I really should be working

The sun streams onto my desk

distracting me with an open invitation.

I wander outside into the crisp

freshness of September

(I really should be working)

air cool, sun warm,

what a delicious combination.

I stroll, and admire the flowers.

This year’s robins practice their trills

and chase each other around the garden

(I should be working, really)

Dewy cobwebs sparkle.

The Chinese lanterns glow

like orange setting suns.

(Should I really be working?)

I have all the time in the world

to work,

long years of it left,

but this one moment of early autumn,

this particular combination of weather

and flowers and birdsong

will never happen again in

exactly the same way.

So I savour it.

Into the darkness

September, and

the nights are drawing in.

Long summer evenings seem

a distant memory.

In the house,

once the lights go on

the world outside seems

so dark,

so uninviting.

But it’s still there,

still waiting.

Tonight, I venture out,

stumbling until my eyes

grow accustomed to

shades of darkness.

A glow in the west

from the sun, long set,

faintly illuminating

a pale mackeral sky.

Clouds like ripples in sand,

and behind them

faint twinkling stars

guiding me to the north

and the beauty of the night

We will pay for it later

‘Isn’t this hot weather amazing’ I say.

‘We will pay for it later’ you reply,

as if nothing good can happen

without a bill being presented.

Sunshine now

means suffering ahead.

But what about all the storms

we’ve already weathered?

Don’t they count,

like money in the bank?

I am taking this hot summer,

banking little pieces of

happiness, scents and sounds.

Memories to unfold later,

to be viewed through the glasses of age,

rose tinted or otherwise.

I will save up some of these rays

and let them warm my future self.

I will not live my life in debt,

with good times bought on credit.

Instead I will believe

that I deserve happiness now.

The geography of anxiety

We think we know the ‘why’ of anxiety,

Spiralling up from all those things we fear;

pressure; external and internal,

death, deadlines, illness, perfectionism,

unemployment, failure.

So many ‘whys’

But what about the ‘where’?

Where is it?

The geography of anxiety is within the body.

Our bodies become shaped for anxious feeling,

the hunch of a shoulder,

the jutting forward of a chin,

the clenching of a jaw,

the tightness of a belly,

the holding of a ribcage,

like contours on a map.

Anxiety roams this bodyscape,

energy in a landscape of tension.

It lives below awareness,

coming to the surface occasionally

like a fish, silently swimming, unobserved,

leaping suddenly to catch a mayfly.

We hold our bodies in preparation for an unwelcome guest,

trapping it’s energy within.

Not allowing the natural progression of emotion and energy

to ebb and flow and dissipate.

We hold ourselves tight within our armoured castles

in the mistaken belief that we are protecting ourselves,

until the anxiety spills out without a reason

in quiet moments and times that should be happy,

and we feel out of control,

scared of being scared.

Next time the storm arrives, let’s watch it, feel it

let it be the map.

Let it guide us to our tensions,

sherpa-like.

Focus on those sensations and they will pass.

Not easy, when caught in a whirlwind of worries,

and dread.

But worth it.

And eventually, over a lifetime maybe,

relax so the inner landscapes are so calm,

that anxiety can flow straight through

like a river of energy,

leaving us unperturbed.