As I write this post I am in the midst of a panic attack, my heart is pumping nineteen to the dozen, I am struggling to keep my breathing regular, my whole body is vibrating and my stomach is turning itself in knots. It’s not a pleasant experience. I am attempting to focus on something, anything, to calm my twanging nerves. I want to silence the screaming voice in my head that’s demanding I run to the hills and get as far away from everyone and everything as possible, to find some seclusion and some space.

I haven’t had one of these in a good while, life has been relatively balanced despite being busy. However this past month life has been a bit of a trial, a worry, and all just a bit too much. 

The whole world is a bit much right now with all the uncertainty in politics, the climate, the rise of extremism on every level and it all filters through the media into peoples everyday existence in less than positive ways. It leaves us all unsettled, less tolerant of each other and I see communities, countries and ideologies at such odds that I am fearful for the world again. I don’t feel safe and many people I know don’t feel safe, making some of them respond in less than positive ways and that, particularly, makes me both angry and sad.

This is not helping my panic attack to be honest, but I think I need to understand that I am riding a global wave here. I know I am not alone in my feelings, I have reached out and heard others say the same things.

But here is the thing, when I do reach out, even if is a bit ranty and frustrated, there is also an upswell of empathy, of caring and of concern that comes back to me. It restores my faith in humanity and helps to balance the books a little. The world has not gone totally to shite, don’t believe the media hype!

Damh says look at the stars, none of this means anything in the grand scheme of things and I know he is right on one level. When he gets overly stressed he goes to bed and gets up the next day with it all behind him, bright and fresh. But somehow that idea of “put it all away and don’t think about the emotions of it” undermines the whole point of life experience, doesn’t it?  I ponder this through the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

To be, or not to be–that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–

No more–and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–

To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause.

For me life is about the intensity of feeling, good, bad or indifferent. I can’t fall into sleepy oblivion and lose my troubles, they follow me into sleep and maraud about my dreamtime like a bunch of Viking berserkers. I have a feeling if I died they would do the same, all my unresolved issues dragging behind me and haunting my afterlife like Jacob Marley’s rattling chains. 

My breathing is less frantic now and my heart is not pounding quite as fast and I am feeling slightly less inclined to run away and hide. Now I’m thinking perhaps a trip to the garden centre for some nice bulbs and a couple of bags of soil might be a positive way to feel better, but no I’m definitely not ready for a public appearance just yet, nope, even the thought of it has set my heart racing again. And breathe….keep writing!

The dogs are crashed out and the rain is gently falling outside, Damh is reading and playing with his new phone. As I write I am also trying to think about the Autumn equinox ritual for the Anderida Gorsedd gathering at the Long Man tomorrow. I don’t want to write something bland or off pat because I’m not in a good space. It seems pertinent to take stock and find a balance point inside and out right now. Maybe many more of us need to understand that we are all the fulcrum on which the whole world is balanced and the fate of our world is depends on which way we all tip. 

It seems harder and harder to keep our balance when the rest of the world seems to want to use our balancing platform as a handy spring board for their own ends and they keep jumping on all the edges, wobbling us all over the place.

Know thyself is a basic tenant for life that is the standard for all spiritual paths. It is a prerequisite for keeping that inner balance when everything seems to be trying to knock you sideways. If the equinoxes are about anything they are about re-finding that balance both within and without, taking stock in the liminality of the equinoxial (I think I may have made that word up) moment, the betwixt and between, our place of connection between earth and sky, land and sea, life and death. In fact our whole place and purpose within this delicate system now poised on the brink of changing the emphasis from the rising light to the descending dark. 

Autumn is also a time for reflecting on our harvests, reaping the rewards of our hard work and investment. We also begin the bedding down process in the garden, whilst still enjoying the fruits of this year’s harvests, whether they be physical or metaphorical, and I guess that is my process as I am writing. 

The rain is falling heavily outside now, Damh has managed to take the dog for a walk already, I am still struggling with my heart rate and the vibrating energy of the panic flooding my body with whatever chemicals contribute to hyping me over the edge of comfort and reason. However I think I am more able to write an autumn equinox ceremony now. I am taking pot shots at the aggravating bouncers (by switching off FB, the news, and people generally for a bit at least) on the edge of my balance board and watching them fall off the edges one by one, leaving me with a less wobbly environment. 

I know I will be fine, I have a hundred per cent success rate of surviving difficult days so far and I am not quite ready to die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say I end the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. I am still in retreat mode and will have to see how I feel tomorrow. For now I will meditate on standing at the waters edge of Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) in Snowdonia. I will spend some time concentrating on the still waters and my breathing until peace is restored. 

I will write the ritual today, I think I have found just enough balance and perspective, but that and the meditation may be all I do.

Blessing of the Equinox to you, have a wonderful celebration, go stand in the liminal moment and feel the tipping of the world about you and know that it is absolutely within your power to keep it all balanced.