I first met David Whyte many years ago (thanks to Richard Strozzi-Heckler at Strozzi Institute) and I am an admirer. I find myself captivated by his words, both spoken and written, often pausing podcasts to jot down some of his musings. One stopped me in my tracks this morning:

“Anxiety is being far from home. Anxiety is feeling distance and exile without feeling it fully enough to actually be on your way back home through feeling [anxious]….” (at 38.40)

When I can find that elusive place called “home” – settling down in to the power of my centre, finding the certain ground underneath my feet – then my anxious self can rest for a moment. When I can string together some moments, perhaps achieving a minute or an hour or an afternoon, then there is such relief in that place of home.

When even a moment free of anxiety is elusive, then the doors can open to the potential floodgates of catastrophising where the end of the world really does seem nigh. Especially at two or four in the morning! This article by Patricia Riddell, Professor of Applied Neuroscience at the the University of Reading, really speaks to that painful state of tossing and turning, lying awake however tired. She offers some solutions, as does the mental health organisation SANE.

Let’s conclude with a “try this” suggestion [admittedly, when I arrive at however well-meaning a suggestion, you may see me roll my eyes and move on – so my first invitation is to smile if you’ve just done this, and pause to read on]. Take a breath, locate your feet on the floor and sense in to their soles, find your sit bones if you’re sitting, take a deeper breath in to your belly and chest (more if you like) then turn away from all that’s engulfing your life and try all that over again. And maybe once more. I hope your body has settled, even momentarily. This is the way home.

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