My brothers and I used to play with tops as children. There were the big metal ones with stripes and the little wooden ones. They never spun in one place and the fastest spins would send the top traveling far across the unfinished concrete basement of our house. (We did not feel deprived. We used to roller skate, shoot pool, and play table tennis down there. It was a kids’ paradise.)

I have written over 550 posts since beginning this blog in May of 2012. There are recurrent themes. Recently, I actually used the same title for a post that I’d used near the beginning of my writing. The other day I thought to myself, “I am really writing about the same things over and over.” But because I try to practice mindfulness, I tried to let that observation set for a bit before coming to quick conclusions like, “Wow, people must be getting bored.” Or, “I am in a creative rut.”

Eventually, I realized something that I’ve realized before, which is that our lives are full of re-experiences and re-examinations. I spin on these themes and as I travel through my life, instead of losing momentum like a top, I find myself finding deeper meanings. I also find myself able to better integrate the aspects of my life, which leads to a greater sense of integrity and connection.

I have long known that I am a naturally anxious person and that most of my anxiety in the past has been around fearing not being “good enough” as well as social anxiety. And I have also had anxiety about my physical safety, which led to years of avoiding real or simulated danger (ex., roller coasters). As I’ve just scratched the surface of mindfulness, I find myself still aware of my natural inclination to be stressed by unknowns, to worry about my friends and family, and to sometimes act like a less than entirely confident person.

The difference now is that I have gotten to the point in accepting my anxiety, when I am actually started to stop myself from apologizing to other people for the fact that I can fret a bit. Because really, I cope pretty well. I am a pretty resilient. Plus, apologizing for a little bit of excess anxiety just makes other people anxious, I have found. Yesterday, instead of thinking to myself that I was a somewhat high maintenance friend for requesting reassurance, I thought to myself, “I could tell myself not to get worried about people but that solution hasn’t worked. I think I can reveal the fact that I am a bit of a worrier and is not going to be a deal breaker for this friend.”

I concluded my post “mess” with, “I may be a mess, but I am a mess with potential.” Similarly, I may spin and whirl and come back to the same lessons over and over in my life. I may be a dervish, but I’m a dervish with a purpose. I am getting somewhere.