we are seeing on Friday?
  • We’ve been invited to a party but it clashes with another commitment – will my friends mind if we arrive late?
  • Do we need to be at home when the plumber comes to fit the bathroom or will it be okay for us to leave him to it and go away for a few days?
  • I want to take up my voluntary work but I am afraid that my wife will be cross when I tell her.

I then get to my desk, deliver what is expected of me, I am humorous, motivating and supportive towards my team and all the other stuff that crowded my head has receded back until I can find a moment to allow them back in for the space they need.

I have noticed that letting in the chaos in my quiet time enables me to see the layers of anxiety for what they are  – they are future fears not present reality!

Most of that list above, is based on fears about the past that have no relevance in my present, or for that matter in my future, and a lot of the other stuff is really just about future planning and juggling of my life.

So. don’t be afraid of focusing on the chaos in your quiet time – notice it, write it down and live in the present free of those layers of anxiety!

My next blog will be:   Giving a Kidney

William Defoe

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