My cat is a real night-huntress. And sometimes, when I get up in the morning, I don’t find her in her customary position: curled up, sleeping soundly on her blanket. Immediately, irrational fears pop into my head. Where is she? Did something happen? Usually, she comes running into the house five minutes later, meowing loudly, demanding attention. I didn’t have to worry. And still I do.
Worry is a form of fear, which I wrote about in an earlier blog (Emotions). But it’s not the immediate fear that helps us fight or flee when we’re in danger. It’s a more insidious fear: afraid of what we think might happen. Our mind conjures up possible scenarios, we grab onto the worst possible scenario, and start playing it, like a movie, over and over in our heads.
Remember falling in love? Remember worrying every time your beloved didn’t call, show up, pay you a compliment? I certainly do! Your mind starts saying, maybe he/she no longer loves me, maybe… Fear grabs hold of your mind and keeps you from sleeping.
If there is something you could or should do about the situation, to prevent that which you fear from happening, then at least there is a foundation to act from. Then the fear is a signal to act. However, unfortunately, we all tend to worry about things we can’t do anything about.
Yes, if anything happens to that fierce little huntress of mine, I will be very upset and sad. That doesn’t warrant locking her up in the house, however. It’s her nature to hunt and her life is as vulnerable to harm as mine. Worrying about it will not change that.
And if the person you’re in love with, starts drifting away, there’s also very little you can do about it. Worrying will only eat your energy away and cost you valuable sleep.
These are the moments that it’s invaluable to sit, mindfully, with your turmoil of emotions, observing what is happening, accepting it, breathing through it. Or to go out in nature and tell your worries to a tree or bird. Or to write, paint, or dance your feelings. In all things that happen in life, there’s a lesson to learn.
There is an old Mother Goose rhyme that expresses this very well:
For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.