Fresh herbs and jam from our lovely neighbours
After a very wet summer the West of Ireland has been blessed with a beautiful autumn, and this corner of the world has been showing its most photogenic face. The raspberry bushes in the garden are still heavy with fruit. We make baked apples from the yield of our trees. The kitchen is well-stocked, and we have been building fires with wood and turf given to us as house-warming (thanks Adrian!) gifts. People have been so kind and welcoming and generous. The abundance of all these gifts and of having everything we need fills me with gratitude, and I feel settled and secure in a way I haven't felt since my childhood . It also brings into stark relief how my anxiety manages to wrestle me out of the moment and the process and plunge me into all kinds of imagined dramas and scenarios.
Life has been good, more than good, on so many levels lately. And yet I fret and worry and regularly get into a panic (though thankfully very few actual panic attacks these days). I never trust it when things go well and am an expert in self-sabotaging my own happiness. Being busy has been beneficial because I simply haven't had time to navel-gaze, but it doesn't require a lot of time to get worked up and anxious about things as they happen (or seem to be happening or about to happen). During the summer I was convinced something terrible was around the corner because the irrational part of my brain told me I didn't deserve all the good things that came my way.
I banned the word 'stress' from my vocabulary in the belief it would make me feel less stressed, but I obviously have been using synonyms instead, with the same result. It bothers me how busyness is worn as a badge of honour by so many, yet I have been going around telling everyone how incredibly busy I have been. I have created priorities when there was no need and turned enjoyable things into stressfests (the 's' word again...), all of my own making. So my prescription for myself for the remaining months of this year is less doing, more making (using my hands to 'make', be it gardening, cooking or painting, is my 'drug' of choice at the moment. I haven't been for a run in weeks, and have touched the yoga mat only once or twice), and less worrying, more letting go.