Worry sunset with boatsworry dinner on boardWorry?  I am just back from a wonderful family vacation… multifaceted, rich, sweet, full of warm connections, poignant and funny stories, several profound insights.

What a grand and amazing thing it is to be human!  How lucky we are for this astounding opportunity!

You may have seen some photos on Facebook  or gotten some texts about our holiday adventures.  Here a few more pix.  worry jill on deckworry hike group

All good, eh?  So what about worry?  Why is that in the title?  While there was not a lot of worry on this trip, there was some, and its power to shape our reality really grabbed me. For whatever blessed combination of reasons, I myself am not prone to worry.  But for many, putting attention on what can go wrong, “giving way to anxiety, and allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles,” is a compelling habitual mental pattern.  And tomes have been written on attention, habits of mind, how to stop worrying, its causes, consequences.

This is summer, and I want to keep it light and brief :-), so I’ll limit this to one insight landed with me.  It comes from a question that a grandchild asked me, actually several times, on different occasions when something had happened.  It was, “Grandma, do you think I should be worried?”  I loved it!  The question gave us a chance to talk about the situation, the process of worrying, what happens when we do, what if we don’t… what an opportunity!  And better still, the question highlighted the perspective that “to worry, or not to worry” is a choice!

worry imagination misuse You probably know that worry NEVER helps.  It was fun to be able to answer the question, “Should I be worried?”, with a clear NO.  You should not worry.  Worrying never is the right response to any situation.  Scoping out what to do if something goes wrong, keeping an eye on the situation at hand:  jellyfish in the water, jumping on a trampoline, fast traffic on a wet night, travelling to a foreign country… yes.  It’s smart to being alert, aware, careful.  But should I worry?  No.worry good bad

“Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes,” a dear friend once said.  Easier said than done, granted, but not at all impossible.  Do what’s needed when something goes south.  But don’t worry ahead of time.  Where we put our attention really affects everything — from our immune system and well-being, all the way up to the energy and level of consciousness on the planet.

Oh, and one last insight: many people learned, from parents, grandparents, or just grooved the pattern deeply, that worrying is the way you show that you care.  If you care, you worry.  Well, guess what, that’s wrong!  We can care deeply, and not worry.

worry today's peaceIn closing a couple of useful links and resources.

25 Empowering Quotes, funny and insightful, on Worrying

The Worry Solution, by Martin Rossman.  This is from a newly discovered site about the mind-body connection, The Healing Mind.  It looks great.

The Book of Joy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams.  These wise people talk at some length about cultivating compassion and eschewing negative states of mind, including the focus on negativity that defines worry.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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