I used to be a big worrier but now I think I have only 10% of that amount left in me. My beloved late uncle used to say, “Hurry and worry are the biggest threat to someone’s life”. If I look back at something that had troubled me in the past and then analysed what had actually happened, I could see that all the horrible things I had thought that might have happened, never did. So why did I worry? There might have been childhood insecurities as sometimes I did not have enough to eat or wear. My dad worked long hours and I was worried I would not see him. But anyway, I have met others who had exactly the same circumstances but not as huge worriers as me. So perhaps it was genes. Whatever it was, it was not good that I used to grind my teeth at night (I still wear a teeth protector at night), bite my finger and fidget endlessly. So I am pleased that it has all but gone now. What do I do now?
Apparently this method for not worrying was discovered by Willis H Carrier- the inventor of modern air conditioning. According to him there are three steps-
1. Work out what is the worst that could happen in a situation (usually never happens)
2. Acceptance of the ‘worst position’- what a relief this step is!
3. Work out how to remedy the situation in step 2 (most of the time we never get to step 2 or 3)
A few weeks ago, I had a letter from the tax office who were querying some figures I had given. I was about to go away so I asked for some time to respond. Instead of worrying, I calmly went about collecting the information they had asked for before I left so that I could enjoy my holiday in peace. I also thought about what the worst situation I could face- perhaps a fine. So I looked at my bank balance and realised that I could pay a small fine off. Eventually I sent off the letter and today I got a reply which said the tax office had accepted the figures and evidence I had given them. A few years ago, I would have probably bitten my entire hand with worry even before sending anything off. That hurry and worry go together as my Uncle said is so true- a calm acceptance and analysis of a situation can help us through worry.
So what about that 10% of worry that is still left in me? I actually think it is good- it keeps me on my toes and urges me to take action. If I was so indolent, then I would be careless too. Excessive worry does not keep us in the moment- it takes us into the unknown future or the unchangeable past. Worry is not empowering- let it go! As Kalidasa, the ancient Indian poet says below so eloquently, we need to live in the present moment-
Exhortation of the Dawn!
Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And To-morrow is only a Vision;
But To-day well lived makes
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!