Anxieties

01d6b9f9ae4f2a9c53ffec4cf74615fd44aebe1813I carry with me a card that entitles me to a 15% discount for my next meal at La Taverna. I am holding on to it for reasons I don’t understand, maybe it is gratefulness; gratefulness of having walked out with that card.

Our Afghan colleagues in the office were very solicitous. They know we could have been there. They realize that our vulnerabilities fall into the category of such sudden and unexpected attacks. Theirs are more insidious, the knowledge that this, their home, will remain turbulent and that they have to live with this constant stress of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time, not just, like us, for a few weeks.

Part of my job here is providing a container to hold anxiety. Not the anxiety about violence but the anxiety about the work, about counterparts and clients, about straying outside comfort zones and doing things that are different. Especially when the stakes are high (visibility of the work, attendance of high level people, perceived consequences of failure), the anxiety goes up. I am trying to explain that anything experiential, which is pretty much all I do, by definition requires an experience. No amount of explaining can satisfy the need to completely understand how something will be done. Over the weekend I was holding several anxiety containers, a few Afghan and one African, in my hand, some got a little heavy. When they get too heavy I find myself under stress.

The pace of life is slow compared to the US. I used to have difficulty with that but now I don’t mind. I am more Zen about it. Everything will happen at its own time, not necessarily my clock. As a result some pieces for the strategic planning workshop I will be leading in a few days are not quite in place. They will have to fall in place tomorrow, but even that is beginning to look a little iffy. Hopefully I have buffered my timing enough to accommodate pieces looking for a place to fall in during the workshop itself.

I checked out the names on the participant lists and found several people invited (doesn’t mean they will come) who I know from my previous tenure here. A few of them I worked quite closely with and I wrote them to say I look forward to greeting them the day after tomorrow. But then several of the emails bounced.

Our colleague from DC arrived yesterday so we are now three (ladies) in the guesthouse, which is nice company, since we will be spending much more time there than I had planned, given our restricted movements.

2 Responses to “Anxieties”


  1. 1 sietske van den broek January 20, 2014 at 2:23 am

    Dear Sylvia, Ben zo geschrokken dat ik even niet kon schrijven. Ben blij met je. Blij dat je er bent. Als je zegt: e-mail’s were bounced. Wil dat zeggen: niet kunnen afleveren, ze (personen) zijn er niet meer……….?? Sietske Bon van den Broek Stommeerweg 131 1431 EV Aalsmeer tel: 00 31 (0) 297-32 12 03 mob: 00 31 (0) 6 25 05 88 70 http://www.serrelong.com

    • 2 svriesendorp January 20, 2014 at 5:34 am

      Lieve Siets, ja allemaal even schrikken. Bounced betekent alleen maar dat ze een andere email hebben; ze bestaan nog. Ik kende geen van de slachtoffers maar wel mensen die ze kenden. Veel slapeloze nachten voor hen.


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