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.

Forest Bathing

At a conference,

head bursting with ideas.

Talks about nature and wellbeing,

beauty, emotions,

the benefit of mindful ‘forest bathing’,

the importance of nature connections.

Invigorating subjects

dried up by windowless rooms,

air conditioning,

artificial lighting

and too many strangers.

Break time and I escape

into a bookshop.

Funny how I always end up in one of these

when the urban world becomes too much.

My shoulders drop as I cross the threshold,

calm among wood

pulped and pressed into pages,

the ghosts of trees.

A forest of paper and words,

and silence.

I feel at home

I don’t read them, just soak in the cathedral-like atmosphere

and refrain from buying another expensive notebook.

I feel the benefit of a kind of forest bathing,

a tenuous connection to nature

until I can get back to the real thing.

Peace is always waiting

A rushing kind of a day

Deep within the demands of work

Deadlines loom

So I concentrate

Focus

Get things done

And forget myself

Now it’s evening and

I peel myself away from the TV

Put on some music

Slow down into

Familiar movements

An hour later

I re-emerge

Relaxed

Refreshed

Calm

Reawoken to the truth

That if I slow down

Underneath the rush

Below the fear, the fuss, the resistance

Peace is always waiting