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More Anxious than an Anxious Thing

More Anxious than an Anxious Thing

I have been feeling a lot more anxious than usual lately.  It’s a combination of ‘stuff’, but I’m pretty certain this is mostly down to one specific thing:

In less than a week I leave the place I have worked for almost ten years. 

Yep. Hello Freelancing and Goodbye Regular Salary.  I know this is absolutely the right thing for me.  The timing could not be better.  It is something that I know I want.  I feel so much clearer about things than I ever have.  And yet…

I am Terrified. 

AND Excited.

From day to day the pendulum swings as to which of these two emotions I feel the most.  There are moments of euphoria then usually, at the least convenient of times, including during class, there are tears.  But one bonus of crying in a Hot Yoga class is I sweat so much that I guess no-one’s going to notice apart from me :)

I’m also at that certain point in my life when people wonder why I haven’t settled down with a husband and kids yet.  But strangely, I feel far younger and far happier now than I did ten or so years ago when I was always the first in and last out at the office and striving so, so hard to progress.  To be perfect.  I put so much of my identity and self-worth into what I did for a living to the point where I lost myself for a while, then couldn’t work out why I felt so miserable all the time. I became disillusioned and deeply cynical.  Not my natural state.

I am really grateful that I get to practise yoga.  For me it is a huge gift that I do not take for granted in the slightest.  I truly believe that this has helped to give me a better perspective.  At least now I notice if any old negative anxiety patterns are beginning to creep in (like mindless eating – “Where did that whole bag of almonds just go??) instead of blindly going into self-destruct mode.  I feel that through my practice I have gained awareness, enabling me to observe my behaviour, change it accordingly and be kinder to myself, even when I do slip up from time to time.  

I know this is a life-defining phase for me.  Not because of leaving my job or the age I happen to be when this set of circumstances has arisen, but because of how I feel about it.  It’s a gut-feeling and, to date, my gut has never been wrong. At every significant point in my life so far I have felt like this.  I’ve never known how to describe it without sounding all ‘woo-woo’ but I came across a post on zen habits (via @samdavidson) about ‘Joyfear’.  For me this sums up what I’ve been feeling so well.  Here Leo Babauta writes that every single defining moment of his life has been filled with Joyfear:

“Having only joy is great. Having only fear sucks. But having both … that’s life-defining.

Do not shy away from Joyfear. Seek it out. Recognize it when you happen upon it. Joyfear will change your life, and you’ll never forget the moment you find it.”

I know this is big change.  I am pretty sure it will delight me and test me and frighten the hell out of me.  I know I am probably going to have to ‘Woman Up’ in order to find the courage I feel I will need at times. But somehow, I think it will be okay. 

Bring on the Joyfear.

(Thanks to @zen_habits and @samdavidson for highlighting Leo Babauta’s ‘Joyfear’ post)