Now that I am retired and don’t have the distraction of the intensity of my work and the care of a herd of horses, my anxiety has taken on new dimensions. I don’t have the ghosts and goblins of my past insecurities anymore and that is a wonderful thing; but I do have an awareness of reality that I never had before.
That reality, one in which I do not have a clue what is going to happen to me next and the truth that I do not have any control over anything present or to come, is very harsh. Of course I always knew I didn’t have a clue about what would come next, and I knew I didn’t have any control over anything really, but I only knew these things intellectually; if at all. I seldom let reality come to consciousness as I could easily slide into the “unrealistic notions of control” that my workaholism or co-dependence gave me, keeping the anxiety at bay. No more.
Watching my parents die over the past three years has opened me to the reality of life at the end with the knowledge that I am there; at the end. Maybe I have ten or twenty years left, and these years will be filled with lots of good stuff but also losses of friends, family members, my own strength, health and relevance. I have learned good coping mechanisms and these will serve me well for most of the journey, (I hope), but the anxiety is as present as the reality I choose to live in consciously. It is caused by the awareness of the days ahead in which I will lose those coping mechanisms: mental, emotional, and spiritual. I know what this looks like. I watched it happen to my mom and dad. It was very sad and hard to witness at times.
No meditation, no metaphysical workshop, no self-help group and no amount of prayer is going to protect me from this part of the journey. It is mine to live, anxiety and all. Faith helps. Finding a God of my understanding to turn to; not for help as much as for someone to express my gratitude to for all the many blessings I have received and continue to receive. It is faith in the ‘feeling’ of being loved by a loving God; because I do feel it.
Watching the Grace and peace bestowed on my parents as they quietly surrendered every aspect of their history and their lives was a sublime experience for me. It is what has given me the courage to move forward toward the abyss. But it scares the ‘you know what’, out of me just the same. So I need to practice my faith; live in the moment as much as I can, and notice when I have gone south and disconnected from the reality I live in. It happens frequently. I just notice it, faithfully pray for the strength to carry on and I am brought back to the love of the unknowable One and I am at peace for another moment.