I am a worrier. I worry about real things, such as bills and projects and deadlines and health. I worry whether I come across as self-centered or self-pitying. I worry that I am those things. I worry about how not to be those things. I worry a lot.
I try my best not to worry, but I have found I only am free of it when I focus on something else. That “something else” usually has to be something specific; not just anything will free me of worry. It has to be an act that requires losing myself. I have to be submerged in whatever I’m doing. I have to be, in a way, drowning.
The things that free me usually are creative, intellectual, spiritual, or a combination of all three. Physical activity, such as running, works, too, but I have to make the effort to put aside the worries and to think of lovely, noble things during a run. If I don’t, I spend the time worrying instead of meditating. The other three options aren’t guaranteed to work, either; any one of them requires a willed focus. If I become distracted, even for a second, the potential to free myself of worry diminishes. I have to train my mind. I have to quiet my thoughts. I have to focus.
Reading, like running, sometimes works, but it depends on the material. More heady works require an attention I am incapable of giving if I’m the least bit distractible. Poorly written texts only make me irate, an emotion that frees me of worry but does nothing to calm my spirit or mind. No, to cure worry, I need a work within which I can lose myself.
Drawing is another avenue. I can draw for hours without noting the passing of time. The secret to it may be that it involves my head and hands and often heart. The problem with drawing is that I don’t usually draw on a whim. I rarely sit down with a blank piece of paper. I usually have a goal in mind.
Writing almost always gets me to that worry-free place, but it remains dependent on the situation and my ability to focus. I think writing more often brings freedom because it involves and requires all of me: body, mind, heart, and spirit. For me, writing is the way I think and pray through things. It brings order to the chaos in my mind and heart and, if not order, at least a voice to whatever has captured my attention. Writing offers a way out from myself. It provides freedom from the self that often irritates me. Writing transforms me, and that transformation is what I seek and is why I write.
Why do you write?