HOW TO REDUCE ANXIETY AND BUILD SELF-RELIANCE THROUGH MINIMALISM
It was a short walk today, an unintended walk that was more necessary than I realized. The weather is fair with late summer sun blinking through the changing leaves. I came out here to scout trailheads and clear my mind after a tense week in a time of year that's fraught with reminders of traumatic events. Our brains have a tendency to have annual reminders of emotional events.
I found myself sitting on a cliff quietly taking pictures of circling turkey vultures and picking out the little details from the view, red barns, scattered houses, little hills and bodies of water. Before I knew it nearly an hour had passed and I, sick with a head cold, felt somehow better. But why?
Our lives become orchestrated, a choreographed series of events all with the same sense of urgency. We maintain a certain haggard control over ourselves while focused outward, thinking about how much easier and less urgent things would be if the people around us could only change. We all express our anxiety differently, some shut down, others lash out, but it all starts in the same place, focusing on what we can't control. We quench our anxiety with can't and distract ourselves with stuff.
Back on the cliff, being circled by turkey vultures, I have no control. I am at the mercy of myself and the tools I've brought. I can control the vultures as much as I can control the weather. I can rely on no one but myself. I am out of control and in complete control. I am not thinking about what the world can do to me, only how I can act in it and react to it. I am calm and I need nothing. I am capable because I'm prepared and practiced. To get home I need my feet. To get out I need my eyes. To perform I need my brain. And that is all.
This calm brings with it a sense of perspective and clarity that we lose in our day to day. It becomes mired in deadlines, road rage, foul smells and bad politics. We, myself included, become so bogged down in the constant attempts to change others that we forget to change ourselves. We lash out and rage against those against us in an attempt to...what...change someone's mind by being the loudest? I'm guilty of it.
This is an opportunity, on these hills, in these woods, learning the art of self reliance in harsh weather and land with no trails. I am here conquering nothing and by doing so I'm conquering everything. Clarity and peace is here and I can see the forest through the trees.