Sunday, January 18, 2009

the other side of anxiety

At the moment, I'm reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Basic concept: super successful people get that way by more than just talent/intellect. It's a combination of luck, circumstances, when they were born as it relates to what's going on in society. AND, 10,000 hours of time dedicated. That's 10 years of work toward creating an expertise.

Mix that with Jill Bolte Taylor's powerful story (tp:// about her experience of her stroke. As a brain scientist, she had logical insight as to what exactly was physically happening. Her explanation of how the brain works, the in-the-moment creativity and wholeness of the right hemisphere, the living in the future and past, list-making, plotting and planning of the left hemisphere made brain mechanics crystal clear.

I sat, wondering what I've done for 10,000 hours that I could be considered an expert at. Parenting? It's been 10+ years (just) but I'm no expert—I scramble every day. Graphic design? It's been that long but that's more something I was born with. I don't slave away at it hour after hour.

And then it came to me. ANXIETY. Yup. That's my field of expertise. Anxiety. I've been battling it since I was too young to know what it is. My left hemisphere is so powerful (as I suppose most people's are) that it fights every time I try to ease it up a bit. For years now I've been working to lessen its grip. Yoga. Meditation. Writing. Ways to stay out of the spin cycle.

At least now I'm aware of its hold and power and have let go of some major roadblocks. I can go in the subway after 10 years of panicking when walking by the steps down. Elevators freak me out less. Planes, almost not at all. Skiing? OK, not everything's better but I'm aware of my fear and am determined not to let it win anymore.

The other side of anxiety. I'm heading there.

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