Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chipping Away At Worry

The last month has been a very introspective and enlightening time for me. Things are always shifting and changing – sometimes in very turbulent ways – but this period of time has been different. I have been less shaken by the physical changes in my life.

I’d like to say I’ve learned to trust the Universe and have truly accepted that everything will work out for my best and highest good. Perhaps I have become more trusting. At least I am allowing myself the benefit of the doubt these days and give myself a little credit for growing, which is certainly an improvement. But it’s more likely I have just burned out on maintaining my high stress level. I’m done with the constant worry. My give-a-damn is busted.

If worrying was an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. My mind has always jumped ahead to land on the next possible disaster. I’m always looking ahead to the worse case scenario, the logic being that if I plan for that, I’ll be prepared. And being prepared is the closest you can come to being in control when your world falls apart.

A few months ago, I saw this quote at a coffee shop: “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” I’ve taken that to heart, finally. It hasn’t been easy. Changing your mind’s habits is a struggle that requires persistence and vigilance. You gain ground in inches, not feet. And sometimes you need to hear the same thing said in different ways over and over again. At some point it all starts to coalesce when the conditions are right and you’re ready to do things differently.

I think the shift for me came when I realized what I’ve accomplished and survived. I began to look back and give myself credit for the long haul through the wilderness. When I looked ahead at possible obstacles, I found myself thinking, “been there, done that.” I guess when you’ve put out enough fires, you stop worrying about how to handle the next one. You gain confidence in your ability to deal with whatever arises. But you can only truly gain that confidence if you take the time to step out of the fear long enough to objectively assess the road you’ve traveled.

Don’t be surprised when your ego shows up to coax you back into fear mode to maintain that sense of separation. For me, a little voice arose to question my sudden surrender. Had apathy set in? You’re being lazy! Are you so depressed that you just don’t care anymore? It was a good try, but I found myself enjoying time with friends, spending time nurturing myself with walks and meditation, and gaining interest in creative activities again. Certainly not the behavior of someone who has given up.

Some doors are opening and others are threatening to close, but I’m not worried about it. I’m focusing on the opportunities ahead and taking time to just breathe. It’s been so long since I’ve had my feet under me. I just want to enjoy being in the eye of the storm for a while, experiencing balance and peace amidst the chaos. I want to absorb that feeling so I can carry it with me. Learning to hold that peace as you walk through life is the answer to everything.