No worries, my friends…Things are looking up!
Two days ago, the ten-day weather forecast for L.A. said that is was going to rain on Sunday, meaning our son’s wedding plans would be washed out. Obviously, I worried about that. What mother wouldn’t? Everything would be ruined! But the seven day forecast, as of today, predicts sunshine and 73 degree weather for this weekend! Crisis averted. Hooray!
Next, I sent the literary agent a response, thanking her for taking the time to read my manuscript, reiterating that the book isn’t finished and probably needs another 6 months of editing and rewrites. She sent me such a kind reply. She told me not to worry, she understood that the material was in rough form, and that I could resend it to her whenever it was complete. Crisis averted. The door is still open.
I highlight the word worry above, because that is what I want to blah blah blog about today. I spent a month of sleepless nights and hand-wringing anxiety over something I couldn’t control, when in reality, everything was going to turn out fine, as usual.
I don’t know what’s going on with the alignment of the planets right now (mercury in retrograde, no doubt), but it seems like all my friends are in a deep place of worry and pain, too.
Nine out of ten times, the things we lose sleep worrying about become non-issues down the line. So what causes us (and ladies, you know I’m especially talkin’ to you) to expend so much of our emotional energy on worry? Why do we repeat this crazy useless behavior that never produces the result we want? It’s almost as though we think we can protect ourselves from some terrible fate if we just worry about it enough.
Here’s where I step into the confessional for a moment. I am a recovering self-help junkie. In my basement, there is a closet. In that closet there is a bookshelf, and on those shelves you will find the evidence of my former self-help habit. There are titles like:
When You and Your Mother Can’t Get Along, Healing from Family Rifts, The Dance of Anger, Healing from Anxiety, How to Be Safe in an Unsafe World, Healing Fear, Bradshaw on The Family, I Am My Mother’s Daughter, The Dance of Deception, There Is A Spiritual Solution To Every Problem, The Road from Estrangement to Reconciliation…..on and on.
I keep these books in the basement, and not on display, because I don’t need to broadcast my neurosis to everyone who visits my house. (I’d rather save that for my blog.)
And yes, I am aware that there are many titles with the word Mother in them.
Now you would think reading all those books, (in addition to years of therapy) I would have the tools to navigate my way through worry and anxiety. And you know what? I do! But sometimes it’s like I’m sitting there with a nail in my hand and wondering ….what do I do with this? Meanwhile the hammer is sitting on the ground next to me. Tell me if you can relate to this.
Here is what happens:
I wake in the middle of the night with my heart pounding out of my chest, and then I lie there with the same obsessive thoughts running through my mind. Can’t sleep, can’t eat. (okay that’s a lie, I can eat.) It’s like my mind is a runaway train on its own course to destruction.
Here is what I know:
Worry benefits nothing, and no one.
Worrying about the ones you love doesn’t protect them from harm, but it does harm you.
Worry makes you lose sleep, which leads to more stress.
Stress causes illness and strains relationships.
Here are the tools I keep forgetting to use (sometimes I do remember, thankfully):
If I stay in the present I will find that, unless I am hanging from a ledge at that very moment, everything is fine.
My pain is caused by regretting moments in the past that I can not change, or worrying about something in the future that will most likely never happen. Ninety nine percent of the time, my pain is not in this present moment.
When I resist what is, I suffer. Acceptance of what is brings peace.
As I write this, my dog Stitch is asleep next to me, snoring away. As far as I know, he never worries about anything. He doesn’t worry that a pit bull will eat him (although I do), he doesn’t worry that he won’t have enough to eat, and or that one day I will stop loving him. He doesn’t reflect on the fact that he was found abandoned in the middle of a highway before I adopted him. He lives in the moment. And accordingly, he can fall asleep anywhere at any time, and I am terribly jealous of that fact.
So my parting gift to you today, my dear friends, is to subliminally suggest to you this incredibly annoying song from the 80s, that will most likely become stuck in your head all day, and you will be rightfully pissed off at me. But it’s a good message so I’m gonna do it anyway.
...in your life there may be trouble
when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry….. Be happy
Ooooo ooo ooo ooo oo ooo oo oooo
Don’t worry…ooo ooo oooo Be happy
It will soon pass…