There was panic a few years ago, but you guys talked me off the entirely metaphorical ledge. On the other end of the drama there's the fretting and stewing I do about choosing the right dress or the right word of the year. Even I know that's silly and that it's not really worrying me. Then there's worry, and that's been occupying rather a lot of my psychic space these days.
Reasonable? Unreasonable? I really couldn't say. Things might, in fact, go badly, and my worrying will be proven true. Those of us who are worriers think that, on some level, our worry holds the universe together. What, I ask you, will happen if I stop worrying about my children???? It's not the only thing I do with (or for, depending on your perspective) them, but it's one of the services I provide.
Yet, as I stared at the ceiling for most of last night worrying -and most emphatically NOT sleeping- I realized two things. First, while I worry about anything and everything, I worry most uselessly and repetitively when I feel powerless -frequently about a particular thing. So the thrashing around about many little things is to hide the really big thing I can't/won't/don't deal with.
OK. There's probably a solution for that.
Then... worry is sort of the antithesis of the word of the year. I don't want to get all The Secret-y about this, because there is so much absolutely dangerous crap in those ideas I'd scandalize myself by allying with them. But, let's try this line of thought. With our words of the year, we say to the universe and our subconscious, "here's the dream." I'm working toward.... this. It might be balance or zest or courage or architecture, in my case. We know -really, we do- that the universe might provide something quite different. But we're saying that we are opening up space for this new perspective or focus in our lives. To borrow from my latent Catholicism, we are co-creators of our reality.
Now -and bear with me, here- couldn't worry do the same thing, only backwards? With all the time that I spend fretting about the jillions of things that could go wrong, am I not a little bit guilty of using that power of co-creation thoughtlessly? I throw these thoughts out into the universe, my subconscious hears them, and sets about creating exactly that scenario? Establishing a word of the year is a mindful process. Worry is mind-less, in a big, big way.
So... what to do? I need to acknowledge the things I'm feeling powerless about and claim the power that is authentically mine in those situations. There are things I can do to change the powerlessness (to some extent) and there are things I can do to create an entirely new situation. These are long-term plans. Right now, I have to ride out the storm and live toward my word of the year, actually. Build the infrastructure of this new life not so that you have perfect control (what is that, anyway?) but so that fewer things terrify you.
And I need to be mindful. I need to pay attention to where I put my thoughts. I need to do more than that, of course, but that would be a good start. When I was most panicked about my life, you all encouraged me to think of one small thing I could do to move forward. Tiny was entirely acceptable. (You're a great crowd!) The second one of those repetitive thoughts happens, I can replace it with "What is this trying to teach me? I am powerful. What can I do about it?"
If nothing else happens, maybe I'll get some sleep.