February 18 – Frantic

To go around in a constant state of panic, rushing from one task to another, is no fun. When examined further, it also proves to be no way to live either. Does being frantic help us get out the door faster? Find what we’re looking for? Save time when we are behind schedule? In other words, does our sense of franticness serve us in any form? The answer to these questions of course is no. All being frantic accomplishes is to stress us out and make us miserable. My constant sense of worry and panic have done me no favors in life, that’s for sure.

red and black abstract painting

On the topic of feeling frantic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“Women who do too much tend to get frantic over almost anything. Where did we park that rental car in the airport and what in the world did it look like anyway? We were sure that we parked our own car right in front of the drugstore at the shopping mall. Or was that last week?

Where did we put that bill that simply must be paid today? There must be a way to get the kids off in the morning that could be less frantic. We are sure an organized mother could do better.

Where is that pen? Where is that pan? Where are those pants? Probably right where we left them. It is usually our ‘frantic’ that clouds our vision.

Frantic and panic are old familiar friends. Maybe it is fine for them to move out of our house.”

There are some moments in life that completely change your worldview. It’s as if a lightning bolt has struck. Things come so sharply into focus that you can never return to seeing the world the same again. This happened for me when my husband and I were running late and nearly missed our flight for a very important trip we both were greatly looking forward to. My heart seized in panic at the thought of having to find another flight and rearrange our schedule, and what if there were no flights available? I also braced myself for the anger and resentment I expected (with no just cause, honestly) from my husband at the thought that we were late because of me. All my life, my parents lashed out at each other when we were late leaving on vacation (which was always), and so I expected it. As I sat there wallowing, my husband took my hand and assured me everything would be fine. He said whether we panic and rush and worry or not, it will not change the outcome. If we are going to miss our flight, it will happen regardless of our concerns about it. We may as well relax and enjoy the ride to get there. What a groundbreaking revelation!

He has pointed this out to me time and again as I rush around the house and yell at him to hurry when we are running late for a family party, or a movie, or… you get the idea. He reminds me to “Calm down. Will running through the house really save you that much time?” He’s right.

Living in a state of stress, panic, and worry has become the norm. This behavior is so ingrained in us that we don’t know any better, and we often don’t even realizing we’re doing it! The idea that there could be a calmer approach to life is entirely outside the scope of our imaginations. It’s almost as if we feel the world will fall apart if we don’t worry over every little piece of it. These feelings do not serve us though. In fact, they often hinder us. It is being frantic that clouds our vision, as Anne says, and keeps us from thinking clearly. Being still, calm, and rational is a far healthier way to live. It allows us to approach life in our own time and to handle each situation that arises with complete clarity of mind. It is a peaceful feeling of stillness that allows us to become closer to ourselves and to truly enjoy the world around us. Life is meant to be fully lived, observed, and enjoyed—not rushed past in a state of panic.

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