Getting too caught up

Posted on March 19th, 2014

The other day my meditation teacher Tim introduced me to a young bloke over an impromptu lunch. I was not in the mood for meeting someone new, to be frank. I was thyroidy and scratchy and couldn’t deal with the “So, what do you do?” palaver (a conversation pivot point that always makes my eyes glaze over). But something piqued me to show up.

Image via Dangerous But Sweet Tumblr

Image via Dangerous But Sweet Tumblr

Turns out this young bloke (my goodness, I am sounding old) – Sebastian Terry – and I hung back and chatted for some time after Tim left. We’d got onto the “So, why do you do what you do?” train of chatting (a thoroughly meaty one).

Seb’s response was wonderfully naive and authentic: “To prioritise happiness”. Usually such facile answers annoy me. So do “bucket lists”, which is what Seb went on to develop. (After the death of a close friend when he was 27 he was forced to ask ‘Am I happy?’. The answer was no and so wrote a list of 100 Things – most of which are geared at helping others – that he’s systematically worked through over the past four years, relaying the experience in the book 100 Things and in a Discovery Networks documentary. So far he’s married a stranger in Vegas, helped push a man in a wheelchair for a half marathon and run with the bulls.)

But Seb was convincing. He spoke about how, since his massive success, he gets emails constantly asking him to explain the secret to his success and following. “I tell them I simply put happiness first,” he says. “But sometimes people don’t get it. They go and build a shiny website, and do a big launch, and try to do the same thing as me and expect it all to fall into place. But they’re too caught up.”

All this happened on the day I Quit Sugar For Life came out. I was stressed to buggery from some major publisher hiccups (long story) and, earlier in the day, I’d snapped at someone in an email. I’d been feeling very off kilter for weeks, actually, like I was Read more

Anxiety in your bones today? Here’s the practical fix

Posted on February 12th, 2014

I feel compelled to share when I’m anxious. Or, more to the point, I feel compelled to share when I find a pithy solution that might just help others orbiting the same tetchy vibe in the Zeitgeist.

Image via Favim

Image via Favim

And even more to the point, I know that when I do share (from on tetchy high) so many readers on this site cry out saying they’re feeling the same way. And I reckon just this sense of commonality, of knowing you’re no Robinson Crusoe in the orbit, of feeling that “you’re seen” in some way, that there’s a special synchronicity to it all, helps us all. (The reader comments that follow the posts do this for me; call this a comment-bait post, if you like!)

A lot of people are feeling anxious this week. There’s a reason for this, and a fix, which I’ll get to in a moment.

For me, my current anxiety, which is causing me to not think straight and to have a permanent flutteriness in my solar plexus, is not pegged to any particular stressor. There’s no ostensible, external reason as such. Nope, it’s an anxiety that’s in my bones. I’m anxious at a cellular level, almost independent of my head and point-a-finger-at-it circumstances.

This is a really clear distinction to make. Why? Because we can get straight on with fixing – or easing – it. The fix isn’t dependent on external ducks that we have to get lined up. We don’t have to sit in our tedious tetchy orbit waiting for the meeting with our boss to address our work frustrations, or for the week to go by before we can make a credible ultimatum to our partners, or for the noisy neighbour upstairs to sort out their renovation plans before deciding whether it’s time to move out and finally get some sleep. We can cut to the practical fix and ease our cellular pain. Now. What a bloody relief.

So why are we anxious just now?

Vata is out of whack. Which, I know, sounds a bit whacko. I’ve shared about the very grounded and ancient ayurvedic approach to wellness before which works to three types (vata, pitta, kapha). And how we all have a dominant type. And how the vata type is notoriously anxious (I’m Read more

what you’re craving is much closer

Posted on December 19th, 2013

Last weekend I got super antsy. It was a classic Single-When-All-Your-Friends-Are-Ensconced-In-Relationships scenario: I’d rung around everyone I knew, trying to fill out my weekend with activity…and everyone was busy…with husbands and kids and family barbeques and trips to Bunnings. Or whatever. And I felt abandoned. Then I felt like a loser for caring.

Image via

Image via

And so on it spiraled.

I work hard to not be a whining single. I largely find single life pretty ace. But something in me was craving intimacy and company. I was needy and the planet could smell it. A Sunday night buddy. I just want someone to watch a DVD on the couch with! Is this asking too much??!!

And, as my antsyiness descended: If I didn’t call my mates to organise catching up and connecting, would anyone call me? If I died…would anyone notice? How long would it take to find my corpse? If a single falls in the forest and no one is around to care, do they make a sound?

Sunday morning, however, I got a grip, got on a train up north and did one of my bush excursions. Fling yourself into bush. Climb a tree. I once had this edict taped to the back of my bedroom door for just such antsy moments.

Life was against me, however. The Northern line was undergoing work, so it took me four trains and a bus to get to the starting point. I’d eaten too much for breakfast and felt heavy. The weather turned. I could’ve given up. But I persevered.

Finally, two hours later with rain imminent, I entered the bush, not a soul in sight. Within minutes my whole energy shifted. I unfurled. I came back home to myself.

And I realized this: I hadn’t been craving other people. I’d been craving me. My little Silly Season-frazzled soul wanted to be taken care of by… me. It wanted to be carted off into the bush, where it feels most at home in the world, for some free thinking and the rhythmic caressing of provided by walking. Read more