Continued Wrestling with AnxietyBrain

I mentioned last week that I had to schedule a minor surgical procedure that I was super anxious about. I felt better as the week went on, but now that I’m three days away from the reality, I’m finding myself worked up again. So, rather than drive my partner nuts with my worrying and venting, I decided to take some time this afternoon to try to re-center and focus on minimizing the anxiety.

ace of stones, five of arrows, the archer

the ace of stones, the five of arrows, and the archer from the wildwood tarot, art © will worthington

The Ace of Stones is ancient, grounded, full of history. It stands tall and proud and strong. It’s been carved by human hands, a reminder that we have the power to bring about change in reality by dreaming it up and then carrying that dream forward into existence.

The five of arrows depicts and archer shooting wildly at a target, arrows flying haphazardly around and hitting nothing. It points out that unfocused energy will not only lead to frustration, but is a waste of valuable mental resources. This rings particularly true for me as a person who deals with anxiety pretty frequently as well as chronic pain, and therefore only has so many spoons to give.

The Archer is the polar opposite of the five of arrows. She is focused, skilled, and confident. She looses her arrows with purpose. The book that accompanies the deck points out that, “The key to a smooth and accurate release of the arrow is a steady and relaxed state, both physically and mentally.”

At first, I was pretty frustrated when I saw this spread, because it’s telling me things I already know – mostly that worrying is ultimately a waste of energy and that I need to focus in order to relax. But it brought in some other elements that I needed to be reminded of.

If I put positive energy out into the world, particularly about this surgery, chances are better that things will turn out okay. I cannot hope to go into this with any expectation of having any sort of power if I can’t approach from a place of calm. I need to take charge of what I can now – my mental state and my attitude, to the best of my ability – and let go of what I really can’t do anything about.

This isn’t new information, but then, that’s not generally why I turn to the tarot. I need to be more mindful of what’s happening when I let anxiety take the reins so that I can resist the temptation to hand them over. I need to be actively and consistently centering myself if I want to get better at managing this.

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On the Bright Side…

Yesterday, I wrote about struggling with an ending, a letting go that needs to happen.

This morning, despite the fact that I’d already spent some time on my daily single-card meditation, I felt compelled to pull out my Wild Unknown deck and ask for a word of encouragement. I shuffled, and laid out three cards, and as I looked down, I was reminded that, really, the bright side of endings is that it frees up new energy for beginnings.

ace of wands, the fool, and the sun

ace of wands, the fool, and the sun from the wild unknown tarot, © kim krans

I asked for encouragement, and encouragement I received.

The Ace of Wands from this deck is one of my favorite cards; I like it so much I recently got it tattooed on my forearm as part of a tarot triptych (alongside The Hermit and the Nine of Pentacles). It speaks to me of the unstoppable urge to create, of passion and energy and the desire to make beautiful new things come into the world. It speaks to the part of me that is a writer, and a knitter, and a musician, the part that can’t resist doodling or taking photos or dreaming up stories.

The Fool is a card that I only just realized this morning has been following me quietly around all week, too (see yesterday’s blog post for the other card that’s been haunting me). It whispers to my wanderlust, drawing me on to new adventures (even if they’re mostly taking place internally). The Fool steps off from the safety of their known environment and trusts the Universe to catch them if they stumble over the first few steps. There’s a trust there, and an openness, and a wonderful sense of limitless possibility in new beginnings.

The Sun is such a lovely card to top off this simple spread. It echoes the sentiments of energy and bright prospects, giving light and life to a world that’s been a little too given to gloomy weather lately. It’s all vitality and enlightenment and joy, and that’s exactly what I needed today.

I’m still struggling to let go, but I am feeling more confident as I realize that there is so much out there that I want to accomplish, and that I can only accomplish anything if I move forward. I’m reminded that life is what happens when you’re waiting for it to begin, that change is an inevitable part of our lives, and that there is great joy and peace to be had in letting yourself get swept up by it.