Monday’s words of the day

Words of the day? Fear. Anxiety.

Somehow I’ve let fear and anxiety grow and morph into something big and scary that makes my breathing shallow, my shoulders tight, and the middle of my chest feel permanently knotted. It’s affecting my concentration at home and at work, and it’s making life in general difficult. So that’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’m starting to take charge, in baby steps. I’m noticing the physical and emotional signs, in baby steps. I’m remembering again how it feels to step outside of the fear and look at it without judging it and without trying to make it go away, again in baby steps.

I’m starting to notice and even talk to the fear again, just a little at a time.

Sometimes I’m letting my own loving presence come to sit with me when I step outside the fear and begin to notice it from the outside. It’s not so scary when I just observe and not judge it. Fear is not so powerful when I don’t try to distract myself away from looking at it. It loses it’s grip on my body when I just observe it and breathe deeply without listening to its negative, seductive voice.

I’m starting to use music to find that inner loving presence. And to use deep breathing. I’m finding quotes to post around in my spaces at work and home to remind me of that loving presence. I’m also making myself a prayer shawl in just the right color and yarn to use to wrap myself in as a reminder that my loving presence is available.

I’m starting to remind myself that facing whatever is fearful takes the power of that fear away. Going through it to the other side is the one and only thing that helps to ease it. When I do get through the fear, I’m reminded that fear and anxiey don’t kill me. That I’m a strong woman who has conquered a whole lot of big things in my life. And that I can do it again, a little step at a time.

Today the following quotes are speaking just the right message to my inner, loving presence.

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.  ~Samuel Butler

Fear:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  ~Author Unknown

The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, 1833

Peace to you today.

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The “Others” Project

Natalie works on a prayer shawlMy daughter Natalie will have to plan and complete at least 3 hours of community service per academic quarter for one of her 8th grade teachers.  (Each of the student will complete 3 hours quarterly, not just Natalie.) The idea as I understand it is to think about ‘others’ in the community who have some sort of need and to do something to try to help.

After brainstorming lots of great ideas, Natalie decided that this quarter she would make two fleece prayer shawls (see below) and donate them to our church’s prayer shawl ministry. After working for at least 6 hours total (planning, shopping, washing, cutting, sewing) she decided that one shawl would be the final project for this quarter. (Luckily her teacher agreed.) The finished shawl is beautiful and will hopefully bring a child some joy and comfort.

 I sincerely hope that the quarterly “Others” projects help to foster community mindedness in Natalie and her classmates. There is so much need in the world, and all it takes is one person to notice and take action. Better yet, a whole bunch of people will notice and take action.

Prayer shawls are knit, crocheted, or sewn and given to people who need to know that a community of people are praying for them. Some people receive shawls to mark special events such as confirmations or graduations, and others receive shawls if they are ill or injured.  The most important thing about a prayer shawl is that the maker prays during the making. In our church, the shawls are blessed by the whole congregation before being given to a recipient. For more information, go to http://www.shawlministry.com/ .

Peace to you today