Let’s start over. The past few weekends, I have been hiking, camping, and dipping my toes in the sand. I was happy, mindful, breathing in nature around me and feeling a sense of “I am here”; mindfulness. I was never OCD- free, but my OCD was less triggered among the trees. The earth has a way of making you feel like you can start over.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”
― John Muir (Our National Parks (1901), chapter 1: The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West)
Have you been barefoot lately? In a safe and sanitary situation, that is (teehee). Isn’t it strange? I remember going barefoot often enough as a kid, in my backyard. When I burrowed my toes in the sand last weekend, I realized it had been ages since I had been barefoot. Imagine that. Years since my human feet have actually made contact with the earth. With dirt or sand or grass. It’s just been carpet, my shoes, my yoga mat, or at best wet concrete as I wash my car. Always a layer or more between myself and the earth. It’s no wonder I instantly felt calm on that beach.
The last anxiety group therapy session I attended, we were encouraged to do a walking mindfulness meditation, and I found that being barefoot in grass while walking slowly was surprisingly grounding. I don’t know how else to describe it, except that for a small moment in time, I could feel my heart rate slow, my mess of constant thoughts slowing to focus in on what was really around me. The counselor leading our session said it best: the feeling I got while standing in the grass was one of “I am here“. Not in some crisis my disordered mind is spinning. Not back there at that intersection where I was triggered. Not checking. I am right here. Connected to the earth. It’s my new Reset button, and with it I can start over.
I wanted to start over, but then I came back from the mountains and beaches. I calculated that I spent about 4 hours each day since I have come back stuck in some anxiety and OCD loop. Redriving my routes on freeways. Having to redo things until they were just right. Thoughts careening out of control until my stomach is sick and I feel more ancient than my 23 years.
I just need to remember I can always start over. And I deserve to forgive myself when I have to start over.