I love this time of year, especially the ritual of ushering in a New Year. With its promise that we can wipe the old slate clean, and write a better story on a new, refreshingly (as yet) unsullied one, what’s not to love!
What will your ‘better’ story be this year?
At a meditation a few years ago the teacher spoke of how “sometimes we are eyes without feet, sometimes we are feet without eyes.” We can have a clear and defined vision of what we want but take no steps to get there, or we can take a lot of steps in various directions – be in constant motion in fact – without any sense of where exactly it is we’re going.
The tricky part is connecting eyes and feet, not only identifying what we want, but also taking meaningful and sustained action to get there.
For many of the clients I work with, the meaningful action required paradoxically has less to do with motion and more to do with finding a willingness to be still.
When anxiety is the issue, motion is generally not a problem. We go to great lengths to escape anxiety, or at least attempt to keep it at bay. We may turn down invitations to socialize, engage in rituals that give us a sense of control in an uncontrollable world, or opt to avoid any people, places and things that make us feel uneasy. All of these ‘feet’ align with the ‘eyes’ of easing our discomfort, but if our vision is actually to have a bigger, more engaged, and more engaging life these footsteps will not get us there.
The step we need to take to move in that direction is to increase our capacity to sit with and bear the feeling of anxiety that comes when we are stretching our comfort zone, testing our limits and beliefs. Seeing that the experience of anxiety, while undeniably uncomfortable is not intolerable, is a key step to breaking the hold it has on our lives (and our feet).