“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop”~Rumi
When you have anxiety, all you can focus on is anxiety! It’s kind of like when you’re driving through a tunnel on the highway. You’re going 80 mph when all of a sudden everything goes black. The music cuts off. And your eyes are frantically trying to adjust so that you don’t rear end the car in front of you.
This tunnel abruptly becomes your entire world. You can’t see the sunshine that’s just a few feet away. The sounds of birds have been replaced by a weird echo, and the world is now dark.
I think this is a pretty solid analogy for anxiety. Honestly it’s a pretty awful existence. And I can tell you from my many years of dealing with anxiety, there’s not a whole lot that helps outside of booze and meds (which ironically turn out to be NOT helpful either!).
But one tool that DOES actually help is called the 5 senses meditation. Instantly after doing this meditation, I’m able to pass the threshold of that dark tunnel and floor it towards the light. I can breathe again.
While I was in the hell of fertility treatment, if I stopped to notice what was going on around me, it gave me a chance to get out of my own brain. The obsession. I desperately needed that.
The entire ocean. In a drop.
I felt grounded.
It sounds so simple and too good to be true. But what we’re looking for here is a lifeline. A drop of hope. We want to not feel like crawling out of our skin! We want to just feel ok. Even for a second.
So what are your five senses telling you? Can you become enveloped in them? Allow your awareness to become expansive. Begin to let the narrow tunnel you’ve been looking down grow. Let it widen.
Look up. And then down. And then side to side. Really taste that croissant you’re eating. And feel the wind graze your arm. Notice the distant sound of birds chirping and the way it smells after rain.
Allow all of it to become your whole world for the moment. Take a deep breath in. Now let it out. Give yourself just a second more and look around again. Take care of yourself by taking a break from the insides to look at the outsides.
All will be ok