There are several ways to awaken awash with anxiety.
One is working a math problem as was the case this morning. Puzzling, I awoke trying to figure out how many combinations (words) might be possible beginning with six letters. I actually began to understand combinatorics a wee bit better, but I had little doubt that the manifestation of a math puzzles was generated from a deeper place within. Given the more common alternative (body crunched in a pretzel wince), I’ll take the math problem any day. The only down side is that when awakened, I cannot let it lie until it is resolved. With my rusty math brain, this is sometimes a slow process and I’m weary this morning.
Another way of awakening in anxiety that is new to me is that of premonition. I don’t recall every awakening with such a clear sense of forboding as I had yesterday morning. We were in a strange hotel that admittedly had a bad presence and I will chalk the experience in the column of unidentified bad spirits. But I was startled awake with an awareness of impending doom that was both intensely powerful and undeniable real. Although a picture gradually immerged that fit the possible trajectory of our upcoming day, the premonition was not in its origin about a particularized event. In fact were it so, I would feel less troubled now 30 hours in the rearview mirror with all of my family safely accounted. But as I remember the feeling that took hours to settle, I am aware that it is still within me.
Could it simply be a manifestation I feel about the week ahead? In all (rational) likelihood this is the case. In addition to the normal workload at church that seems unnerving in this post-announcement period, I also have jury duty on Tuesday and an appointment with a home appliance repairman at home on Thursday. We are missing one person in the office and it is the week before Thanksgiving. The Transition Circle is to meet this week (without me, of course) and the “Listening Sessions” begin (also without me, but at least in part about me). Yep, I can feel my anxiety rise as I type the list.
The math problems, like the psyansky eggs that I made when I was white knuckling sobriety, are a fairly healthy channel for the anxiety that is no doubt a part of this transition in my life. I am grateful for the rhythm and routine, and even the sense of productivity that comes with them.
What is less clear, though, is the role and purpose of the premonition. I have been pretty clear that my intention is to be more aware of spirit presence in my life even as I step away from religious expression. But my intention was about sunshine on autumn leaves, not so much about the shadow self that rattles in the deepest night.
Unnerved and still a bit shaky, I am grateful for the powerful light of this brisk autumn morning. May it hold the fear in balance.