On Anxiety and the Search for an Anchor
You are an amazing woman. The feast is mine when I read your words. God Bless you.
Gosh. Thousand yard stare. Putting down the sword. Flow chart fragments. The great good fortune of Buddhist book designers in the surround. I am a brand new subscriber and I think it was through the department of salad but wow, this is so helpful to me. Deep bow
Absolutely not for you dear Elissa.
The brother-grief, and being totally shut down bit spoke to me. I had to watch the shoutier bits of season 1 with the sound off. Season 2 has some very lovely episodes, notably Forks -- but under no circumstances should you watch the Christmas episode. My mother is safely dead, and I have 30 years of therapy under my belt, and that one nearly undid me.
It's good to learn when we can say -- oh no, thank you, I'm sure it's great but that is absolutely not for me.
Thank you, as always, for your deeply beautiful writing that acknowledges the painful trials of life and yet still brings so much hope and relief in the telling of it. It somehow eases my own trials. The image of putting down the sword was so helpful to me today. Appreciate you.
I couldn’t agree more. I only got through two episodes. As I get older (mid-60s)
I’m inspired by nature, brave people, cool breezes (read Maine), my husband and son and anyone who trying to make earth more tolerable for all.
Either this is a huge coincidence or you are in the same online spiritual study group I am. In her notes on today's lesson, the teacher quoted Hafiz: "Once a young woman said to me, 'Hafiz, what is the sign of someone who knows God?' I became very quiet, and looked deep into her eyes, then replied, 'My dear, they have dropped the knife. Someone who knows God has dropped the cruel knife that most so often use upon their tender self and others." Thank you for another SO meaningful, vulnerable piece of writing. I receive many life clues through snippets of songs that pop into my head. I, too, am going through an extra-dark dark night cycle. It's one of the major life stage ones that happen around age 28-30-ish and again on a whole new level at 58-60-ish. I'm 61 and have been it for a couple years. Thank goodness you (and I) have the wise understanding that it changes. That eventually we'll emerge into daylight again. The phrase I'm hearing is from "The World is Falling Down" sung by Abbey Lincoln: "The world is falling down, hold my hand. Hold my hand, hold my hand, hold my hand." You are holding my hand, Elissa, and I'm holding yours. I have a feeling those of us who get through these very dark nights alive are helping hold up others who don't have quite the confidence in daylight that we do.
Breathtaking writing, as always.
Ask your therapist about EMDR....it changes lives.
Were you in the next room during my dinner party last night? We spoke about the anxiety of The Bear, paralysis when facing toxic eldercare, the search for gentleness and quiet... hey, even precisely 14 phone calls in one day (in my case from my frightened 88 year old uncle). It's uncanny. Thank you for all your wisdom on the subject. I wish you could have joined us at the table (the Louisiana shrimp were spectacular!)
Thank you, a thousands times thank you, for this beautiful piece, for sharing your heart and sorrow with all of us. Sending you much much love.
You do not need to watch “The Bear.” You’ve already lived that story.
Today your essay and the thoughtful responses have made my day - along with walking my dog and reading a wonderful cookbook “Tenderheart” by Hetty Lui McKinnon, also about her dad (as well as vegetables).
I especially loved feeling the love you have for your dad - as well as the complications ... deep thanks for writing so much about him and I’m so glad I don’t have to check out “the bear” ... and why is it called that anyways?
New subscriber here. A few years ago, right around when I hit 70, I realized that I can’t watch on-screen drama any more than I can tolerate real-life drama. I don’t have the armor that I once had. Whether it’s the effect of age or (could it be?) an accretion of something like wisdom, I have finally learned my limits. The armor is too damn heavy for this old body. Now, having read your fine essay, I am going to work on putting down my sword as well.
Thank you Elissa. I'm in my early 70s and the quicksand got above my knees again this year. You capture, with devastating eloquence, the times that make us want to cease existing. Using the context of the kitchen line-cook environment, you make your experiences universal. Thank you.
Elissa, this is powerful writing that shows (and tells) how writing can be a way to heal and help us reintegrate. A long and winding way sometimes. I am glad you listened to your gut/heart and stopped watching The Bear. The second season moves the drama mostly out of the kitchen, but there is still plenty of family shouting. Thank you for your words.
Gasping with gratitude for your valiant outlook AND your absolutely inimitable writing! Thank you!
Really brilliant! Your morning described as a hangover sounds like healing to me. It's a type of energetic release. May you have more!