Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fasting from vigilance

For the last 10 days, I've been fasting from vigilance. As a chronically anxious child and adult, I've honed vigilance into a fine art: always watching to see if everyone is okay and if they aren't, what I can do to fix that. Being conscious of noises and other changes in my home and my car. Unconsciously sniffing the air for smoke or dangerous chemical smells. Constantly monitoring my body for errant symptoms of impending disaster. It's an exhausting way to live and drinking helped mitigate it a lot. So does eating.

So as I move into a different relationship with anxiety--acceptance, compassion, kindness--so too do I want a different relationship with the Watcher. (I have to admit that the more of these parts of myself that I can label, the more I begin to feel like Sybil.) And this past week, I've given myself permission to not be so vigilant.

I've not monitored every item for recycle or trash. I've napped in the afternoon with the door open and just the screen latched. I've taken time off from my work responsibilities and not apologized for it. When my housekeeper couldn't come on her appointed day, I didn't obsess about it or clean the house myself and resent her. I just wiped down the bathroom and left the carpets hairy. And, most importantly, I haven't paid all that much attention to what and how much I've been eating.

That may not be exactly true. I have consciously included fruits and vegetables in my meals. I've consciously said no to some extra helpings but it hasn't been from a punitive place or even from a place of any curiosity. It's just been a quick thought without a lot of inner conversation. That's actually what I want relief from: the low-level anxiety and the inner conversations that brings up.

1 comment:

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

I've been having an ongoing conversation around this issue in my circles of friends. Thank you for shining some light on a new path through sharing your experience.

hugs