Anxiety’s Antidote

If we have any self-awareness, we can easily identify feelings of uncertainty in our future vision from time to time. Especially today.

Fires ravaging the entire state of Montana, Hurricane Harvey drowning Texas while Irma pounds the Caribbean – and while all of this rages on, Mexico lands an 8.5 earthquake. It makes one start to wonder what will be next…(I’ll leave the political scene untouched here).

We can find ourselves pondering the future within the context of a wide variety of life circumstance. Some of our pondering will lead us to anticipation, while others will lead us to a state of underlying anxiety; where we have an “off-sense” of disturbance in our spirit.

Anxiety is generally described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. No matter what the past has been – the future will aways and forever bring a significant degree of uncertainty with it. We can plan, but we cannot control.

Global disaster or vocational path, anxiety can come at us form many angles. I feel for my favourite closer on my Blue Jays pitching staff. Roberto Osuna has been a sure bet over the past two years. He even made this year’s all star nomination – but has been performing poorly enough since to have the media pondering how long the Jays will keep him around.

Reminds me of a coffee conversation that I had several years ago with a music producer in Nashville. He told me that I would not believe how many of the current stars were anxiety ridden over the prospect of not being able to follow up their last hit. Just like in the major leagues or top 40 charts, you can be a top performing employee or leader in the past, and still have people asking, “what have you done for me lately?”

Maybe you feel this same question deep within yourself. As I worked through my last post, Validation Vortex, I came to discover that I receive a sense of validation from the “likes” people send related to my posts. I note s similar sense of validation from the work that I do. But, the work has to give me a sense of productivity within a meaningful purpose, or its just work. If I look forward and sense a lack of challenge, I simultaneously begin to sense an underlying disturbance in my spirit.

Maybe you are looking at the work you do and wondering if you will be the next one to receive a “pink slip”, as your organization seeks to stay alive by cutting back expenses. The list of scenarios goes on and on…

What stabilizes you as you look to the future?

I wrestle with this frequently, but always come back to the same foundational thoughts – and write this hoping that I will always do so in the future. Here is a basic outline of these thoughts:

  1. I had nothing to do with the creation of my life.
    Think back to the origin of our life. Did you plan it? Did you ask for the particular family you were born into. Did you select your physical aesthetics, foundational abilities or even the geographic region of your birth?
  2. The phone rings, and everything changes.
    I cannot control my future; everything must be held loosely. Disaster never arrives when expected. My father had his life altered at age 42 and my mother passed from this life suddenly of heart failure at 37. I would bet that both expected to be doing something the next day.
  3. True wealth is discretionary time, and time consists of moments – be present in them.
    Life is not about having more or less, and living is hampered by both regret of the past and fear of the future. When I find myself living in the past or the future, I try to remind myself that I am not experiencing the moment. Experiencing a moment is not thinking about the philosophy of experiencing the moment, but rather it is capturing the sight, sounds, feelings, smells, words, heart and more. If the moments go by unexperienced, have I ever really lived at all?
  4. All is grace.
    From the origins of my life, and through each and every breath, I am sustained, and it is an act of grace. I don’t deserve life at all, and I hold no right to it. It is thoughtfully crafted, and it arrives as a gift. Behind the craft is a Creator who holds all things together. Who am I to judge any experience within it as either good or bad – with my limited perspective.

I am not always excellent in my practice of living on these foundational truths. My heart often betrays me in depression – and yet truth is what it is – As long as truth stands, I have a reason for hope – and all of this serves to be anxiety’s antidote.

This is a longer post, but I’d like to share a creative piece that I worked out over the past year: Gracenote


A Gracenote is an authentic embellishment with the freedom to BE…without responsibility for the whole.

The whole of the universe exists as one song; the original creation of the Composer from alpha to omega. The orchestration of this universe is vast diversity; transcendent, yet inextricably connected, each part bound to trust.

Harmony swells to crescendo as each solitary voice merges; heeding the key note, the root.

Diverse in unity; provocative textures, breath strings, courageous, tantalizing and intimate.

Within this multidimensional tapestry, enters the gracenote. It is of seemingly muted significance; brief and delicate, yet intentional as ornamental addition.

The Gracenote never stands alone, but is rather always connected to another as acciaccatura; an affective dissonance; beauty as purposed imperfection with freedom though grace.