Sitting Out Stormy Weather

Photo by Sarah Oblinger

Bad weather ahead/

What if it isn’t an obstacle/

Just part of the path.

What’s possible when we take the time to hold space for ourselves and work with inquiry when we are experiencing stormy inner weather, is potent.  What’s important when we work with inquiry is to not to ask questions that start with why.  Our answers to those questions often lead us to our “default thoughts.”

Why questions like:

Why am I like this?

Why am I still flawed?

Why don’t things go my way?

Why, after all the personal work I’ve done, am I not better?

Why can’t I finally and forever get over feeling the feelings that are uncomfortable? (And that could be anxious, sad, stuck, confused, or angry.) 

I’ve learned nothing authentically helpful ever comes from asking myself those kind of questions – except feeling worse.

Recently I had an experience with anxiety.  The whole month of January was about cleaning up a tax mess I created all by myself, with a lot of magical thinking and avoidance. Taxes and money are a great place for my anxiety to get stirred. Really stirred. When my anxiety gets stirred, I shut down and go into hiding…physically, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. So I gave myself some sitting time with the storm I felt brewing in me.

I sat quietly and tenderly and checked in with myself. In the quiet I followed my breath down into my body, to the place in me where the strongest sensation was radiating out from. I let my hands come to rest on that spot. 
In that quiet meeting of my hands over my solar plexus, a question arose.  The same question I asked myself over and over again last month, through the feelings of anxiety and shame I was feeling, as I cleaned up my mess.

I gave that question my attention. Again. This question doesn’t begin with why and drag me through the hell of badgering myself about being anxious and back.

The question?

What if my anxiety is not an obstacle on my path, but is the path itself?

As I sat with this question, my solar plexus softened.  The prickliness under my hands fell away and I felt something in me relax. The dread I feel, always feel, about my anxiety when it is activated, shifted. To a deep curiosity about the possibility of my anxiety being my ally who offers me a an open doorway into my inner territory and a tender way through my inner bad weather.

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