Shrinking and Expanding – the rubber band of peace

Anxiety is the process whereby I make myself large and the world by contrast, becomes small

The cure is

Shrinking ourselves, and naturally rising to a different level of perspective

The walls recede, I can breathe

And the view becomes expansive

The screams of the ego become muffled by the weight of the world

I turn a page of the Sunday paper

A death, a murder, someone gone to soon

A baby that has been tortured

Doom and gloom

The voices around me chatter of overseas holidays, plane delays, a son and daughter coming to visit

Heads full of silver tip up and down, side to side animated by partaking in the flow of words

I tune in, I can’t help myself with my newly clarified ear

It’s a relief

Life is so small and foolish when I focus on me

I sit back, sip black coffee and revel in the conversations of humanity

We are a strange species in collection, our brains working overtime, voices loud

Our individual ego shrouds the greatest of our assets in an indelible film of me me me which in turn like Ouroboros devours everything, keeping us constantly distracted and ravenous for our own lifeblood

Our hearts and minds capable of so much

Yet we fail to live up to our potential

Day after day discarding paper cups and littering beaches with micro plastics as if we cannot make a difference

As if we don’t make a difference – which we collectively do

But as individuals so often we fail to

Cruelty to animals

To each other

Obsessed with time, our schedules and our intense experience within our microcosmic worlds

Allowing madmen to wage war on peaceful people

Expecting others to solve it. Which they never do, because like us they are individuals that put their trousers on one leg at a time, and stare into mirrors avoiding their own eyes

I contemplate it all from my own admittedly narrow perspective and realise the madman invading Ukraine is just a human

A single being

Who has made himself large

The world small

It leaves me wondering

Are we all capable of monstrosity beneath our sheeplike skins

Are we all just a couple of powerless (thankfully) steps away from such a thing?

Surely not

The lady across from me loudly talks over her partner, dismissing his quieter concern about interest rate hikes to extol her captive audience on the benefits of paw paw. His knee is thrown sideways, foot slithering. Glum face sliding. Someone else is chiding. He is still worried, I can see it written across his brow. He isn’t in the now but somewhere buried deep inside.

We all hide out there sometimes, and like Dr Who’s Time Machine, it contains many more rooms than our compact exterior would indicate

Everyone is talking, am I the only one listening?

I’m not even supposed to be, and I certainly don’t want to be, so I close the paper and scribble a note instead.

Something a bit morose. I look at it with a rye mouth thinking – if we are all a few steps from monstrosity then we are most certainly only a few from peace


The path of a butterfly shadow tickles my hand and the sun is a hot patch on my shoulder

Perhaps it’s time for another swim

My rubber band is expanding, I’m feeling better again

*My thought process this morning over coffee and the paper. I was just going to take my paper and return to the house, but then the smell of barista brewed coffee got me. But I had forgotten my keep cup and didn’t want a disposable one. So I read my paper and drank my coffee while in the sunny courtyard of the cafe, and the company of many others.

I’m glad I did. Because it gave me this little epiphany about anxiety which in me, is merely the symptom of too much time spent in my own head. Oh that and a preoccupation with self.

The ego is a pretty difficult and slippery companion to shake. We are all capable of slipping into the habit of making ourselves and our own problems too large, thereby squeezing the rest of the world into the background.

Which actually makes our lives worse. I become heavy when swollen with the preoccupations of my own troubles.

When we maintain a healthy balance of us vs world and keep proportions of personal importance in check, anxiety and fear recedes. We become light and buoyant with fresh energy.

In our hyper connected world of social media and news reports delivered into our inboxes and onto our screens hourly, it makes sense some times to shrink “out there” but it shouldn’t be at the cost of overly inflating “in here”.

Knowing that feeling overly anxious just means that I have perhaps over exaggerated my own problems in contrast to the rest of the world, keeps me from wallowing and floundering in my own muck.

After all, I read a quote somewhere that goes something like “if a group of people all threw our problems onto a table and could choose whichever ones we wanted, often we would choose to reclaim our own”

We are all in this chaos together, just doing the best we can. Both worlds (the interior and exterior) are figments of our imagination really, and much can be improved by improving our own outlook. I hope your Sunday is sparkling, mine certainly is. I feel blessed. It’s a nice place to be.

Header Photo: courtesy of Volodymyr Hryshchenko from Ukraine 🇺🇦 and Unsplash which I find weirdly apt given I mention the evil war waged by a madman on innocent people in my post, and then the photo I choose turns out to be supplied by a Ukrainian. Another example of the interconnected magic of creative flow states. And, depending on his location in that war torn region, I have no doubt he would prefer my current conundrum to that of his own.

PS I do not intend to be flippant on the subject of anxiety, I know to many people it is a real blight on their mental health, but my experience with it off on and over the years has led me to these conclusions of what is helpful for me to remember.

That is not to say that your own experience would reflect mine. This blog and my posts are from my personal experience, and not intended as professional advice on any matter.

9 thoughts on “Shrinking and Expanding – the rubber band of peace

  1. That ego loves expanding doesn’t it? It can take over and swamp our emotions. Such a relief to know we are small. Thank you for sharing your observation!

  2. Above my desk is a quote that helps when I’m feeling anxious:

    “When I look at the world, I get distressed.
    When I look within, I get depressed.
    When I focus on Jesus, then I’m at rest.”

  3. As someone who suffers with a lot of anxiety, your post really resounded with me. It is interesting the relationship between too much time on our own with our “loud thoughts” and the levels of anxiety. I believe God made us to be social and that He is so happy when we engage in togetherness ❤️ but then I think of you reading the paper filled with all the sadness and pain people inflict on each other and I wonder where the balance is. Too much time on our own isn’t ideal but too much time in the presence of others is – for me, personally – really draining and unpleasant.


    • Hi Janet, I think it is finding the balance. We are affected by so many things like hormones, the food we eat, the company we keep, or don’t keep together with what is going on in our lives in any given day – I find peace in awareness and shifting those deeper thoughts into a journal and out of the way. I wish I could be easy and light all the time, but that is not always the case. It’s just balance and that’s easier said then done. I hope you find something that works for you to quell your anxiety, it’s such an unpleasant and paralysing emotion to have.

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