Worrying changes everything. That is the illusion I have when I drop into the realm of consternation and fear; if I worry about all the details, if I plan, if I monitor, if I control I will be able to make things… All right? Go smoothly? Turn out for the best? Avoid the dog knotted mess that I fear they will be? I have so many worries! No matter what I am working on, considering or deciding I have a basket load of fears to go with it.
Home repair? I can perseverate over the timing, the cost, the selection of craftsperson, and so on. I can schedule it and put it off all within the same nanosecond. I can justify the expense and dread the expenditure within the same breath. Once I have soothed myself, made peace with the decision, and moved on I can find something else to take the attention of my negative forecasting.
What about the vacation I am planning? With the weather hold? Will travel be difficult? WIll I pack enough? Pack the right things? Will the accommodations be right? What will I eat? Back I cycle to the packing, back I cycle to the travel, the transf]portation from home to plane, from airport to hotel, over and over again. My brain finds problems and then solutions; and, not satisfied, finds different problems or revisits the same ones. Over and over. It is exhausting.
I go to the doctor with some physical concern. Of course, I have already consulted “Dr. Google” and have an idea about the peril I am in; the nasty nature of my perceived illness; the challenges in getting well. I remember all the past times I have been to the doctor when there was unpleasant news (not the numerous times I have been and been declared incredibly healthy for my age and with my history) this time it will be different. And then my brain goes into my death. Have I left proper instructions for the disposition of my body, my worldly remains, my stuff? Am I going to be a lot of trouble for my loved ones in my passing in that they have to guess what all my crap is for and where it should go? (Do I put little labels on the bottom of things (kid #1, Kid# 2, G-Kid #1, toss, donate etc.) to take the choices away from my survivors or do I let it go? My mind goes from the inconvenient to the morbid in a moment and I have just made the appointment.
Driving to a new location, particularly in dusk or dark can send me over the edge. Making a new recipe for dinner can trigger this worry. Even remembering situations from the past can resurrect past worries and lay them over current events; what happened then influencing the now. Done enough the dam may break and I begin to worry about the repair, the travel, the health issues all over again.
The joke that life plays on me is that the more I worry – the more I find to worry about. I become super skilled in the process of prognosticating disaster.
Worrying changes how I am in the moment, what control I imagine I have over my life, keeps my brain pursuing the possibilities of difficulty, pain, and disaster. I seldom spend time fantasizing about how wonderful things will be. I know there are people who do and that amazes me. When I get into future tripping it is always the difficult and in that process, I ruin what is going on right now. My mind is in the dark and I suffer.
Worrying changes nothing. My fears and concerns do not impact the future. Of course, I take footsteps to do my side of the deal, to plan, to prepare; but when I start writing the scene for others, try to influence their actions and responses, I have jumped my rails. I have become derailed into despair. My worrying robs me from enjoying the moment, of experiencing curiosity, of learning. When my mind is using all that it thinks and all that it thinks it knows – there is no room for new. No new information, no unpredictable outcomes, no unforeseen result. And it is in that newness, that I can grow, I can be surprised, I can flex my muscles of adaptation and assimilation.
There is a reason for my worry and concern and it has to do with my past, the unuseful patterns of thinking, the illusions of control, the feelings that I, alone, am master of my fate. None of these are true; I am not in control of others, the weather, street lights or diagnosis. I am only able to amend my own thought processes to allow me a more amenable present and, thus, a more amenable future. I also can learn to trust myself; I won’t endanger my ability to have housing by repairing my house, I won’t explode if I don’t have the right clothes when I travel, we will all adapt if the weather is not optimal when we are on vacation, if I get lost getting somewhere I will find my way back. I have experienced all of these things and I am fine. Build on this knowledge and, a little at a time, let go of the worries. It will take time to repair this thought process; to hold the future more loosely, to trust. So being kind to myself in this process, as in so many, is key.
Worrying in the past has changed nothing. Worrying in the present changes only me, and my enjoyment of my life. Let go of the worries, a little at a time. And in the meantime; don’t worry about it.