“And the heart of the journey,
the heart of our own awakening,
is to discover for ourselves
that the leaves are not the ground,
and that sweeping them aside will reveal a path,
and finally, that to fully live,
we must take the path and keep sweeping it.”
From “Being Here” by Mark Nepo from The Way Under The Way
Anxiety does a good job of disconnecting you from yourself and from your feelings and emotions.
Even when you know there’s nothing to be afraid of, it ignores you and continues on with its own program of emotional intimidation.
It overcomes you and changes your perception of reality.
It makes you believe that the leaves are the ground.
Resist what its telling you and anxiety will pound on you and hound you until all your energy is tied up in just trying to deal with it.
Yet, if you begin taking moments for yourself and connecting with yourself, then you begin taking back the energy and power it stole from you.
This is what the Make a Space practice helps you do.
This blog is about what happens when you reach the stage of your Make a Space practice where you can get connected with the symbols that can help you outsmart your anxiety.
Symbols Are a Universal Language
When you dream, you dream in symbols. They are the only language your subconscious mind has with which to communicate with you.
Symbols are universal, cultural and personal.
Universal symbols are those shared by all people regardless of their culture. Carl Jung described those symbols as being in the collective unconsciousness of human beings.
Though many cultures may share symbols, interpretation of them vary from group to group.
Personal symbols can be both universally and culturally familiar, yet they’re ones that resonate and have special meaning to you.
Humans are visual creatures which is why our original language is pictures. Reading and language are both constructs and something that you have to learn.
Yet even language paints pictures that you can relate to.
Checking In With What Grabs Your Attention
Even though symbols are the language of your dreams, your mind is also going to communicate with symbols while you’re wide awake.
It does so either visually by catching your attention with a picture, or with words like the ones in the poem above.
And it does so in unexpected ways.
That poem by Mark Nepo arrived in an email advertising his book.
He could have picked any poem out of two hundred to share, but he chose that one.
It resonated with me.
I used the Make a Space technique so I could listen more closely for what it had to say to me.
The initial impact it had on me deepened.
I realized that the imagery of the poem provided a symbolism that would be useful in dealing with the new challenges I have with anxiety.
Symbols can inspire and sustain you, and what I found in this poem was the inspiration for this post.
Little did I know that the symbolism in the poem would also teach me a lesson.
Intention Does Not Equal Outcome
My intent for this post was simply to share the poem, equate it to how sweeping leaves equates to outsmarting anxiety, and help you use the Make a Space technique to begin finding inspiration in your life.
Then my anxiety got in the way and took the post off track . . . several times during the week and even today.
By the time the notice of this blog reaches peoples’ email boxes, I will have barely made my goal of having it done for this week.
But that only happened because I said to hell with what I was writing and walked away to get something to eat.
As I was biting into a bit of cheese, it hit me.
What I needed to do was to sweep away the leaves of everything that was getting in the way of what I was really trying to say.
What I wanted to say was very simple, but my anxiety said it wasn’t enough.
My anxiety said it had to be more. It had to be better, deeper, wiser, more beneficial for you.
For this blog to be good, I had to do more to make it more.
My anxiety told me that my small experience wasn’t enough.
That I wasn’t enough.
Anxiety Lies and Hides Your Truth
I faced the same conflict with last week’s blog though I didn’t see it for what it was.
This week I was able to see the lies anxiety was telling me for what they were.
The symbolism in Noah’s poem helped me to do that.
You have many truths that are hidden beneath the leaves on your path.
The truth that I had to uncover was: I am enough.
What I do or don’t do won’t change that simple, basic human quality.
In fact, I’m guessing that the realization that I’m enough just as I am will actually enable me to do more.
That’s because I won’t be struggling to produce what doesn’t need to be done.
So this is my advice:
When something catches your attention, Make a Space for it.
Listen deeply to what its symbolism says to you.
Reflect on the symbolism often and think about what it means in your life and the perspective it gives you on your anxiety.
Be open as I had to be to how it can help you identify anxiety’s lies so you can sweep them away.
Sometimes a symbol will stop resonating with you after its helped you accomplish what you needed to do.
Not to worry, when you’re ready for the next opportunity to outsmart your anxiety, there will something that will catch you attention.
Just Make a Space for it.
All the best,