Anxiety is no one’s friend. When I first began developing A Note to Zami last fall, I wanted to be as honest as I could allow myself to be in creating something designed to exist past my personal expiration. Between working to craft a bit of a legacy and striving to exhibit limitlessness, I sought the limits of my honesty. I wanted to wander deep outside of what I presented as the truth and face the origins of these truths, but had issues coming to terms with uncovering some of them. Resolving anxiety isn’t always easy, particularly when you have anxiety about facing your anxieties. But, since the beginning of spring officially starting as a season, I committed to resolving those of my own–through keeping a God box.
An intimate and safe space that you create and define with your commitment to the practice of returning to your anxieties and working on them, a God box resolves the apprehension and unease towards approaching them. Basically a tool to alleviate worry, stress, and doubt, it functions by placing clarity and lessons in your life, to physically timestamp your journey as it is happening. To not forget where you’ve been, you do this to acknowledge and honor where you are and confidently go where you want to be. The consistent and honest practice of being vulnerable with yourself is something we can all benefit from.
Here’s how I got comfortable (read: less afraid, but still weary, mostly persistent, and hellbent on making change I could see):
- Determine your consistency. Writing a small note daily consistently keeps you accountable, you are naturally to seek growth in action. You determine your consistency, mine was smaller notes every day for a month. You could write a letter with the intent to attract during a new moon and release during the full moon. Pen a to-do list of intentions every Sunday evening in preparation for the upcoming week. Jot down an expression of gratitude every morning. Keep a running prayer list.
- Find or create your god box. I got my box from Marshall’s in their home decor department for three dollars. It’s a small enough box to fit on my altar, covered in green banana leaves and pink flamingoes. Having my God box in my own sacred space is its own form of accountability. It is important to have your box visible to stimulate the emotional and possibly physical visibility of understanding, solutions and clarity. You can also add to any box you find, customizing it to resemble yourself. Personalize your process and you will speak to yourself with such understanding and warmth. (For added good juju, I put small fortunes I’ve collected from Chinese take-out over the years and a ‘You are beautiful’ sticker I received while working retail into my God box.)
- Write. Get honest. Scratch that–red mark it. Receive honesty with yourself, allow you and your god and your pen to just push through. However you fall into, break, build yourself, let it be as it is.
- Act. You can’t practice what you’re preaching to yourself, without applying it first. Test how you feel with actions and take note of how you respond and react to these behaviors.
The following are my reflections and meditations from 30 days of working on my own anxieties and self-apprehensions.
The gift of pleasure is being brave enough to own it, whether unapologetically or not. Desire knows and befriends fear to be with it. What is the allure of fear? Curiosity. Wanting to be in an experience, different than your current course of action requires new skills. Faith, the action of trust and the varied understandings of belief.
Act with attention to what is being done or said not expectation of what you want to be done or said. Be honest about the control you want versus the control you have.
I dislike being told no even though people have the right and the choice to do so. I dislike this because I expect people to be my savior, in any way. This gives them stake in deciding my character because I’m comfortable with not taking initiative on my own accord. I have created a manipulative attitude of helplessness due to faith in this thought. How can I become my own savior? Or practice being my own savior? What motivates me to depend on people? How can I practice depending on myself?
Hold your attention accountable. You let a lot of bullshit knowingly and willingly take up space because destruction is easy – but why do you think you can’t build something meaningful and steady? Is your integrity decaying underneath the rubble? Have you forgotten to continue to seek your truest, Highest Self? And made your lowest point, a circumstance, your God? How could you be so lazy? And why hasn’t your mind wandered to greater? What is comfortable here?
What is your source of needing? Go back to the first memory and interrogate it because it shows the more you desperately attempt at hiding it. Admit it. Tell it how it is affecting you, who you are in/with it. Know that it is a part of you and let it and yourself just be. How do you need people?
Slow down to recognize your peace happening, being made. Right before your eyes, unfurling within your breath. It is not something we attain, not something we are meant to seek – allow peace your attention and you will realize you have, are or are becoming it. Rejoice in this fact.
Relish in the freedom that trust allows–that freedom is action. Do not do anything you don’t trust–this is willingly moving away and past your heart. Where do you want to be? The choice is yours, and it’s simple. Trust another’s destiny for your life and perish in the chase of fulfilling their expectations of you. What do you believe? Who do you believe in?
What is keeping you weary? Uncertainty, the uncertainty of patience and how it is feeling like a stalled, controlled breath. Waiting for something that may never come, waiting for the life or decision to live that has caused such a hesitation. How did we get to this moment of pause? We’re afraid to be wrong, to be unsuccessful…so how the hell am I learning, living, leading?
Have a plan for the day, time wastes away anyway. What are your intentions for your mind, your heart, your expendable energy? Having clarity allows a process to be organically formed around specific interest and not forced onto you like a chore. Make a choice while you still have the opportunity to.
Impatient and at odds with my thoughts. Not acting fast enough, life goes on anyway and don’t want to get stuck in the habit or practice of idle waiting. “Are you ready for your blessing?” I can’t give a confident answer so I won’t answer at all. This is also an answer. Do I trust that what I want will serve me well? That it will inspire me to serve others? Replace ‘what I want’ and ‘it’ with romantic love. Does this fill the blank widening inside, consuming me? Is this love’s responsibility?
When boundaries become barriers. To keep out, to exclude, to separate. This is when boundaries consume you in hesitation and apprehension. They become comfortable and agile in appeasing you – and only your fears grow. For how long? Until you grow tired or bored with fear so much so that you want to live with the fears and not in them.
I am not there…yet. This is hope, faith is waiting.
How can I enjoy where I am now? And do so responsibly? Indulgence becomes harmful when it is designated as a coping mechanism with no recuperation. What then are my priorities? A willful destruction because the comfort of indulgence seemed safer and lazier than confronting myself, finding compassion with myself, etc.
Trust that what is for you, will not pass you by. Honor yourself by opening up to how you can better understand yourself. You don’t have to always be right, but you have to be here. Befriend how your lessons come and the ‘why’ will become clear. Ignorance is useful when it is willing to be informed. Are you willing to be changed, beyond your comfort, with information?
Planning for the better makes the reality of it more possible.
How I celebrate successes now:
Indulging minimal effort that happened to be fruitful. There is no consistency, method, or reason to the success that is definite. I am afraid of succeeding because of the implied expectation of consistency. I am lazy because it is safe. How do I define my true potential? How am I measuring my patterns, habits, outcomes daily? Whether they are successful or not? What do I associate with lessons if I don’t succeed as I had planned?
Find a focus and be in it. What are you looking for? Can you see it where you are? What work does it take to remain with focus? How are you practicing devotion, dedication? What motivates you to do so?
Also Beyoncé – Die With You.
What makes us feel important to ourselves? Validation from others? The effort that went into failing because we had the audacity to try? Our attempts at joy (and their gracious successes)? Keep seeking these answers, the attempts are worth a jump at the sun.
Admitting is the first step. Then, what’s the after-care?
TBDBY (to be be determined by you).
Thinking about all things that I haven’t accomplished, memories I haven’t made, joy I haven’t experienced. There’s a limited ‘yet’ lingering somewhere at the end…but who really knows of their last moment to act on ‘yet’. What am I doing with ‘now’? What can I be proud of? Improve upon? Ask for help with? Consider what fabric you’re come from and what you are contributing to now as reshaping the history you grow from – because we can never borrow today or forgive yesterday.
Take care of yourself, honestly. How am I honest (requires to be aware and compassionate of things we name as flaws or problems) with my care of myself and others? What do I see about me reflected in others?
What I know, what I trust, what I feel, how I serve will provide a sustainable way for me to survive.
Words create worlds. Remember this the next time you even think of speaking. The way you shape, manipulate and perform language is a shift in space. Creating action that informs our living. What are you here to do? Your mouth is a portal.
Admitting fault and apologizing is rarely for the other person. It’s for your conscious to be clear and forgiven by you. The goal is to channel the dominance your perspective naturally has into active listening and to respond rather than react. How did we get to this point in the interaction? Why are we here? What gestures, actions or words make the other person feel heard, understood and valued?
Work towards preparation and not perfection. How can you want to perfect something and not even when what it is? This is a common confusion among people wanting more for themselves. The key is to use what you have now, not limited to situations, people’s reactions, your reactions (what you say) versus your responses (what you do). Focus yourself on the environment of your current moment and clarity will be there.
Relax about your truth, it is what it is. You are not meant to be defined by it but constantly ‘with’ it. To better yourself, to maintain integrity, to practice humility and honesty. Truth is always taking shape, how are you standing with a changing foundation? What possibilities about change make you feel safe? How do you steady yourself? What does the process look and feel like?
What do you lose? What do you gain?
Sometimes the anticipation is sexier than engaging in the actual act. Listen to this feeling if it should visit your conscious mind. Learn what you’d like, not at the cost of making another person feel like a lesson. Make what comes and is natural: conversation, eye contact, body language, the relaxant. You liked those things most about her and about yourself with her – before Hennessy became the overbearing third wheel.
The joys of self-confidence are desiring, appealing to, and enjoying yourself before the input or consideration of others. Not to say that other people’s opinions don’t matter, they just shouldn’t matter first. An outsider’s voice should not ring out louder than the one residing inside of you. You are with you always, do not allow yourself to go mute and not tune in to the wisdom and power inside of you.
Home, the concept of it, is not limited when you carry ‘home’ in your spirit. The loyalty to memories and defining lessons does not diminish where and when we can build on and practice the joy from them. You can have home wherever, whenever and however you are. Its purpose is to welcome, shelter and incite the tendernesses of humanity.
Talk to your heart, find out what it really wants and your eyes will begin to see it come into reality. Trusting your desire to understand the work necessary to receive it is only a portion of the debt we pay to remain committed to our passions.
Overwhelm is the sign of a lack of decision making. I have choices, many of them. Just because I choose one first doesn’t mean the others get neglected, just prioritized. How am I ordering my choices? If they were steps, which they are, where are they leading me?
Where would I be if I stopped now? I have no dream, no vision to see if the work ceases. Why? Because discouragement doesn’t allow for the possibility of dreams and their uncertainty of being fulfilled. Watch what you believe.
I started my God box on March 21, 2017 and ended it on April 19, 2017. My biggest benefit probably was the gradual process of unlearning fear and anxiety with the uncomfortable truths. I’m beginning to see them as what they are, vulnerability that is struggling and tending to these uncomfortable truths accordingly. Anxiety is a bitch. Even worse when your anxiety is about approaching your anxieties. But, it doesn’t have to be. Grab a box, put God in it, and watch you flourish.