There were paper dolls all over the floor of the back seat of the car I waited in after the accident. I was 5 years old and my family were on our way to a family vacation at a resort in French Lick, Indiana, when our car got hit by a drunk driver. My sister broke her nose, my mom had part of her eye brow cut off and my dad a huge bruise on his stomach. My brothers and I who were sitting in the back seat, came through relatively unscathed, physically that is. I had to ride in the ambulance with the truck driver who hit us. I am sure someone else was with me but I don’t recall. I just remember staring at him lying there. My sister had to stay in the hospital and the rest of us got a motel room. That experience taught me when something good is happening …something bad will follow.
My Dad wanted to make up for the vacation that never was and for the accident. So later that year, he flew us all to Florida. What I remember most about it is lots of water, and that my sister and I got new matching outfits, she always had the red version and mine was blue. It would seem that experience would teach me that after something bad, something good would follow, but that didn’t stick.
The following summer we went to a family camp somewhere in the woods. It was a boys YMCA camp that had one week dedicated to families. Our family shared a cabin and there was swimming and other activities. We were having a great time and then my dad got a call. His mother, my Bubby, died. We packed up and had to leave before the end of camp.
Those early memories have stayed with me and imprinted fear and worry that when things are good, don’t get too comfortable because something bad may happen. You have to always be on alert! Since getting married and having a child those feelings seem to have heightened. More people to love and more worry and fear of what could happen to them… or to me.
Being on alert is exhausting and keeps away the very thing I crave most – peace. I come from a long line of worriers. I am the youngest of four children and my dad used to say that he had a worry list. When one of us would come off, someone else was sure to jump on. Every time I would travel out of the country, my Mother would try to be excited but her worry and fear she carried about being out in the world was projected on to me which made preparations difficult. In the end, she would give me her blessing understanding my need to explore the world.
I try to be so bold when I let my 11 year old daughter ride her bike to the Red Box kiosk to return a movie or our neighborhood Co-op to buy bread. I try to make sure I have something to focus on so I won’t keep looking at the clock and letting my mind race to all the “What If’s.” When I wasn’t much older than her, I was taking buses and El trains in Chicago by myself to meet friends at Wrigley Field to watch Cub games. Being on the other end now is different, but I tap into the strength of my mother and loosen my grip…slightly.
Now, I am finding that as I get more excited about new work projects and travel that… “what if worry” is getting magnified. The voice that says, “Don’t get too comfortable…don’t feel too happy.” Recent events in the world help to magnify the worry. And it is not even winter yet. That brings along its own worry about weather and safe travels. Although when I am in a heighten state of alert, a beautiful sunny day and my husband and daughter driving 35 miles north for the morning, can bring on a mild state of anxiety until they return.
Bad things happen …to everyone. No matter how much we hold our breath, no matter how much we worry AND no matter how much we are happy and enjoying life. Being in a state of worry is the opposite of trusting in Spirit/Source/G-d and can put manifesting our desires to a screeching halt. So, how do we shift out of it? Here are some things I find helpful.
1. Focus on what you can control not on what you can’t.
What is going on in your life that you may be avoiding? Is it a project you want to do, something that will move you out of your comfort zone? Is there a self-care item you have been putting off like eating well, exercising, taking care of health concerns, etc. Is there a dream or desire you are ignoring? Focus your attention inward, and check in with yourself. Take action on what you have been avoiding. This will empower you and bring you back to what you can do to support yourself.
2. Meditate, Pray, Write, Get inspired
Take a few minutes to get quiet, out of your head and into your heart. Our heart is the source for truth and wisdom. A real simple thing is to close your eyes, take some deep breaths, put your hand over your heart but not touching, just giving it energy. Ask for a message and connect with what is your truth not your fear. Let whatever feelings are there come up and be released.
If you feel comfort in prayer, which I do, pick up a something that calls to you and read it…or just talk to Spirit. We are never alone and there is always support around you. One of my favorite sources is Marianne Williamson’s book, Illuminata: A Return to Prayer. It contains prayers and wisdom for most things you can think of…even worry.
Writing about what is coming up for you is a healing way to find out what may be the source of fears and help open you to new ideas. Writing is a great way to release what you are holding on to so tightly and tap into the wisdom of your soul.
Connect with your body, move some energy and release some feel good endorphins! Go for a walk, hop on a bike, put on some snow shoes and get out in nature. Put on some music and sing and dance. Play with your animals or as I often doing on the anxious Sundays, go to the Y for a swim!
Focus on what is good in your life and all the love and abundance you do have. I have been keeping a gratitude journal for many years. Most nights before bed, my husband and I write 10 things we are grateful for even on the roughest of days. I always commit to writing 10 even if he falls asleep before we are through. Some days, the list is filled with spectacular things. Most days it is filled with the more mundane like, our cars are still running, leftovers for dinner (yay, no cooking), rain for the garden. What often is written is the phrase – Trust Over Hope.
5. LET GO!
Easy to say right? Truth is, we are not in charge of everyone else and the world around us, as much as we would like to be it is not in our human being job description. We are empowered creators of our desires. When we are in a state of worry, anxiety and fear we squelch that power. Worse yet, we will energize the things we don’t want by focusing on them. I will let you in on a little secret, when my monkey mind starts going to all the crazy negative places, I will say…out loud…even in public places….SHHHH…sometimes my head even shakes! It works. I cut off the negative “what ifs” and move on.
We all deserve good in our lives, and for some of us learning to accept and relish the joy is new and a decision we need to make every day. As Ralph Marston says – “Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.”
TRUST OVER HOPE
Would you like to dive deeper into ways to live a more fulfilling life and learn tools that can forever change you life? Check out Julee’s two upcoming workshops. Or contact Julee to learn about her private coaching opportunities.