Live, I say, live your worries through
and your spirit will wake from it’s fever,
and you will want others like soup.
I really like this quote from Mark Nepo, as it brings me comfort, as a worrier. I remember when my children were young, I worried on a daily basis. I worried about them being kidnapped after Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped. I worried about them being in a place where the building might blow up, after 9/11. I worried about them growing up in a country that had lost so many freedoms in the aftermath of 9/11. I still worry about them: finding girlfriends who are keepers, finding jobs that are satisfying, moving out of the house before we do, etc. I am an expert at worrying.
My trick, when the kids were young, was to lie in bed and allow my imagination to take my brain to the worst possible scenerio. I would be crying and grieving for this worst case, and only then would my heart realize that it was only my imagination, and I should be happy for THIS moment in which my kids were in their beds all tucked in and safe. This method, which I don’t necessarily recommend, did the trick for me at the time.
As I got older, and wiser, I hope, I decided that my method above was too emotionally draining. It took too much energy to realize that my imagination was at play and not reality. That is when I learned to breathe through my worry. On each exhale, I released the worry out into the Universe, where the worry became diluted and was absorbed by the healing oxygen of the world. That image worked a lot better, and it was less emotionally draining.
And then I got pretty sick with my ulcerative colitis. During my flare-ups, things were progressively getting worse, and I worried that it would not stop, that I would waste away to nothing, that I was indeed dying. I used my breathing, but that was hard to sustain when you are worrying nonstop. And that is when I remembered something from my past. If you stop and take your attention to JUST the breath, you are in the present. If you are in the present, there is no past, and there is no future.
I began to breathe into the present. Just taking my attention to my breathing, and releasing all other thoughts, if only for one minute or two minutes or 15 minutes, I would actually notice my pain and discomfort go away, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I told myself that I was free from pain in THIS moment. I realized most of our pain is emotionally attached to either the past or the future, and we can live more comfortably by staying in the present. Just like when we are in a state of shock, and adrenaline kicks us into the present moment, we can create our own adrenaline in a safe way by breathing into the present.
Today, when I start to worry, I remind myself that being present in my breathing, all my worries, aches, and pains go away. There is no past nor future. There is only THIS MOMENT.
Try it the next time you are worried. If you want some assistance with your breathing, check out my videos and follow along with a ten minute breathing episode.