I sat there, as I had many times before—hunched over, head in my lap, all curled up in an anxious ball of electric worry, tears streaming madly down my cheeks, panic attacking me like an angry piranha, sweat pouring out of my skin like toxic rain, heart beating like a chaotic war drum.
What was wrong with me?
Why was I like this?
Was I even a person—or just one long string of endless concerns and worries?
The questions tumbled and tumbled through my mind, like a washing machine stuck in the fastest part of the spin cycle. I grew increasingly frantic and desperate by the moment. If I could just answer all these buzzing questions, then everything would be okay.
I just needed to untangle my discomfort and figure it all out. I just needed to analyze my feelings, dive deeper and make sense of it all, right?
So very wrong.
I was doing what we all often do, and making things infinitely more complicated than they needed to be.
But I didn’t see that yet, so I sat there, muscles tight, eyes wild, taking it all so seriously, and I thought and thought and thought until I found myself in the middle of a big ol’ mindf*ck—I thought until the only words I could think of were those shiny, overused new-agey words like “aura” and “life purpose” and “change your thoughts, change your reality” and “childhood trauma.”
I bullsh*tted myself for a good, long while.
And then I realized it, like a crisp slap in the face: I didn’t need to sit there and painfully unravel everything.
I’ve already done that. Doing that now was just a brilliant way to turn away from my discomfort and not face myself. Very clever, oh yes, very tricky—but I wasn’t falling for it anymore.
All I really needed to do was buck up and say:
And show up for myself.
And honor the fluttering fear, and not run away, gathering the courage instead to stay present, to feel the waves of panic coursing through my body—and gently bear witness to it all, which can sometimes be the hardest, but also the most powerful thing to do.
We can get so wildly carried away in beautiful, new-agey spiritual teachings and psychological theories that it becomes another mask we wear. Another layer of armor that protects us from the truth. Another way to distance ourselves from ourselves. Another brilliant diversion from the ever-raw, ever-beautiful, ever-succulent present moment.
What if we stopped talking so big, trying so hard to apply as many new-age concepts or affirmations as possible, and instead simply became present to how we are right now?
Oh, yes. Hello reality!
Let’s turn our attention back to this precious moment that’s happening exactly now. This real moment. This tender, crushing, grand and beautiful moment. Let’s breathe and come back to our bodies, our hearts, our truth. Because it’s direct experience that matters most—not what brilliant bullsh*t we can spin up in our minds, like yummy, but never truly satisfying cotton candy.
We don’t always need to analyze or spiritualize ourselves into oblivion or tie up every loose end of our struggles with a pretty new-agey bow that glimmers with quartz and amethyst. We also don’t need to take ourselves so gosh darn seriously.
Sometimes, it’s far simpler than we’d ever dream:
Be present with yourself.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, heavy or dense. We don’t need to delve into long-winded stories about our fear, our anger, our pain, our broken hearts—yuck, that gets so exhausting.
Truth is rarely complicated. Truth is often the simplest, ugliest, most beautiful thing in the world.
So, let’s remove those crystal-dusted spiritual sticks from our a**es, simplify, get real and get naked with our truth instead.
Let’s boldly show up for ourselves in the blistering heat of the present moment and say what we really need to say, and feel what we really need to feel, not hiding behind any fancy concepts or theories or pretty, shiny ideas.
We can say something simple and concise and true, like,
I’m scared sh*tless.
I made a mistake.
Maybe it won’t be pretty to be so simply honest; maybe it won’t be ethereal and lovely, but it will be real.
And isn’t that the best thing in the world? Isn’t real what we are most often missing?
There is such sweet power, such awesome freedom in not explaining, in not finding fancy words, in not reaching to apply abstract concepts to our every waking moment.
Sometimes, just to be present for an experience is enough.
Because the moment,
It speaks for itself
When we allow ourselves
To step closer
And feel our hearts beating
And stay steady in the discomfort,
And not explain it away
Or figure it out
Or distance ourselves from it all,
But to be brave enough, just for a second
To dive in
And feel it all,
With our whole hearts,
And a slight smile
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Avenue G/Flickr