Hard mornings, I wake up with an 800 pound, unsmiling gorilla on my chest.
My breath catches and takes effort.
So much to do—and where to start?
With all my meditation practice, deep breathing skills,
and yoga love: every morning I am still swept away, briefly
in a current of terrifying panic.
Even while my mind has leapt out of bed and conquered the first task
It tackles me from behind, takes me out at the knees,
unpredictable and unafraid, claws gripping at my flesh.
Red cards don’t intimidate this opponent.
There is only solution in presence.
Breathe, and focus on the sun coming in the window.
Another breath and the soft pillow under my head.
A breath to feel my rib-cage expand,
I am alive. I am alive. I am alive.
I am breathing.
Another breath to think of my son asleep upstairs,
paused in the in-between state of loveliness.
My pets, their paws and noses resting.
The love beside me.
What matters most then? What are my worries?
What if we are late for school?
What if everyone is crabby today?
What if work is hard? What if I fail a test?
What if my bank account is dwindling?
What if my student loans never get paid off?
What if—what if—what if?
Anxiety creates madness out of minutiae.
Survivable challenge morphs into apocalypse level disaster.
End of the world, catastrophic horrors loom.
I have a home, a heart, I am safe.
I breathe, I breathe…
I step into the fear and take on the day.
Author: Keeley Milne
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photos: Flickr/Charles Harry Mackenzie; author’s own.