“I’m doing the work, I’m baby-stepping, I’m not a slacker! Just look, I’m in really bad shape!” Bob Wiley pleads to Dr. Leo Marvin in the film What About Bob? Released in 1991. “Gimme, gimme, gimme…I need, I need.”
I need my counselor. I shoved my fears in the closet of my brain over the holidays and now they are tumbling out like an avalanche of mixed up, broken thoughts and emotions that have no order and little semblance of what they once were. Unexplained tears here, incomplete ideas there, sorting out this mess out is going to take a while. I was winning at life’s Jenga when I started pulling out pieces of doubt from somewhere in the middle and trying to build on them when they disrupted the integrity of the tower. I have been biting my nails, losing sleep, and generally short tempered. As my daughter used to say, I can’t like it.
Bob Wiley: “…baby step onto the elevator…baby step into the elevator…I’m “in” the elevator.”
Bob Wiley: “AHHHHHHHHH!”
I resemble that scene more often than I would like to admit. It’s amazing how confident, peaceful and happy I can be for a time, only to return to the old anxieties that make the simplest tasks brutally difficult. What About Bob? is one of my favorite movies because of its hilarious simplicity and what can I say? I relate!
Seeds of doubt can immobilize happiness in a surprisingly short amount of time. One minute enthusiasm, excitement and discovery are moving the train down the track toward New Year’s Resolutions or personal goals, then Crash! I slumber up from the wreckage, look around in shock and have no idea what just happened. As my investigative crews come on the scene, they determine a typical, systematic chain of events, beginning with doubt and ending in disaster. However, no one was killed or maimed in this accident, instead I can brush off the dust, bandage the small wounds and get the train back on the track with a little more information and experience to aid in the prevention of future derailments.
Mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, without judgement can calm the mind, body and spirit. It moves the brain from the “lizard brain” or the oldest part of the brain responsible for primitive survival instincts such as aggression and fear to the “wizard brain” which is logical and better capable of problem solving and finding solutions. Making good choices with a “can do” attitude frees the body of anxiety and wasted energy to one that is empowered with tremendous strength and courage.
On one of the nights I lay awake in bed with anxiety, I began a very simple mental chant of “I can”. My brain, body and spirit have the capacity to accomplish my goals if I keep fear in the backseat of my mind, but drive with the knowing that I have the wisdom and fortitude to press on towards the goal.
Make this year a Kuzala New Year with small goals slowly building to the best you, you can be. Love yourself, your perceived flaws (they have much to teach you) and keep going…one step at a time.