A sail boat can move forward against the wind because of an aerodynamic principle called the Bernoulli Effect: the air pressure behind the sail is higher than the air pressure in front of it; high pressure moves into low, thus moving the craft ahead.

I like this as a metaphor: adversities, problems, and difficulties present this difference in pressure, a gap if you will, and a tension between where you are (the actual) and where you'll need to progress to (the potential) in order to deal with the current challenge. Thus, the adversity, no matter how painful, unfair or undeserved, is compelling us to move - and if looked at positively, inviting us to move forward, to grow.

The challenging situation also serves to create a disruption in the habitual patterns one lives by, thus forcing a revision, a transformation, an upgrade into a more functional pattern.

However, when we don't recognize the situation as a growth opportunity and take the path of least resistance, reverting to old fight or flight or escape behaviors, we take the wind out of our sails. This is often intentional: "Please! Something, anything, to take the edge off!" But, there will follow, more often than not, a corresponding complication, a weakening, a depression, a demoralization, and/or a new wound. In other words, being blown off course or into the rocks!

Anxiety is an old acquaintance of mine. It used to visit quite frequently, demanding my attention around 3 a.m. I've figured out that, since sleep wouldn't be happening anyway, this must be a good time to pray and meditate and learn better how to confront my fears.

So, I've been learning to see and experience anxiety as the tension between who I've been (as defined by my negative judgmental ego self) and who I desire to be, my truth - empowered, wise, and capable. After much "research" on the subject, I know the futility of re-living the past and trying to figure out how I could have/should have done something better... and the inefficiency of running contingencies against up-coming challenging (or scary) events, which amounts, most of the time, to jousting with windmills. What will be, will be; what's done is done; reliving or rehearsing won't lead to all that much improvement, I'm learning. And that's really what I'm wanting, isn't it - to improve, to be and do better. So, how does one improve?

Here's the key:

The gap's where it's at. The winds of change forever shift, so take them on. Unfurl your sails! Outfit your vessel with a do-over, a new definition. You have a sail - your conscious mind. Raise it high. Train your mind to focus in on that gap, the sweet spot that produces the traction you need. Reach for the cosmos from which that consciousness derives.

You need a deep keel. Within your center is a depth that connects you to the infinite source of you, the Love that made you, sustains you and is you. A very stronghold indeed, is there at the heart and soul of us, to counterbalance the evils - the storms - that will beset us in this life.

You are a sturdy ship, "fearfully and wondrously made" to weather the storms of life. You can do it; you've got it in you. Much divine intention has been put into the package that is now you. You have been endowed with a personality. Truth and power solidify, stabilize and define you. Let that reality come in and comfort you.

And, you are not alone. God, like the father of the prodigal son, shines from the homeward-bound path before us, like the sun, warming our faces, embracing us and assuring us that all will be well. And guardian angels accompany us on either side on this adventure, like having extra pontoons on board.

Hone in on that gap with a laser focus. Soon, it will begin to fill with light and you will shift into a higher vibration. You will enter the peace, the "zone" of highly effective living. Your ship will lift into a soaring transcendence that will heal and redeem the past. Time and opportunities squandered by poor choices and mistakes will be atoned for. That gap will be filled in. You will know a new freedom.

Knowing yourself, now, to be more equal to the task of what's coming "at" you, anxiety is transmuted into enthusiasm and excitement. More light fills the space you occupy. Your thoughts and actions become more creative.

Joel Turgesen, MA, LPC