I had a terrible day yesterday. I have 22 different business activities that I am tracking, and it felt like all of them were doomed. The pain of anxiety was like a wet towel on a cold morning. With my mind racing, I found it impossible to shake it and get to sleep.
I was in a different time zone, and I couldn’t do anything about these problems until tomorrow. I had a million answers running through my head. I had run through the problems, come up with a variety of answers, and none of the thoughts could calm my fear and nervousness.
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“Sleep is important.” I kept telling myself, “I have to speak in the morning for three hours.” Yet, I couldn’t push out my worst fear. I am failing. I was panicking, and the latent feelings of impotency had set in like a tick.
Lately, I have been listening on Audible to a fascinating book by Tara Brach, PhD, called, "Radical Acceptance." In the book, Brach describes a Buddhist practice of the “pause.” I am definitely not going to do it justice, but, in my ordinary mind it meant when everything around you feels like it is going crazy - don’t go crazy. Pause, and figure out how you feel, why you feel that way, and then what you should do will come to you.
Now, I’m no Buddhist monk, and I don’t know how to find the answer within myself - although that would be cool. However, reading this did help me calm down. I stopped for a few minutes, laid on my back, and closed my eyes. I felt better after about 10 minutes of doing nothing and trying not to think about the problems.
Then, I got back to work, answered emails and calls for another three hours. Then, I fell asleep, woke up early, and went back to work.
I put all my current energy and focus into my speaking engagement, and it went well. I felt a little better. I got on the phone for the following six hours, and I put all my energy and focus fighting the fires that I knew about, and attacking new fires that had arisen. I worked hard, and I did my best.
At the end of the day, I felt better. In fact, I felt good enough to call it a win. Most of the things I was worried about either were not as bad as I thought or got better through hard work.
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What I Learned:
- The “pause” helped. I don’t know why, but it worked.
- Accepting the problems and understanding my fears made me less afraid.
- For some reason, when I work hard on things, they work out…not always, but most of the time.
- I am beginning to accept that I am going to fail, and it does not mean that I am a failure. In the immortal words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming…”
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