February 15

“Entertaining hope means recognizing fear.”  Robert Browning

       Today I woke up feeling anxious.  It’s not unusual for me to feel this way this time of year.  So, it comes as no surprise… I remember last year at this time; it was doom and gloom without any light at the end of the tunnel.  I think I even took a few days off work as sick days.

       When allowed to run amuck, my anxious thoughts can really knock the stuffing out of me.  Fear is the great motivator for some, but it only serves to stop me in my tracks.  I meet up with anxiety and fear only to turn away and look for a ‘safer’ place.  And this begins my slow decent into addictive and accessory behavior.

       A little over a month ago I made a New Year’s resolution:  To be happy.  I made this resolution because I recognize that happiness is a decision (see Meditation called “Happiness”).  And it truly is – I can literally choose how I am going to feel by choosing what kinds of thoughts I am going to entertain.  Everything hangs on my attitude, which is determined by choice.

       Today may prove to be a little more challenging; anxiety can weigh heavily sometimes.  I have a history of shutting down when faced with fear.  And anxiety can really do a number on my head if I give in to the temptation to slip into isolation.

       I begin first with gratitude.  This is a choice I can make no matter how I feel.  I just simply do it:  “Today I am grateful for my aches and pains – it means I am still alive and able to move around.”  This is where I begin. 

       Gratitude is difficult at first when I’m feeling anxious.  My own sense of shame and unworthiness is apt to bring me to my knees.  But on my knees I can make a conscious choice to give thanks for the things that I have momentarily forgotten; like life itself, and the air I breathe.

       Fear is certainly one reason we hope; what we hope for is based on what we fear.  It’s always running in the background.  And I can learn to encourage myself in the face of fear.  In fact, I can face what I fear and do it anyway.

       Anxiety is a bit harder to define when I’m not sure what’s causing it; however, it can be addressed much the same way.  I’m afraid to face the day when I feel anxiety, so I can “face my fears” with an embrace.  That’s right.  I can welcome the anxiety – not as an enemy – but as a friend that inspires me to be more grateful.

  You can meet your day with either fear or hope; choose hope.