During my unending pursuit of the perfect filing system, I recently came across a quote I copied years ago. Paraphrased slightly, it goes like this:
Grown-up living requires conscious tolerance for high anxiety, a measure of audacity, and the courage to love in the face of inevitable loss. Sometimes this means holding onto your sanity and calming yourself while your anxiety is high--and then moving ahead anyway.
Ways to do it include breathing consciously, opening your mind to the real, rather than the dreaded event, saying out loud the very unspeakable truth you learned in childhood should never be uttered, convincing yourself that catastrophe is manageable, and meeting life's energy with your competent, adult self.
That's quite a list, huh?
Honestly, how much of the time do you feel you're operating from your competent, adult self, especially when emotional stakes are high? How often are you aware that anxiety is running your choices? able to tell the difference between a dreaded vs. real event (that was then, this is now)? willing to claim your projections--like owning the very behavior you hate in your partner (or parent!)? brave enough to speak your previously unspeakable truth?
Me? Allow me to take the fifth amendment on this one. What I will say is that I have gotten better with practice. Sad but true, I, like most of us, have been so tragically conditioned into avoiding experience at all cost that I have needed a lot of practice in order to accomplish simply being here, not to mention the high level skills mentioned above.
You? Perhaps you've been in therapy for years, meditated on the mountaintop, done drugs, yoga, qigong, soul retrieval, crystals, and the ultimate life coaching program, and still haven't found the secret combination that unlocks the door to the life you were born to live.
It is a slow process, this unlocking, and it requires a robust sense of humor, a lot of breathing consciously, and a willingness to give up a lot of stories, including the false promise of everlasting bliss. Ultimately though, it offers a way of developing a deep capacity for full catastrophe living, and integrating a consistent ability to meet life's energy with more of that competent, adult presence.