You would think, by now, it would go away.

After all the years (seventeen to be exact) of yoga and meditation, of being a shaman, of trying to hold, pull and keep myself together.Surely, all the crippling anxiety, fear and despair would be gone. Scared of by a wiser me, a more evolved me, a more calm me.

You’d think that.

But, you’d be wrong.

Usually, I’m ok.

OK with the anxiety, fear and despair not getting the memo that they should go away.

Because now I’m on a spiritual path.

That’s because, usually, they just crash around in my room and my head around 2, 3, 4 a.m. Kinda like a drunken spouse, partner, roommate who’s been out a little too late.  Having a few too many. But, just like a good drunk, they usually pass out before long, Letting things return to calm, to peace.

Not today though.

Today, the anxiety, fear and despair crashed into my head at about 2:30 a.m. And stayed. Through the night and well into the morning.

I cracked a few windows in the house, hoping that the wind would carry them out. But it’s so friggin cold here in north Texas today that I think the wind is frozen in place. Meaning the anxiety, fear and despair were too.

Frozen in place. In my head. Taking up so much space that I almost forgot what the years of yoga and meditation and being a shaman and trying to keep it together have taught me.

Which is.

To breathe.

To put my feet firmly on the ground. To relax my hands into my lap.

And breathe.

Not just to inhale and exhale, which always has a calming effect.

But to allow that magical place betwixt and between the inhale and exhale to call in a different wind.

A wind that is timeless. That is beyond any season or weather report. That is perfectly, exquisitely still.

A wind that, with practice, whistles in between the in breath and out breath.

And carries out the anxiety, the fear, the despair.

Returning them to the great mystery, god, buddha, void from which all of us come.

So that they can begin again.

So that I can begin again.

So that, just a few minutes before noon, I can finally say, “Good morning.”

The Practice of Being Alive is a collection of stories about getting through this thing called life.