Saturday, December 14, 2013

Poe’s Heart

It’s all about anxiety according to the book by Dr. Richard Restak; come to think of it, that’s true as it inhibits one’s courage and prevents people from achieving their potential. It is a world where anxiety reigns, defined as unrealistic scenarios plaguing the mind, unlike fear which is a reaction against a real threat like a bear chasing you.  So apprehension is manufactured by the brain, a cognitive failure that one does not recognize until his life draws to an end or towards middle age that one question what happened to his life; why did one not take another road in his life’s journey. A heart attack or other maladies like hypertension or auto immune disease are likely a result of chronic stress (as well as a bad lifestyle, poor diet and no exercise); but anxiety is a mental illness, an emotional problem causing stress. Recently, after watching a Yale lecture in YouTube, one learns that anxiety is an emotional disorder. It is this disorder that is shaping one’s life as he grows, making choices based on his cognitive disability; swerving here and there to avoid stress and nervousness or suffering from it as the case may be.

Last weekend friends come over the house for lunch of chili crab, ‘laksa’, spicy Thai barbecue (or satay), fried chicken, clams cooked with butter, homemade ice cream, white wine and coffee. It was fun with different nationalities: French, Thai and Filipino; diversity dissolving into commonalities. We watched photo albums in YouTube playing out in a huge television, of past lunches in Robinson Lake or other such get-together. Previously one experiences stress and angst when organizing these social events but now comes easily, no trace of discomfort, just the mechanical preparation of food and place. I guess the ease has come with repeated practice, lunches that one has organized in the past, same with the ease with the other things one does in work and life; managing projects, leading teams, traveling and working with people of different cultures. It is the constant stretching; to go beyond one’s comfort zone that drive one to experience new things and do them often to get expertise. But one needs to correct one’s cognitive bias and go beyond one’s normal fretfulness.

Being a creative writer (or working on any other endeavor) is ham stringed by nervousness; one does not really know if the work will be rejected; hence, one procrastinates because of this unease. The emotion cannot be called fear because it is not a real threat; can one call it fear of failure or just simply anxiety? Working in a new role is another challenge, where one is paralyzed into inactivity because of worry; unable to move forward because of mental demons (so EST training encourages one to ‘just be’). In fact life is not as difficult as one thinks; one can be all he can by just moving forward without angst. Yesterday, looking at my caricature after being drawn by a local artist during the Christmas lunch, one sees a chubby balding man, with pleasant features, seemingly like a kind uncle without knowledge of the churning ideas and anxieties plaguing his mind. The caricature is supposed to highlight certain features, exaggerating them to a sort of animated reality, to a cartoon that one faces a mediocrity of unfulfilled promises shackled by anxiety.

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