Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Floating Anxiety

Today and tomorrow are my last days off before the week on call starts on Monday. Even though I've had a nice long break since my last week on the hospital service in December, I still dread jumping into the fray once again. Unpredictable, challenging, frustrating, exhausting on the one hand and, just to be fair, also (occasionally) exhilarating, enlivening, fulfilling, and (maybe) fun on the other hand. Right now I'm not feeling fair so the first four descriptors are the way I really feel about next week.

Coupled with thoughts of the future (why can't I live in the moment?), other free floating anxieties plague me.

Yesterday my colleague's two young children came by the office. Three and seven years old, they laughed and played with their Dad's I phone, the joyous giggles a reminder of how in-the-moment kids live and how innocently they move through time and space. Unencumbered by thoughts of the future or the past, I long to cultivate the child's mind. Whisked back to twenty years ago when my two were youngsters, a pang of bittersweet swept through me.

Everyone knows: parenting never ends. Parenting just changes face. It's not necessarily easier or more difficult; each phase is new, uncharted territory. How we respond as parents to whatever happens in our children's lives is individual but we still respond. Doing nothing or something counts as a response.

I am a worrier. I think about the effect of natural elements: snow, rain, ice, water, wind.  I ponder abduction, assaults, accidents, and alcohol.  Fire (I learned that from my Mom most surely) lingers in the background of everything. When my kids are on the road or out of town, my thoughts get pulled back to where they are and what they might be experiencing.

Is this internal wiring, learned behavior (I had the most powerful role model Mom) or both?

The physical feeling is a tightening in my shoulders and a I realize my breath is uneven and short. I need to open into utrasana pose  and breathe in and out with intention.

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