This phrase, meaning “rigid” or a person who has difficulty adjusting and readjusting to their changing environment, comes to mind when continuing our conversation about anchors. Specifically, how do we know if we are anchored in solid foundation, or in the mud? My answer is, we can tell by the way we feel.

When we drop our anchor in solid ground, we are not immune from turmoil, storms and rough waters. But there is a sense that we are tethered to something that will secure us, or at least support our ability to be flexible without being chaotic, disordered and reckless.

When I am anchored in secure foundation, I feel safe. Not shielded, just capable. I might not celebrate what is happening: A friend gets sick, a project is not going the way I intended, I am having trouble navigating Zach’s care requirements, violence and hatred surround us. I can’t prevent these things or control them. But when I am exercising, eating well, sleeping enough and meditating, I have a sense of well being. I don’t “like” what is happening, but I know I can handle it. That feeling, lets me know I am anchored in a secure place.

By contrast, when our anchor is dropped in the mud, or anywhere that is not stable, we can also tell because of how we feel. There is anxiety, an unsettled undercurrent, even fear. Despite being anchored, I am not confident. I feel out of control, scared and am grasping for stability. I don’t “like” what is happening, AND I don’t know if I can handle it. That feeling, lets me know my anchor is in the wrong place.

This awareness can be a great insight, a call for us to re-evaluate where we have dropped our anchors. Maybe the relationship we have enjoyed has changed, and is no longer life giving. Maybe the work we have invested in requires a new focus, even a new job. Perhaps our finances are not reflective of self care, or philanthropy which, if we value those things, will throw us off course. Maybe we are poisoning our physical bodies, or our minds with toxic inputs.

When there are blue skies, our anchors are usually stable. It can be hard to tell if changes are needed, since we feel secure in the beautiful weather. But when the winds, rain, thunder and lightening hit, I like to see if I can distinguish between feeling capable and grounded, although saddened, vs. feeling like I am grasping and being thrown around by my environment, and saddened, but scared it can take me down with it.

When the former, I stick to my fundamental commitments: eating, breathing, moving, sleeping, meditating, praying and being grateful. When the latter, I ask myself if my fear and insecurity are because of the situation, or rooted in my failure to be anchored in solid ground. If I have gotten distracted and over invested in extrinsic rewards, I know I have reached the threshold of stability, and need to move my anchor to new ground, one that can hold me safely until the storms pass. Which they always will, when I pay attention to how I feel.

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