Take a moment right now and let yourself feel something you long for. It can be something big and universal, like world peace or a solution to climate change, or something big and more personal like waiting on news about a medical test for yourself, or wanting your brother to quit drinking, or longing to meet the person to share your life with. Or your longing can be something more prosaic and daily, like wanting your cat to not barf on the carpet or for the tinnitus in your ear to be quiet or to get through your whole to-do list today.

Feel what your longing feels like, feel it physically as a pull in your chest, and let it matter a moment.

Then turn your awareness to the many things that might get in the way and influence how or when or whether what you long for will happen, in the way that you want. Imagine as many potential limits as you can imagine. For myself in writing this newsletter, I want to be able to offer you something useful and get it to you effectively. But obstacles include my computer not crashing, the email program not having a glitch, not getting a migraine, a fire alarm not going off, a windstorm not taking out the wifi, my own energy levels being good and having had a decent sleep last night so I can think clearly, among many other possibilities…

As you visualize all the ways reality could throw curveballs and delays and brick walls in front of you, notice how unrest stirs.

Bring warm interest specifically to the places in your body where you feel tension and agitation. Say a warm hello and hang out there with genuine interest, not trying to fix or change what you feel, accompanying your body with non-judgmental awareness. Block any stories that try to remove you from giving your undivided attention to your bodily sensations – those are things like “there’s more important things to do than feel”, or “vulnerability is weakness” or “feeling my body can’t make a difference in my life”. There is nothing more important right now that being with the discomfort of the unrest, welcoming it. Embracing it. Understanding it as your call to come home and matter, right now, in the place of “I can’t”.

As you do that you may feel a rise of emotion.

There may be a feeling of anger as you protest the unfairness. Welcome that. Feel that as a physical feeling and ride it out like you are surfing a wave. You will likely feel a wave of sadness too and let yourself ride that as it crests and ebbs. Stay with it and feel the physical feeling of that helplessness. Be patient, go slow. Even slower than you think you need to go.

Then you will find yourself in a still place, a place of surrender.

You can rest there. Feel your stillness in this place of stillness. And notice how you are still “here” and okay, even though you do not have control, even though you cannot singlehandedly make happen what you want. Feel how you matter, here and now. Recognize yourself as a vulnerable human who is worth loving, even when you don’t feel good, even when you cannot bend reality to your will. Especially then.

Feel how you matter. You are so worth it.

Recent Blog Posts:

Embracing Unrest

I’m excited to announce my first book has a launch date! Out October 18th, 2022, Embracing Unrest: Harness Vulnerability to Tame Anxiety and Spark Growth answers the question: why is it so hard to “be here”?

View my “Embracing Unrest” column on Psychology Today!