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As I quietly meditated yesterday morning, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a giant wave of anxiety. I knew precisely what it was about, and I wanted nothing to do with it.
In a couple of weeks, I will begin chemotherapy, and I had been so brave and centered about the whole thing. And then my fears suddenly showed up and the last thing I wanted to do was face them. I have much to be thankful for, and up until that moment I was leading my usual life. I anticipate experiencing much joy in the next couple of weeks, especially celebrating Passover with the @iwe family. So fear was completely unacceptable.
And then I remembered an ancient and wise teaching. Many people believe that when fear and anxiety show up in our lives, we need to stuff them away, defeat them and move on. I used to believe that was the best strategy; I could ignore the fear and make believe it just didn’t exist. It’s just that deep anxiety has a mind of its own, and is determined to be acknowledged, no matter how hard we try to ignore it; it will continue to rear its ugly head until we face it. So as I sat quietly, I allowed myself to be swamped by that anxiety. I felt its intensity, its demands for my attention, its power. I didn’t indulge it with devastating ideas or conjure up negative outcomes. I simply sat with it. And within moments, it began to dissipate. Anxiety had been acknowledged, which is all it asks for; it really has no interest in wounding my heart or maintaining its strength. In another few moments, I could once again feel the solace and sweetness of my meditation. And time moved on.