I was talking in a video about freeing and moving emotions, and how sometimes the sign that I need this is a vague but undeniable anxiety, as if something very bad is about to happen, or perhaps like some time when I was little and maybe did something I knew I would get in trouble for, but it hadn’t been discovered yet. For a long time anxiety was a frequent visitor, coming and going at will, not intense enough to send me to a doctor for a prescription, just nagging and sucking idly at my confidence.
As I was thinking about that anxiety, I noticed that I used to feel it regularly just as I was about to go somewhere. Or, maybe it was there all along, but something made me notice it when I was about to move out, kind of like the way I have a tendency to get in the car and notice that my hands are dry, so I put on lotion right before I drive. My hands aren’t any worse than they were in the house, but that’s when I notice.
In any case, my typical response to the anxiety would be to start going over my checklist. What am I forgetting? Phone, check. Keys, check. Water bottle, check. These days, mask, check. Hand sanitizer, check. Was I supposed to do something? Do I need directions? Maybe if I just pause and breathe and clear my head for a few minutes, it will come to me. No? Okay, one more minute. . .
The thing is, this doesn’t work, because the source of the anxiety doesn’t actually have anything to do with forgetting something in the moment. It’s really a sign of an orphan emotion trying to surface, and there’s no help but to address the emotion. Going over the checklist only makes me late.
And that’s when it occurred to me, that person you know who is always late? Maybe you think she is self-centered, or undisciplined, or lazy. But it may in fact be that she is none of those, she’s just struggling to manage some emotional weight. And maybe she isn’t doing it very well; or maybe, if you knew what she was dealing with, you’d be impressed that she holds it together at all.
Luckily, I eventually found an exercise for getting those emotions to move, and it only takes a few minutes, so if I feel the anxiety at the door, I can do the technique and be on my way.
If you want to learn it, here’s the link.