Erasing the Clock

So my alarm didn’t go off this morning. Turns out my clock was two hours slow. My digital clock, mind you. How exactly does a digital clock, plugged in with a battery backup, end up two hours slow? My only thought is that I must have been attempting to set the alarm or something and accidentally changed the time instead. But The two are completely separate functions on this clock. So perhaps, it was actually the universe telling me that I wasn’t meant to wake up at 6am when I had meant to.

Why did I want to get up at 6 when I had gone to bed at 1am? Tai Chi of course! I have my weekly class at 9am on Saturdays. And my morning routine takes at least an hour and a half if I do it the way I like, so I wanted to have as much time as I needed.

But because of my clock, I “overslept”. So instead of being able to leisurely go through my routine, I woke up at 8am (thanks to my uncle who came down and woke me) and threw on some clothes and raced upstairs. I started preparing to do my nebulizer treatments, and realized I probably wouldn’t have time.

I started to get anxious and was trying to figure out what I did and didn’t have time for.

I was honestly beginning to get quite flustered. I would have like to have just skipped the treatment this morning, but I couldn’t. Not just because of the commitment that I have made, but also because I wake up with my lungs full of gunk and my airways closed up. I need these meds to counteract that. I need them to open my airways, help me cough out all that junk and kill the bacteria that’s hanging out down there in my lungs. But I really didn’t have time.

And because of that I was actually beginning to freak out.

Here is the second part of the picture: I hate being late. I dislike it so much that I almost always arrive early, especially to something like a class. So there was no way I was going to settle for leaving at 10 till and arriving five minutes late. No, I was going to be there five minutes early or right at 9, or not at all.

This neurosis has caused me problems in the past because I used it as a justification for just not showing up somewhere at all. If I had a class that started at 1pm and went till 2pm and it was already 1:05, I would tell myself, “by the time you get there it will be almost 1:30 and half the class will be gone plus your instructor will be angry with you and you might as well just not go and then you can say you were sick and you won’t get into trouble”.

You can see how that could become a problem…

So this morning. So I was sitting in my chair in the living room and trying to decide how to budget the 40 minutes I had before I needed to leave. Usually my first part of the treatment takes about 40 minutes itself and comprises two different inhaled medications. So I decided I would just do one of them, the most important and quickest acting one that immediately opens up my airways and helps me breathe. But I decided NOT to skip the others. Instead, I decided I could do them when I got back from Tai Chi.

Then I drank a protein shake made with fresh fruit and veggies with some all natural, raw, vegan protein powder. (I’ll bet that sounds tasty, huh? Haha)

Then I got myself dressed and ready to go.

And instead of being an anxious wreck right before Tai Chi, I was able to be settled and unhurried as I got into the car with my uncle and we drove to downtown Lake Oswego.

I have, in the past, always been an impatient, anxious, and easily disturbed person. I have so often gotten frantic when something happened to throw me off my game. But this morning, when I consciously chose to utilize my time appropriately and prioritize what needed to be done right that moment and what could be done a little later in the day, I ended up feeling so much calmer and the energy flowing through my body was able to circulate smoothly without running into the blockages of anxiety that I was beginning to set up.

Now, I had to use this again later today. Or rather, this evening. It was my aunt Laura’s 70th birthday. She doesn’t seem a day over 45 to me. But the older I get the worse I seem to get at judging the ages of others. I think I just don’t really pay much attention to that anymore.

Anyway, we had a whole family gathering for everyone who could make it at a restaurant in the Pearl District called Seres  which served wonderful organic Chinese cuisine. And of course the preparations here at home took a major portion of the afternoon. And at the restaurant at first it was a bit noisy and we were disorganized and people weren’t hearing each other and I started to get anxious again. There had been so much activity and noise and motion since the moment that I had woken up that by the time I was seated in the restaurant I was experiencing some sensory overload.

Here’s where the things I have been working on come into play. In this situation I couldn’t just choose to prioritize or change my environment in order to alleviate the anxiety. I needed to stay where I was and participate in my family gathering. But the anxiety was on the verge of preventing me from doing so the way I wanted to.

So I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths. I pictured a deep, cool lake in the center of my being. I watched as its glass-smooth surface reflected the mountains and tall pines around it and as a few small birds flitted by overhead. I pictured the lake filling my body. I felt the cool and the stillness begin to move up through my feet, engulfing first my legs, then my belly, then my chest, and finally overflowing until it became a radiant white light that spilled out and spread to touch the people around me.

I stopped, because I felt calm again.

I felt like I could stand in front of an oncoming train and not get worried. Wow. Even as I write this I have to say I am so incredibly amazed at the power of my being to connect with the energy of the universe.

Visualizing a new reality and allowing myself to truly FEEL what it is like to embody this new reality – well, lets just say I am only just beginning to discover how this can work and exposing this untapped reservoir of energy….Who knows where this will take me and how.

But I know that no matter what, if I am mindful of myself and the state of my spirit, mind, and body….If I continue to practice making use of the energy that connects me to all things…and if I keep developing my love, compassion, and gratitude for the other living beings around me: I know that my life will continue to become more and more like that glass-smooth lake in a peaceful valley on a pristine mountain.

Thanks for reading tonight. I am exhausted from my late night last night, my early morning, and long day. I wish you all a restful sleep and a peaceful awakening tomorrow morning.




4 responses to “Erasing the Clock

  1. Beautiful, touching.

  2. Glad to see you’ve come up with some strategies to overcome your anxiety, that’s tremendous. Good work Nate D-O-GG.

    • QuietMonolith

      Hey! So happy you’re reading this man. Thanks for the support. Wish I would have thought of some of this stuff way back at 2620 York St.
      Look forward to catching up with you soon.

  3. Hi Nathan, It is Aunt Laura here. WOW … I sat across from you at the birthday dinner last night and had no idea that you were dealing with anxiety. Glad to know that you took action and that the action you took calmed you. Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. I also HATE being late. I find that it happens more regularly that I would like to have happen. It is an area of my life that has been difficult for me for a long time. It seems that I figure I can accomplish one more task before I need to head out the door. Well … I will continue to work toward being ON TIME. Let’s continue our discussion on the topic. Love you!

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