We all have to start somewhere, right? So here’s my beginning. And this is how I’m feeling about it:
I’m as nervous starting this blog/website as I was on my first day of school every single year. Except back then I would throw up. I don’t think I’m going to do that now.
Why am I so nervous? For the same reasons every blogger/writer frets about:
1- No one will read my blog
2- Those who do will think it sucks
3- No one will read my blog
These three (ok, two) are part of the 99 problems I have as I hurl myself out in the social media realm again. I’m a chronic worrier and am desperate to break out of this agonizing pattern of worst-case-scenario’ing everything. But those two problems above–they’re not part of the 86 made up ones. They’re real. And I have to deal with them.
I know most people didn’t like Will and Jaden Smith’s After Earth, directed by M.Night Shyamalan (at least according to reviews), but for this girl who hyperventilates pondering the future, the phrase “take a knee” spoke to me.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, Will’s character Cypher Raige doesn’t feel any fear. None. Period. No matter what happens. Unfortunately that makes for a pretty dry character for those of us watching the movie, but for Cypher’s son Kitai (Jaden Smith) it’s something to emulate. Cypher teaches this skill to Kitai by telling him to “take a knee,” which basically means “chill the f**k out.”
So Kitai does, literally…
And then he wills himself to focus on only “that which exists in the present moment–sight, sound, and smell.” Basically his dad tells him to pay attention to all his jazzed up senses instead of the loop of impending doom running on repeat through his mind.
The whole point of “taking a knee” is to stop ourselves from feeling fear. Here’s how Cypher breaks it down:
Fear is not real.
The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future.
It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist.
That is near insanity.
Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.
We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.
Now, I’ve read some stuff online that says this is a blatant Scientology tenet. I don’t know because I don’t study Scientology. I don’t really study any religion, but that’s not the point.
The point is, this works for me like nothing else ever has–that includes medication, therapy, relaxation techniques, alcohol, popping bubble wrap, etc.
Night is the worst, just before I fall asleep (although, according to my husband, this period seems to last as long as a flick of a frog’s tongue). I can easily take a mouse turd of a thought and turn it into the Mount Everest of elephant dung. So when my mind gets going like that, I tell myself to “take a knee” and pay attention to the sight, sounds and smells around me. Here’s what I usually come up with:
Sight: Not much because it’s dark.
Sound: Not much because I wear ear plugs (I’m a light sleeper and my husband snores).
Smell: Not much because my nose is usually stuffy when I lie down.
So how can this possibly work for me, you ask? I just call on another sense: touch.
I feel the smooth sheets under and over my skin.
I feel the warmth of the down comforter (in the winter).
I feel the cool breeze from the open windows (in the spring/summer and on a couple of random days in winter) blowing on my back and through my hair.
I feel my husband breathing as I lay my hand on his chest/shoulder.
I feel my stubbly legs rubbing against each other (usually in the winter…you girls know what I’m talking about).
And when I feel all that tangible stuff, I stop feeling the fear that exists in the future and only in my mind. You know–all that stuff that’s not real.
So try it. Take a knee and tell yourself a different story. It’s on me.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve feared or fretted over? What techniques have you used to talk yourself off your Mount Everest of elephant dung? Scroll on down the page and share your thoughts…I’m listening.