Curiously, my anxiety has increased recently, even as I have increased my practice and awareness. I feel as though my mind is on some sort of anxiety-producing auto-pilot and it has taken over my body. I find my heart racing and my breathing shallow as my diaphragm constricts inward like a band around my chest. This physical awareness has its benefits as it draws me immediately inward to the sensations in my body and I start taking deep, slow breaths. This increase in awareness has led to to research the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction techniques to complement the practices I am currently doing in pranayama and QiGong. I know that the anxiety is directly related to performance-based fear surrounding school: feelings of inadequacy, not doing enough, feelings of lack of competence due to peer-comparison, and self-criticism. There has also been the fear surrounding my health and depleted energy levels and how this has affected my Being overall and my Being at school; will I recover or is this forever? I am learning that the conditions are "not forever" and are part of ebb and flow of life and life-span.
In self-studies of Taoism, awareness, ontology, TCM, energy, archetypes, acupuncture, and the like, I am once again reviewing my Life Intention and Direction. I am learning to change my perspective from "achieve now" to more of a long-term outlook...
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I suppose I've glanced at mortality through all of this. I glanced and commented on Death's funny hat, and Death proceeded to slap me in the face for my audacity. Now, I have turned my sidelong glance to full-frontal stare into the face of my own mortality. With this reckoning, I have come to see that yes, I can still do all of the crazy things I love to do in life (surf, thru-hike, ride motorcycles, live all over the world, climb, SCUBA... they may just need to be done slower, at a softer pace, and with more rest afterward. I thought I was sentenced to a life of sedentary boredom and no joy ever in sight again--a crippled life. I realize this is one of LIfe's phases and Death's Artifice (much too early, might I add). I can, once again, see myself stronger and healthy, and climbing walls and cliffs. Perhaps I won't add a 20-bike ride to multiple climbs, and that's okay. At least I know that I will be back on my bike and back to climbing again at some point!
The joke is on you Death! I've face you and your silly hat before! You've visited me in two different hospitals and in the Dark Times where I longed for you. You waved your Shiny, Black Scythe from your Brilliant, Black Steed as I dragged myself up --again and again-- for air amidst the 12-footers in Panama. I'm sure you've laughed numerous times as you've turned the egg-timer over once again, setting the sands at start, my name disappearing from your Book...
Enough discursive drama re-hashing...
I am thus changing my perspective to an overarching direction that I seek for each area of my Intertwining Wheel of Contentment, and defining Concordant Experiences and Physical Contexts for each Intentional Goal. I maintain the six aspects of contentment that interconnect to bring fulfillment to my life: Health, Security, Hygge, Creativity, Connection/Love, and Passé Temps, but now I shift to how these will look over the course of my Life Span in decades up to 50 additional years. I am looking at these with the dedicated magnification of electron-microscopic intention! I see how they need to flux and flex with life.
While those areas on my Wheel of Contentment help me set goals, define activities, and create experiences between my emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual life, I still have a few Grand Goals -- Burning Desires Within My Self -- that I plan to accomplish over my Life Span:
- Long-distance Thru-Hikes
- Learning to surf
- Mastering all the practices/levels of Taoism (includes path of Self-Awareness and Self-Actualization)
- Becoming fluent in Korean language
- Continuing professional development/degree work in Education
- Continuuing my path toward teaching/mentoring excellence
- Attaining a Master's and PhD in Philosophy or Physics
I am grateful to learn continually, to have knowledge and teachers present, and to be open to change and self-awareness! I'm grateful to be ME!