There are times when I can hardly believe how privileged I am. I have a healthy body, friends who love me, and a home that surrounds me with beauty. Because of the family I was born into, I have been on a spiritual path for as long as I can remember. I have found work that is meaningful and which brings me joy and healing and joy to my clients. I have enough money and food. I live in a town that is not at war in any violent way and is embedded with forests with plants and animals living in goodness.

So, how can I explain the anxiety and depression that I sometimes feel?

It is strange when I watch myself, and I do watch myself. I have an ever-watchful observer who seems entirely separate from the actress who goes about the acts of daily living. The observer just watches without judgment. She, and yes, she feels like a she; she just watches the show. She sometimes questions what is going on. Her voice says, “What are you doing being so fearful, so embedded in stories of your own making?” She asks, but then, when hearing no answer, she says, “Well, I guess if that is what you have to do, then go ahead and do it. Something will change soon enough, and then you will be someplace else.”

It is confusing to feel these two voices so very separate, interlocked, and yet not actively engaged with each other. The observer doesn’t see her job as needing to change anything. She just watches. The actress just does what she does, although she is aware that at any moment, things change.

The actress wakes up on a day when nothing is scheduled. She looks at the empty hours ahead and panics. “There is no one in my life, no one to interact with, no one to keep me company, no one for me to help so that my day feels meaningful. Oh, the pain of it all. The observer just watches and wonders.

Then the day unfolds, and every day, without exception, comes with gifts — a surprise phone call, a weeding project where the dirt gets under my fingernails and the landscape is transformed, a client calling for a session, a friend dropping by unexpectedly.

The fear doesn’t seem to be attached to anything real. Something in my body, my memory, or perhaps even my ability to imagine needs to clamp onto a worry or a concern. Maybe there is something left over from my childhood that needed to be vigilant to keep harm away, even harm that was only imagined.

I can barely imagine what that thirteen-year-old girl made of going to the beach with her mother, aunt, and siblings and coming home to the reality of a dead mother, never to be seen again cold, lying in a coffin. I remember that I was afraid to touch her. I don’t know now if my fear kept me from feeling her or if I touched her with the abject terror of touching a mother who was no longer a mother or even a human being.

So many stories are entangled in my body, chemistry, and thoughts. There are so many ways these energies can dance with each other, producing the show I watch every day from the observer’s seat. But throughout the complexities of all that is, gratitude stays alive and is my anchor.