What to do when not being able to see the horizon paralyzes you?
We both know that reading this short article won’t boost in an instant your resilience capabilities, but there is a chance to help you breathe a little bit better. Catching your soul often holds the potential to lead somewhere or to change something in good ways. If it does, that will make both you and me very happy.
I experienced endless days without seeing any horizon in my life. For reasons I have no clue how to explain scientifically, our brain associates the things it cannot perceive anymore (as we used to) with negative shades, i.e. darkness, pain, confusion, and other debilitating sensations that generate anxiety and even paralyzing fear.
At some point during my struggling with this kind of blindness, this wicked association intrigued me. It happened one day during my life on the subtropical island of Tenerife, when a terrible storm began. When such thing happen in the realm of eternal spring, the contrast seems and feels very intense.
I was looking on the window on how the palm trees bent to the ground and then bounced back, while at the same time I was trying to defeat my terror at the sound of the wind, a weird sound I was not familiar with.
My salvation came from an athlete who was running on the other side of the street, as if the fury of nature was one thing and his thing to do was another.
In my home country, Romania, we associate such weather with cold, wet, and stay the hell at home kind of things. The simple idea of getting out does not even cross your mind.
The view of that runner helped me defeat my inertia and sparked by inspiration, I got out of the house almost instantly. It was hot, the wind felt like an intense lovely breeze and the rain felt warm. Everything was opposite than what was familiar to my mind, than the images I had seen from my window.
That apparently insignificant happening made me realize better that my mind tricks me a lot. It “pictures” things in limited and sometimes even distorted ways influenced by all sorts of factors like environment, geography, education, local society, memories, and so on. What my brain can or cannot see may not be what it seems or not. What I know is nothing comparing with what I do not know.
So why shall I count and give my knowledge so much credit?
Led by this realisation, not seeing the horizon stopped being a problem. Instead new questions rose above:
Does it really matter to see the horizon? The sense of comfort that picturing a probable future may make you feel secure, I agree to that. But isn’t it just a scenario from many others, even better others? Why shall I limit my potential by framing with my limited mind a future episode of life? Not seeing the horizon, as paradoxically as it may seem, keeps your mind open and curious. And this leads to better versions of yourself.
What would ‘seeing the horizon’ will change in doing the things I planned to do anyway? Would it change anything?
How could I know that the horizon I might see, isn’t a projection of some sort?
By keep self-asking questions, I ended up almost believing that seeing the horizon is not something to work in our favor. But on the contrary, it may slow us down in the process of our self-development and improving our resilience capabilities.
Of course, to some degree anxiety comes natural when we face the wall. But I think its intensity and effects really depends on us, on how much power and importance we attribute to it.
So, when I can’t or when I don’t see any horizon, I trained myself not to follow my first tendencies, my first inner reactions. I learned to just stay there, to not rate that perception in any way. There is a nano fragment of time between perceiving and reacting when I can decide how to place myself, when I can avoid paralyzing of fear and anxiety, even depression.
At first, changing the inertial was a hard exercise. It felt more natural to panic (to react in a more destructive way) than to just don’t react or to insert more constructive ingredients in my reaction. Keeping myself in a neutral spot boosted my vitality. Then, gradually, I could change the course of reaction by learning to do whatever I can with whatever I have at hand without over thinking. If there was nothing I could do, I just slept, read or went out for a walk. On this pathway, things began to change step by step.
I felt an ease of heart in some ways because it didn’t matter anymore when things will radically change, how the change should look, and all these things we have very few or no control over.
That ease of heart gradually turned into a change of heart, and that was the most interesting and surprising discovery I experienced during this journey called life.
It is very hard to not see beyond today, the sense of insecurity is very unbalancing, if not debilitating and paralyzing for many of us. But if you break it down to the core, you’ll realize it doesn’t matter at all.
What matters is that you are still standing, still breathing, still smiling, still living.
This realisation is the foundation of happiness. It may surprise you of how little you know about it.
Start being well again!