It was four years ago I last heard the crunching beneath My feet and the abrasive chill of winter on My face.
I stood for moment in the darkness of evening and listened to the silence.
Not a car.
Not a footstep.
No birds singing.
Not even a whisper of wind.
I inhaled deeply, the frosty winter air filling my chest with a burst of life. I exhaled all thoughts and stood motionless with the silence inside Me and around Me. I don’t remember a time where I could walk in the evening and hear such silence.
I love moments like these. Simple experiences where I choose to remember the miracle of life. The miracle that I exist within a body, experiencing the environment around Me, it fills Me with wonder and gratitude.
It’s been four years since My world was gifted with the beauty of snow. The colour of everything turned brilliant white. It has a pureness to it that lights even a dark evening.
A reminder that where there is light, there can be no darkness.
As I walked around the block, I remembered what it was like as a child waking up to the world covered in a blanket of white. How much I looked forward to a snow day. I thought of the excitement of kids up and down the country as they wake tomorrow to the snow. The thought of their delight reminds Me of My own when it snowed like this.
I wondered why the joy seems so distant to many of Us. Have We forgotten how to enjoy Ourselves, or does it make sense to see it as an inconvenience, getting in the way of a job not enjoyed?..
Given the choice, I know what I want My life to be filled with, and since the choice IS mine and since the universe is giving Me this experience anyway, I may as well find ways to enjoy it.
I let the thoughts go again and allow Myself to appreciate something I have not experienced for so long, again I listen to the silence, I breath in the freshness of the crisp air. Every time I do this, I remember what I am…
…Consciousness inside a human body, experiencing this world through the senses of the body. Again I breath in gratitude for life and it fills Me with simple pleasure.
I walk with this state of presence for a few minutes until I see a Man shovelling salt from the big yellow grit buckets on the pathways.
He was gritting the road for other People, it made Me feel warm inside to see a simple act of kindness… and then I felt anxiety.
My heart began to beat a little harder and faster, My instinct was to get away, leave, keep walking. But I felt Myself battle with the instinct.
I stopped. I wanted to confront My anxiety, I wanted to confront My fears. So instead, I allowed Myself a second to feel it. I observed the knotty feeling in My stomach and then turned My attention to My thoughts.
I had the desire to ask if I could take a photo for this blog, but for some reason feared He would refuse angrily for one reason or another; something to do with an experience in the past.
An old memory of being rejected in this way before, it felt familiar but I’ve learned that one or two experiences are not enough to know what an outcome will be and that the outcome isn’t necessarily important.
I asked Myself if what I want to do aligns with My belief of spreading kindness. I asked Myself if it really mattered what happened. And finally, I asked Myself, is this what I really want to do.
“Yes, I do want to ask for a photo.” If I backed down and gave in to the fear I would regret it. So I walked over to Him.
“Hi. I’m writing about life and the good things I see People doing, would You mind if I take a photo for My article?”
“Sure, would you like Me to pose?”
“Thanks, no it’s cool, just keep doing what You’re doing and I’ll capture something natural.”
All that worry and fear and in the end I felt good. I offered the Man a compliment which I’m sure was well received. The fear and worry was gone, it was irrelevant now.
Back indoors and warming up.
I noticed I felt great. I observed My thoughts.
A few months ago they would have been very different. They would have been tough on Me for having fear, tough on Me for not being fully confident when talking to the Guy and would have compared Me to where I want to be.
But today was different, without even thinking about what I was doing, I noticed My thoughts were congratulating Myself for facing a fear, they were positive, they were supportive and they compared Me to how far I’ve come on My journey.
When I replayed the event over in My mind, it wasn’t anxiety this time, it was excitement.
It felt like a turning point, I accepted that I still had moments where I felt anxiety. I accepted that it would take time to overcome. I stopped comparing Myself to those who had completely overcome it and I stopped beating Myself up for not being fully anxiety free one hundred percent of the time.
I allowed Myself time. As long as I keep taking steps I am moving in the right direction. I know I can do it. I’ve done it enough times to know what will happen when I face my fear.
I know I will feel excited, and I will congratulate Myself afterward, either for the outcome I wanted, or for choosing to step into My Power.
And I acknowledge that experiencing anxiety on occasion does not make Me an anxious Person, especially when I choose to face it.
Instead, I see the anxious Ashley is long in the past, I see that I am confident for facing a fear, My ability in the situation does not mean I am confident or not. I am confident that I can face My fears and learn. Therefore I am confident and I will become more competent at what I want to achieve.
I very nearly stayed in this evening, as I hadn’t been feeling My best, but I wanted the fresh air and as a result I experienced stillness again, anytime I experience it I feel amazing. I also acted in the face of anxiety.
So My hope for this article is that it serves as a reminder to appreciate the gift of life often, to see in simple moments the beauty of life that We know as a Kid, and need to remember as an Adult.
And to know that it doesn’t matter what causes anxiety in Your life, the only thing that matters is that if it’s something You want, You take action. If You don’t take action, forgive Yourself. When You take action, congratulate Yourself.
Remember, be kind to Others and Yourself.
Stay safe, stay warm, help those on the streets suffering in the cold.
Peace, Love and Strength…