Jonah’s post got me thinking – I read the title and thought one thing, read the post and realized it was about another thing. That happens alot with me and anxiety and panic. I think the pain or symptom is one thing. But really it’s all about something else.

When I first saw his title I thought of “Anxiety as stained glass” as a metaphor for equating panic and anxiety with multi-colored windows – that kind of stained glass. Immediately my mind associated with the various colors, and how different a stained glass window is from regular, clear glass windows. How the sun is still the sun outside, but the colored glass changes my perception of light. And how the beauty of the glass shapes requires a light source. It was a very comforting metaphor.

Then, I read the post, and even though it was a very different kind of stained glass, I resonated with that too. There is a sense I get sometimes that life is coming at me with a problem already inherent in the delivery.

And actually both of these perceptions are true for me – anxiety and panic fit into my life in both of these ways. It is not either/or. Life is becoming more both/and.

I guess the cool thing about this insight for me is that I am learning, in all areas of my life, that there is more than one way to look at a thing. More than one way to hear a thing. More than one way to FEEL a thing. And each different way helps me see, hear and feel with a little more wholeness.

I don’t have to view my anxiety as a totally terrible affliction. It brings some altered perceptions into my life that are actually creative and beautiful. And in dealing with it, I become more and more aware of how much it all depends on my own perception. Life and pain and fear and death is not so much an “outer” phenomenon. It is more of an inside job.

I’m not talking so much about turning all the bad things into good things, making lemonade out of lemons. I am thinking more that embracing the ‘stained glass’ of Jonah’s post helps me also see the beauty of the ‘stained glass’ of my imagination. The contrast holds for me a way out of my own conviction that I’m going to die immediately. It teaches me to be still, and let the feeling, the symptom or the thought express itself and then transform – because all things change.

I don’t have to hold on to just my one idea about anything – even a group of words like ‘stained glass.’ I can embrace many ways. And in doing that, maybe I’ll find the middle way.

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