What if anxiety is a habit?

This month, I’m taking classes at Urban Movement Arts in Center City Philly. In my first intro to breaking class, I got to relearn the basic components of a 6 step. I’ve always been a little shy about my upper body strength especially in breaking, but what made me feel free and empowered in the class was what the instructor, BBoy Metal emphasized: That the foundations are the key to freedom and creativity. By learning and drilling the basics, a dancer is free to explore their creative expression with and against the music.

Here’s the nugget of wisdom that got me thinking about creativity and liberation:

Bboy Metal said that it’s hard to get good at something by only doing it once a week. Even just a few minutes of daily practice helps develop strength and skill.

Time is precious. The ways we use our time forms our present and our futures.

And it made me think, if habits are cultivated on a daily basis, what if anxiety is also a habit that can be grown? What if feeding anxiety gives it power to direct and inform our lives? I’m thinking about worrying without stopping to breathe and recenter. Hustling to meet deadlines without pausing to be grounded. The opposite of staying present in the moment without fear of immediate or imagined consequences.

And this is present in my forethought mostly because of my current to do list. Quite frankly, I’m wondering if I will accomplish everything I said I would do. If this sounds like a familiar set of circumstances, I send you a virtual high five and a reassuring hug squeeze that you are capable and totally in charge.

Yes, as a creative it’s easy for me agree to organize 100 things, and to do some things more thoroughly than others. But I would be blocking myself to being whole, effective, and present by cultivating a disposition of worry rather than a disposition of clarity and proactive problem solving, decision making that allows for the best possible outcome and the ability to release what no longer serves a project and to adjust expectations.

Although there are many important and necessary things for me to give me energy and capacity to, I know I can’t do anything without a daily practice of liberation through being creatively and spiritually present.

Here’s to cultivating powerful, liberatory mindfulness. Because I feel most like myself when I am creative and whole.

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