guzz guzz gruzz goes the anxious buzz. This is the background score that plays relentlessly and restlessly on the instrument of my body in its many nuances. It pulls at my fascia(the connective tissue that is really is our second skin) here and there, tugging and drawing on my bones, sinuses, adrenal glands and physically raging a ceaseless war with an unknown, unnamed, unsought enemy.
War is not my thing, yet war ravaged my inner landscape for 33 years. To understand what this meant for me, I invite you to come and experience my life here, come inhabit myself, come journey as me.
I am playing; I must be about 5 years old. I use the upturned boxes of my father’s visiting card boxes, with the tiny finger holes in them to make a stove. I place upon them my kitchen vessels and as I am cutting out rotis from leaves with a discarded metal soda topI am unable to be absorbed and completely immersed in what I am playing. I am five, I am curious, I want to be absorbed and immersed by my play of making rotis but I don’t understand the guzz guzz gruzz anxious buzz. It feels like a restlessness, like this is what I want to be doing, but it’s not what my body wants, and there’s no peace and stillness inside. It is a very live wire, electric shock kind of experience that I can feel in my body. I cannot be still and must keep doing and planning for the next do-ing when one thing was nearing completion. Although I don’t know what this anxious buzz is, my little self knows it must be vanquished
As I am growing, I try role playing, I make different kinds of friends, I seek out new experiences……anything to get rid of the guzz guzz gruzz anxious buzz. Perchance, I dance, I discover the freedom and catharsis and pure fluid relief that movement can bring…..somewhere in that experience, the buzz gets a little faint, sometimes, if I’m lucky, it is so faint, it is almost gone. I realize I have a possible solution, I feel elation even in the buzz that still scourges on.
Whenever I am angry or upset, the buzz pulls my whole body taut, like a stretched violin bow. The sound that I hear and feel inside is like the highest pitch on the violin. I feel the tautness more than I hear the high pitched sound. When someone is yelling at me or a friend is saying unfriendly things to me like she doesn’t want to me my friend, the sound inside me is louder and more dominant than the yelling or the unfriendly tone of my friend itself.
I also discovered that slamming the door shocks the buzz into a state of freeze. It is like the buzz is still there, but doesn’t move. It is frozen. Then I discover when I lock myself in a room with music, drape my dupattas just so, and stare into the long mirror on my dad’s Godrej almirah, I can transform into another character and I dance and I spin……and boy! can I spin…… In the dancing and in the spinning somewhere in an uncertain space….there is a moment, sometimes longer of bliss. The buzz is gone, oh so momentarily, such a will o the wisp, almost like that special moment when your child did something unique or funny and then it was gone.
I am in the 9th grade. I am fiercely competitive. I love learning and still do, but I also vociferously want to always stand first. I put myself through all this self-imposed expectation and then there are all those fat ICSE textbooks that need to be studied. And I remind myself that I must not lose my rank because my Hindi is not good enough. Exams stress me out and I have these horrible migraines. It’s like my head will explode and burst. I am short tempered, the smallest thing will annoy me and I am drinking coffee and studying at night. Coffee helps intoxicate the buzz, so it doesn’t grab attention over the books.
I am in college. Someone I know throws a toffee wrapper on the ground, just because they know I will pick it up, and I do. I am called Captain Planet and it’s not funny. When someone is sarcastic as some people just are, my entire body goes into clamp down mode. It’s like in Prison Break, when there’s a security breach and the alarms are buzzing and red lights are flashing the order is lost and all the heavy iron bars and doors are racing with the siren to clamp down and shut down. It’s all inside my body; my mind is completely aware and able to make sense and to just ignore the comments. I cannot emphasize enough that this is what I feel entirely in my physical body alone.
The anxious buzz made an over achiever out of me, not allowing me to be, just do do and do….it’s not entirely a bad thing to be charged up for achieving, but oh those moments of silent bliss, where there is no background score, just a feeling of lightness and quietness and a silence could give me the feeling of being ‘rested’.
At some point I realized the entire quest of my life had been to get rid or quieten the guzz guzz gruzz anxious buzz.. I had dancing highs, Vipassana highs, yoga highs and love highs.)These highs were the silent symphony and it was becoming more frequent. I sought it …….always. I remember sitting in psychology class and hearing about self-actualization and wondering if that was what those moments of silent symphony were.
I never spoke to anyone about this anxious buzz in my body; I just assumed everyone must have it in their body. I want to say here, that origin of the buzz was in my body and its effect on the mind was completely an escalation of the physical experience of it. Though like everyone I have challenges in my personal and professional life, the buzz was only further escalated at these times….but it always existed.
It would also feel an excruciating overwhelm physically to be in the presence of many people… The anxious buzz would feed on other people’s vibrations. If someone is angry, even a random women fighting for a seat on a crowded local train, the buzz in me would go befriend her energy. So the buzz was gathering unto itself all energies it came in contact with.
Travelling in Mumbai was a hellish experience anyway and add the buzz to it; it would feel like I am gathering energies of random people that tend to be restless, hasty, quick to anger and racing. Being in local trains was so excruciating, with the energies of women that had woken up too early to cook and pack tiffin’s and catch the right bus to catch the right train and get a seat so they could chant or chat before they went on in exactly 18.55 minutes into the next necessity. I invested in a Walkman and listened to the best of Gypsy Kings or Madonna hanging on that central pole of the train by the door, alighting at every stop, safeguarding that final step before the train left for my feet to find, space, my hands to find space, my ears were plugged in, listening to Madonna….. “Just like a prayer I’m going to take you there.”
I experience many moments of sometimes extended silent symphony as my yoga practice gets stronger. I have experienced that with Latin American dance, which really calls to me with its unsurpassed joie de vivre, the silent symphony is shorter and further between. A month in the Himalayas studying yoga begins healing a terrible L5 slip disc that doctors said was only degenerative because of my congenital scoliosis (irregular curvature of the spine to one side, also a midline defect) and brings me experiences of silent symphony that I only later read about in books from great masters.
A few years later my time spent in Bermuda, quite deeply immersed in my yoga practice in the lap of nature, and in dance too bring home to me a discovery of personal truth. Not as flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods, but rather, as butterflies, sheltered in a cocoon of grace as we go through intense and necessary periods of metamorphosis, because fly we must, it is our very nature to do a fluttering dance, that comes from the stillness within our bodies and beings, dancing in rhythm to change that is inevitable.
guzz guzz gruzz goes the anxious buzz….it is not gone yet…will it ever?
Click here to read Part 2 : The Silent Symphony