It’s been really hot here in Franklin, TN, for the past week. And we had some breathtaking lightning storms.
 
One evening, my son Evan and I sat on the grass in front of our house, watched the distant lightning and discussed, in awe, the power of the tiny electrons and protons that cause such enormous reactions filled with heat, power, light and sound. The storm was far away, we felt safe, and so, watching the magnificent show in the sky was (surprisingly) very peaceful.
 
On the contrary, when the AC stopped working on another (very hot) day, the peacefulness was gone like the storm itself. I had a full day ahead of me and I felt stress coming. 
 
“I’m on it,” I said to myself and put my shoes on to go ‘check on the unit.’ But it was raining so instead, I stood at the door scratching my head: “What exactly did I expect to find?” Haha… I could look at it all day, and all I would know to say when I call the service is ‘yup, the box is still here!’ 🙂 I laughed at myself. The laughter broke my tension and brought me back into the present moment (humor often does that). All was well.
 
The service person came and determined that my thermostat was at fault – not the AC. Which is a good (and much cheaper) thing. Especially because I had been wanting to replace the old one with a Nest (smart thermostat that learns our habits and adjusts temps accordingly. It’s also controlled by a smart phone app, so when I leave on tour and kids are at school, I can tell it to turn up or down, save us some energy and I won’t have to worry about it).
 
As I was ordering one, my son Dante came back from his training for a summer job. I told him about all the excitement. His eyes widened: “You know this is the first step toward having a smart house.”
 
“Yeah… “ I answered. “I’m OK with that.”
 
“Soon you’ll be able to be in Croatia on the cruise and tell your computer to turn on and monitor it through your smart device,” Dante offered. “Artificial Intelligence will do all the jobs for us.”
 
“True… and the only people who will have jobs then, will be those who will be able to fix technology, and therapists – to treat the rest of us for all kinds of mental illnesses,” I said as I half-laughed.
 
“And artists,” Dante reminded me. “Machines will never be able to create art.”
 
(Ah… How did I get to be so lucky to have such amazing sons?)
“Yes,” I said. “You are absolutely right.”
 
“You taught me that,” Dante smiled “The Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, right? It’s the top need that gets fulfilled when all the other needs are met.”
 
“Well then, we better get to work!”
 
The Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (Image retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)
I was excited about the possibilities. I could totally be happy with little bots cleaning the toilets, putting away dishes and doing all the (endless) dusting. And taking care of my bookkeeping, doing all the office work, and editing and posting my videos – so I could play piano for hours at a time, compose music and write my book. Be an artist… and volunteer, contemplate and sit in stillness of course 🙂
 
But I also felt uneasy with the thought of the raised anxiety level caused by many uncertainties of our fast changing world which affect our sense of safety and security.
You see, this past week, David and I did a Lunch Chat on Anxiety and Sleep (and boy did we laugh and laugh!)
 
I shared how I slept like a baby at my Mom’s apartment in Croatia, and how I didn’t feel anxious while I was there. I am convinced it was because of how safe my Mom’s presence makes me feel (in addition to the fact that I was on vacation, ‘unplugged’ from my usual responsibilities.)
When I returned home to Franklin my anxiety returned. It’s not a bad anxiety – like the one I experienced several years ago and had to be treated for. It’s more of an underlying “General Anxiety Disorder” (GAD).
 
I had done some research on it and found out that 18 percent of all Americans suffer from GAD. That’s almost 1 in 5 people. The reasoning behind this is that as life becomes more ‘convenient,’ and we don’t have to work manual jobs (or even cook, clean, spend hours ironing, or separating peas from their pods – which all can be relaxing to our minds) we keep our minds constantly occupied, we strive to acquire more, we compare our accomplishments to others’, and often forget what the word ‘enough’ means.
 
We race around and don’t take time to sit on our front porches and watch the lightning. We don’t engage as much in social activities, sing or dance together, we have less and less time and direct opportunities to help those in need. We begin to feel disconnected and fearful about life’s uncertainties. We learn to live with GAD… take acid blockers and sleeping meds to cover it up. Instead of building better connections with people around us, our anxiety begins to create isolation and unwillingness to trust others – which only creates more anxiety in the world.
 
But we can change that. 🙂
 
The first step is the awareness and mindful observing of how you feel. When you are anxious, where in your body do you feel it? (Mine is all in my stomach). What keeps you up at night? In what ways you can change your daily routines in order to be more present in each moment?
 
So maybe, spend some time this week to do an ‘anxiety check’.
 
And if you are one of the 4 in 5 who don’t live with anxiety, ask yourself what can you do to contribute more to building a more connected, safer and loving world. Reach out to someone who seems stressed out or overwhelmed and ask them what you can do to lighten their burden. Invite someone to a music event, or a stroll through a park, or a cup of coffee which you’ll sip slow while being simply present to each other. Or stop and watch the lightning storm with someone you love 😉
 
You can even share the link to our full live show on Sleep and Anxiety (+ music and humor) or the short version. And listen to some of my music too. My album “A Chance to Dream” is especially good for relaxing at bedtime…

Tatiana “Tajci” Cameron is an award-winning music artist, published author, inspirational speaker, and certified transformational and spiritual life coach.

She has many passions and is dedicated to helping others while also creating an enriched life for herself and her three sons. When Tajci is not on the road performing gigs, she volunteers with local organizations dear to her heart, spends time with loved ones (often involving music!), and collaborates with other artists to bring creative projects to life.

Tajci’s most recent projects include a meditation CD, an annual retreat & sea cruise in Croatia (that she organizes and hosts), and a multimedia CD/book (Un)Broken: Songs My Father Taught Me.

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