Worried about anything today?

How does worry affect your life, your creativity, your writing?

I look back over the last few months and see times I was happy and content from day to day without much worry.  I like to think most of my life is that peaceful, at least in my mind. Then there are times when everything changes, and I swear the sky is falling.  It adds support to our jokes about the time of the full moon, when it seems that all the crazy events and crazy people come out at the same time and plague our lives. I don’t think there has been a full moon lately, has there?

I never considered myself a worrier before I had kids. I thought I was a fearless problem-solver who embraced change.  Well, I had kids, got older, lived through or watched several traumatic events (as we all do) and somehow worry slips in all on it’s own.

Today I am writing from a personal perspective on worry. So, I thought I would share with you a few of the events and thoughts I had during my worry week and how I have dealt with it all.

My week went like this…

Friday I decided to use my extra energy to clean our bushes and rock gardens. I overestimated my physical abilities, as usual, and came down with a major pain episode for the next few days. I thought that  taking a break would help, so I read more books and watched TV shows I thought would be informative and interesting. Little did I know that it all added to my growing sense of worry.

Saturday – Pain can always manage to kick up a little worry.”What if I will never be able to do what I want in life, what if it becomes worse, what if it doesn’t go away this time…” I listened to the whining in my head while I was resting, wishing I could be out riding bikes with my kids.

I began worrying about our financial situation, which, no matter what state it is in, has always brought worry to me over the last 25 years. “This economy is never going to turn around.” So, I bought a lottery ticket because the Power Ball is getting above 200 million, it is finally high enough that it is worth winning. And I have always been convinced in my heart that I am destined to win it one day. Worry is subsided until after the drawing….  Didn’t win, but no one else did either, will get more tickets for Wednesday’s drawing.

Sunday – I relaxed by reading the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani (thanks Deanna Schrayer – I love these books). But the events in the book started triggering my own issues and events from the past. I felt sadness and grief and worry for the future.  So much for that plan.

Whine…whine… I really should be writing…”

Monday -I decide to boost my health knowledge by watching Dr. Oz. The topic today is Five Questions Women Over 40 Should Ask Their Doctor. Dr. Oz talked about all the degeneration that happens in your 40s and how much more at risk you are for serious illness. “I’m going to die and early death…”

I decide to celebrate Earth Day early by watching American ExperienceSeeds of a New Revolution: Earth Days (you can see the entire episode at this link). This was a wonderful special about the history of the environmental movement, but they described the problems today as catastrophic. “We are going to destroy the Earth and we will all be dead in a few years…”

I notice I am behind on writing, need to do Friday post, friday flash, geez, need to skip again…”I’m never going to get traction in my writing life…”

Tuesday – I listened to, Exploring National Security in ‘CyberWar‘ (GMA on ABC- Interview with Richard Clarke on Tuesday). Richard warned about the threat of Cyber War between the major nations of the world.  The military plans to wage the next war in cyber space and all the countries are practicing and ramping up for this kind of war. He said that most of our personal computers have already been penetrated and some foreign government can harness the power and create a network of control over millions of computers. “There is no where to hide, they are coming after us…”

Someone at my kid’s school calls and is threatening to change their special programming for next year. I jump into action and rally the troops to get what I want . No one is going to ruin my kids chance to get into the right college if they are not in the right programs in fourth grade – “why can’t everyone like me and agree with me…”

“Behind on writing, mother’s day blog is due soon…”

I ruminate over recent emails, “…damn relatives, who do they think they are treating me this way, they have all lost their minds…”

I think about all that needs to be done. “Haven’t been on Twitter enough – I miss my friends, they are having fun without me… will they forget about me?

Wednesday -I watched Food, Inc. on POV on Public Television (you can see the entire episode through April 29th-follow the link).

This video put me over the edge. I have seen these stories before and read quite a bit about the horrible food supply we have in the US. I had to close my eyes when they showed the poor animals in the feed lots & factories treated badly, diseased and sick. They described how a few companies control most of our food supply and the prevalent contamination of our food will continue.  I learned about the evil way Monsanto treats the farmers.The blackmailing, threatening, investigating and suing of the family farmer (by Monsanto) that is going on today made me sick. The overwhelming power of these conglomerates and the changes in our food supply in the past 10 – 20 years is disgusting. I couldn’t sleep for hours. “We’re all gonna die…”

Thursday –  I decided that was enough craziness. It’s time to take action!

Although there were moments when I thought my condition was terminal, that all my creativity was gone and I would never write again, I figured out that worry was not an enemy waiting to sap my energy (it could be for some people who have chronic and debilitating anxiety), but rather an emotional response that was telling me that I needed some change or needed to take some action in my life. Whether I feel worry, concern, anxiety or agitation, it usually indicates that I need to pay attention to a few things, like:

I may be resisting change. I know what I need to do, but have been whining about it, complaining – too much pain, not enough time, too many interruptions/life events/etc. But it is easy to forget that life is always changing. Accept the change, go with it and see what each moment will bring.

I am probably projecting fears into the future. Taking on all the problems of the world and worries of those around me can make me feel vulnerable and helpless.Listening to all the doomsday predictions, the overwhelming conglomerates taking over our lives, the threat to our security all in one week is scary. It all may be real, but trying to predict how it will affect us and assuming the worst is counter-productive. We have real problems in our world, but they require aware action, not worry. And, I can’t take on the worry of someone else, that is not the way to care about them. I also can’t control the behavior of those I don’t like or agree with, as much as I would love that special power.

I am not living in the present moment. I want to launch myself out of pain, resist what is in my life now, project a scary future, hold on to past indiscretions done to me, pile my entire TO DO list onto myself at once, and try to control how other people respond to me. This is all the control freak known as the “ego” inside  pretending to be the one in control.

I forgot what it means to be at peace. Peace is only an inner state. It doesn’t depend on external events. That is one of our biggest misunderstandings about how to get peace in our lives. I realize I have been sucked into the myth by seeking peace through trying to control my world. I searched for that delicate balance of taking action, but not getting wrapped up in the outcomes. To me, that is a really hard habit to break.

Increased awareness always comes with it the responsibility to act.  With increased awareness of what changes are needed, we are the ones who can take action and make a difference. And, bottom line, present moment awareness is really our own defense against worry. In that state is the only time we can engage in right actions for the good of ourselves and others.

Then, I found:

In Praise of Flow is a post written by Joanna a guest post on Confident Writing: Because Our Words Count.  Joanna has an interesting website called Join the Dance. I really appreciate her contemplative approach to writing and photography. She reminded me to slow down, be more mindful, observe closely. In that space, worry evaporates. It feels so good to be reminded of the natural creativity all around us and within us.

How have you been doing this week? How does worry affect your life and creativity?  I hope you are experiencing peace this week.

The #writerlbsOff final party will be held next Friday. I have lots of fun and merriment planned!