A case of the What Ifs

“We already have all the time there is.
We can’t make more of it, we can only enjoy the time we have.”
~ Paul Pearsall

So the past few days I’ve had trouble sleeping in spite of various remedies (scullcap and some other herbal sleep aids, sleepytime tea, counting backwards from 333, checking my horoscope, etc.). Periodically when the light goes out I get a severe case of the “what ifs”.

  • What if this year flies by without me accomplishing what I want to do?
  • What if my money runs out before I have a viable business set up?
  • What if my upcoming trip is a total disaster?
  • What if something happens to the home or cat while I’m away?
  • What if nobody likes my business?

In spite of watching numerous documentaries on how the Greeks overcame major disasters and humanity still lives to tell the tale, my perspective vanishes at bedtime. Somehow the inner worry-wart still seeks that certainty, the assurance that everything will be alright.

In broad daylight I know it will. I love sitting by the lake and watching its ebb and flow–the waves sometimes calm, sometimes rough–for days, seasons, years and centuries on end. I enjoy seeing the flowers emerge, and the trees come out of hibernation, slowly returning back to life after protecting themselves from a long winter. I know the lilies and birds are taken care of, and so am I.

Yet, I sometimes have fears of the good stuff too.

  • What if Greece is so much fun I won’t want to leave?
  • What if my life is changed irrevocably by the actions I am taking today?
  • What if my business ideas are so successful that I’ll be stretched in too many directions?

And yes, Kelly Rae Roberts just reminded me this week to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous (YES I AM! Even according to Fortune, I’m “basically OK” in my fear of success.)

The brain sometimes insists on going in circles in spite of myself, in spite of all the planning I have done for this particular year, in spite of knowing that things have always worked out even in unexpected circumstances, and in spite of all the inspirational quotes and stories in the world.

“Here are some bits of good news: You’re going to suffer from severe stress, never live up to your own expectations, few will live up to your expectations, you’re going to feel that life is not fair, you’ll think many others are more fortunate and happy than you are, you’ll never have enough money, you’ll get sick and die, and you’ll worry about this most of your life.

This is good news because all of these experiences mean that you are alive and fully absorbed in life. Achieving serenity is not changing any of these facts; it’s wishing for the spiritual resiliency to be able to accept life’s side effects with grace and peaceful gratitude for the gift of life.”

~ Paul Pearsall in Wishing Well

I guess the key is to go with the flow and remember that the brain’s need for security cannot be met.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.â”

~ Helen Keller in The Story of My Life


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