Expat Living, Learnings
Comments 16

on anxiety’s remedies

Somaliland Somalia game

Garden. Envelope yourself in nature’s miracles, connect with the soil, shovel and rake under an African sun, plant seeds with heartfelt intention for a bountiful harvest. Water the earth deeply, allow life forces to run through you. Ruminate with impressive focus over every brown-thumbed failure of the last several years, especially the tomatoes riddled with bottom-rot for no apparent reason. Wonder what kohlrabi is, exactly, and how it ended up among this bunch of seeds. With a mouthful of dirt blown in on a sudden wind, speculate on the soil composition and, more importantly, whether it’s happy to be confined to your yard. Consider that the seeds you’re planting are likely GMO monsters delivered via Amazon to invade and oppress local species. Become completely befuddled over whether it’s cold enough to grow broccoli and hot enough to grow tomatoes. Lament the devastating drought of 2017. You should probably just hand over those seeds to a real farmer. Throw up your hands, go for a shower.


Bake bread. Develop a sourdough starter in earnest over the course of a week. Immerse yourself in coaxing its strength and pungent aroma. When the moment is (quite literally) ripe, take three full days of meditative stamina to lovingly craft two mediocre loaves. Eat slices toasted for a few meals, and then feed the remainder to the goats in the road who regularly consume plastic bags and therefore have more forgiving palates. Forego the long game in favor of more immediate gratification, in the form of English muffins and sourdough brownies. After a string of lousy outcomes, stow the starter in the fridge for “next time.” Each time you open the refrigerator door, consider that the chilled yeast has a universal right to self-determination via a hot oven. Wrack yourself with guilt over wild, nameless, microscopic forces of life imprisoned by your ineptitude in a chilly mason jar.

english muffins

Actually meditate. Download an app that, thrillingly, indicates all other users meditating in the same moment, cast as dots across a world map. Immerse yourself in this joyful community of people who probably do this a lot better than you do. Set the timer to five minutes. Consider whether you set a low bar for yourself in all aspects of your life. Set the timer to ten minutes. Remember that you have 14 things to do before the day officially begins, and set the timer back to five minutes. Allow all the nagging thoughts of errands and obligations and forgotten tasks to simply fall away… so that deeper fears of self-doubt and wasted purpose can really come to the fore and shine. Glance down at the timer, notice you’ve winningly achieved 43 seconds of mindful bliss. Add the State of Nirvana to your dream destination list, pack it in and get on with your day.


**Notes from the struggle.


  1. Zied says

    Hi Erin,
    Gardening is indeed a great anti-anxiety activity, provided that as you said we have the right seeds, the right soil composition and don’t forget global warming, this year, The hot summer ruined our pomegrenate harvest, and burned the jasmin tree. Only olive trees survived, olive trees don’t need any gardening , they’re survivors. i also planted basil in a well-furnished soil composition with a nice view, i Invested a a considerable amount of time and money in that soil, l had 3 basil leafs. But i’m trying to be thankful for whatever mother-nature is offering. That soil was perfect though, This year i only took care of the two Olive trees. They’re my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Basil is supposed to be hardy, but I’ve never done well with them on purpose; they’ve only grown successfully without any intervention from me. I would love to see the survivor olive trees. Photos very welcome!


  2. I love all these. Last week I made mandazi, I am sure you have come across these in your travels. It was so relaxing. And just now I was just thinking about what to plant next in my tiny garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The struggle is real!

    Your meditation app sounds cool. I recently started meditating (well, attempting to do a daily practice, but often failing) using a guided meditation podcast and it’s great for ten minutes while I’m actually listening. But then my mind starts up again…. Oh well, maybe it will get easier with time!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Toda La Pesca says

    Oh my, the struggle is all too real… if time and terrain allow, I also recommend walking the anxiety into exhaustion.


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