Imagination Redirected Worry Released by Cylvia Hayes

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Worry.  I have spent countless hours, days, cumulatively years of my life worrying.  Worry about money, about having enough, or not.  Fearful imaginings of what might come stirring up that gnawing, terrified feeling of scarcity and instability.  Fretting about performance, would I be good enough to get the job done, to impress?  Angst stoking deep insecurities.  Worry about loved ones, relationships, people who were kind to me, people who weren’t. 
 
Worry about what we are doing to each other and this beautiful planet.  Nervous foreboding leaving me feeling small and powerless. 
 
At some point I learned the concept that we attract into our lives what we focus our thoughts on.  Then I worried about worrying!
 
Yesterday during my morning meditation I realized I was doing it again.  I was worrying about money, worrying about getting my career moving again, worrying about all the things on my “To Do List”. 
 
Then, I had a profound realization.  Every single truly, deeply traumatic, life-changing thing that has ever happened to me – the episodes of abuse, horrific injuries, the public shaming – were things I had never worried about.  These were things I hadn’t seen coming.  Out of the blue, they just reared up and hammered down. 
 
Most of the things I’ve poured my worry into, drained my energy imagining, stirred my fear into a gut-churning tempest over, never came to pass.  In every instance the reality that unfurled was not as bad as the terrible visions I’d conjured in my mind.  It reminds me of a Mark Twain note I saw somewhere, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”  Amen brother. 
 
Moreover, those truly deeply traumatic events that I hadn’t seen coming, those that were so painful they defy adequate description – they didn’t break me down; they broke me open.  Through the cracks I saw into myself in new ways.  I met the calm, strong presence at my center.  Through those cracks flowed in spectacular beauty from extraordinary ordinary people and this magical world we share. 
 
So, if all my worried imaginings never come to pass anyway, and the really big things are unknown and beyond my capacity to perceive them let alone worry about them, what’s the best approach?  What’s a worrier to do with the existential challenge of realizing that worry is impotent? 
 
I’m going to try an experiment.  Each time I find myself worrying about some possible future problem I am going to take a deep breath and bring my mind back to the present moment.  Then I am going to spend a few moments envisioning that possible future, of which I’d been afraid, unfolding in worry-free beauty, abundance and joy.
 
In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “If one advances in the direction of their dream and endeavors to live the life they are imaging, one passes an invisible boundary.  All sorts of things begin to occur that never otherwise would have occurred.  One meets with a success unexpected in common hours.” 
 
Instead of letting my imagination drag me down, I am going to use it to rise up, to see what I want to be. 

By Cylvia Hayes

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