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  • Writer's pictureHazel Mutch


Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Do you ever feel disconnected from yourself, and adrift in general? It’s a very disconcerting feeling and can come when we're trying to turn away from what we’re feeling. For me it can happen particularly when feeling powerless in the face of what I can’t predict or control.

Recently I recognised I needed to stop trying to control my outer situation and switch my priorities. (This was not a new realisation, I’ve been here before!) So, I’ve been prioritising my inner world; giving attention to how I feel and what is needed on the inside. Since shifting inward, one thing after another has come my way in the form of insights, books, talks, and dreams, which converge into feeling helped, held, and supported. The outer problem still exists, but I feel I’m not facing it alone. The urge to control it has calmed and been replaced by a sense that it will unfold as I take each step as it presents itself. Jane Hirshfield’s poem In a Net of Blue and Gold has been in my mind, the image of the title forming into this little painting which expresses something of that feeling.

So how can we let go of worries when they whisper so urgently about the problem? I don’t think we can, or need to. What we can do is what I call separating the message from the messenger. It’s a way of reconnecting with yourself which allows the thoughts or worries to fall away by themselves. Once we find the messenger, more often than not we recognise the thoughts are assumptions or misconceptions or attempted predictions, not truths. To the messenger they are true though, until we show them otherwise. It’s a shift from outer (the narrative about what’s happening or is going to happen) to inner (the part of us that learned to think that way).

If you think this would be useful for you, the practice goes like this:

  • When you notice you’re worried or anxious, let yourself listen to the inner narrative. Listening is different to believing. See the message not as a truth but as a thread to guide you to the messenger.

  • Follow the thread by taking your attention from the thoughts to your body

  • Notice any sensations in your body, even if they’re very subtle or vague

  • Recognise that this is the messenger - the part of you carrying the feeling, fear or anxiety

  • Try to keep your attention on the felt sense or sensations in your body, and notice what the feeling makes you want to do (for example it might be to hide or to run round in a panic)

  • You might even get a visual image, or a sense of it being a different age (which could be the age you were when this kind of worry or fear began or intensified)

  • Remember you are bigger and older than this part of you

  • Tune in to what would help, soothe, or calm this part of you and give it some kindness and understanding

This can help you unblend from the worried or anxious part of you, and return to the aware state where we feel safer and resourced. It also gives you a direct way to be kind to yourself. Keep repeating as often as needed. Inner connection leads to that much bigger sense of connection we can experience but not easily explain.

There are many ways to work with worry, and other thoughts or feelings, this is just one. If you try it, I hope it helps you to feel more connected to yourself and to life. Let me know, here or on Instagram

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