Got up late after having forgotten to set the alarm last night. I'll still make it to work on time. I got the dishwasher unloaded, lunch packed, coffee made, and I have half an hour before I usually leave. So it's not like I'm rushing out the door. It's just puts a rush on things.
Just now, I felt myself beginning to spin, like on a whirling toy at the playground, the ones that spun too fast. I felt it in my shoulders, in a clutching at my breath, and a vibration in my brain as it revved up fast and hard.
I stopped myself. Told myself to breathe. I have forty minutes, not half an hour. I can stretch that even longer. I won't be late to work. It's going to be fine, I told myself.
The cat is here with me. Her only schedule involves begging for food. She knows the importance of the breath, the purr, of rubbing on things and being pet. I'm not saying she's wise, but she's more present than I am and I take my teachers where I find them.
When I'm spinning away from myself, I'm learning to act. Writing helps as does petting the cat, and even making coffee the way I do. I can't rush that. The beans have to be ground and I have a hand-crank grinder. It takes two to three minutes no matter what. You know the rule on watching water boil. Even when it does, I have to let it come down off the boil for three minutes before pouring. Coffee takes as long as it takes and rushing only makes my head spin.
This applies larger picture. I want a new job right, to lose twenty pounds, to have a perfect house, and I want these before I finish blinking my eye. Thinking this way things feels impossible and I want to give up.
The skill is to think differently, to breathe, and do one thing. Grind the coffee. Empty the dishwasher. Pet the cat. Type the words. One thing after another. Resist planning the next task while doing the first. There are seven hundred things I'll need to do today. I can consider them now as I try to type, I can stop typing and make a to-do list, or I can set that worry aside while I enjoy writing these words.
I choose the latter.
Anxiety about the clock takes me out of the moment and I focus on worry, fear, and panic. It's a habit and I've had a difficult time imagining another way. I see it now. I want to go in that direction.
So I breathe. I type. I sip coffee and occasionally close my eyes to make sure I'm still here. I don't spin even when looking at the clock. There is time to be present and whole. I have time enough, always, to write on.