desert trees

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”  Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi

Angst: a strong feeling of being worried or nervous; a feeling of anxiety about your life or situation.

I don’t necessarily experience angst as a ‘strong’ feeling. Its intensity seems to vary depending on the issue.  Regardless of its strength in a particular moment, I’m coming to appreciate angst’s gifts and to be grateful for its presence.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to live in a perpetual state of angst.  It can drag me into the depths of despair and feel colder and darker than the mountain snow storm just outside my window.

On the other hand, I don’t deny angst entry when it visits.  Rather I’m learning to acknowledge and welcome the sense of unease and invite angst to share what gifts are hidden beneath its surface. I’m learning that angst can light my way toward peace. It shows me where I care. It shows me where I need to adjust.

As I observe angst more deeply, I notice that it has no home when I’m in that place of deep knowing and trust.  Angst doesn’t follow thoughts or choices that are aligned with who I am and what I love. The presence of angst is a wake-up call, an indicator that love, faith, trust are missing and that my thinking, my clarity, my convictions and the actions that follow need to shift.

I’ve experienced angst recently around money, or more specifically a gap between what’s coming in and what’s going out. Yes, I know, it’s a crowded room. And, I believe that it will serve humanity when we each walk outside, take a few deep breaths to get back into our skin, into our true nature, and look at our needs from a new perspective. That’s a gift of angst. Its gentle nudges like these shadows on the Great Sand Dunes remind me when I go astray, or try to follow the crowd, or act as if I’m someone other than who I am.

When I am fully present, angst represents a crossroad, a choice. Will I take its invitation to go to that quiet place within? Will I muster the courage to “be drawn by the strange pull …”? Will I examine where my thoughts are inconsistent with what I believe to be true about the goodness of the Universe?   Or, will I follow the path that the world suggests is ‘practical’ and ‘what I should do in the current situation?

Experiment for the Week:  Notice where you experience the gentle nudges of angst this week. Thank them for reminding you of the choice they represent to return to who you are.