World Class Worrier

When I was young, I was a real daddy’s girl. I was actually my dad’s mini-me. I ate stinky cheese, oyster stew, and liver and onions, just like he did. Like him, I loved reading about ancient cultures, and I even went with him on amateur archeological digs, unearthing pot shards and arrowheads with my little plastic shovel. I ran to keep up with his long legs through countless museums. We drank Turkish coffee in a mountain village on Cyprus, and explored river caves in Lebanon. And we both loved the harness races at the Ohio State Fair. He stood with me at graduations and my wedding, and at the birth of my son. I stood with him watching the sunset at the rim of the Grand Canyon, and when he entered hospice care.

When my dad passed away, he left me a love of adventure traveling, ancient cultures, and yes, I still love oyster stew. But I inherited something else from my father that has had a much greater impact on me. The tendency to worry.

Now I have to say that there is no doubt in my mind that my dad was a world-class worrier. He told me one time that he was worried that if he wasn't worried, something bad would happen, and I developed the same worry habit. I carried worry with me like Atlas carried the world on his back. This worry habit created a lot of tension and conflict for me and those around me, and it really sapped my energy. It was like my brain was leaking, constantly looking for danger and for things to worry about.

Like many emotional habits we create at a young age, worry was a way for me to feel "in control" over what I felt were otherwise uncontrollable situations.

Over the years, my curiosity and thirst for learning led me to numerous personal development and leadership courses, becoming a Reiki Master Teacher and a life and wellness coach. But more importantly than those certifications, somewhere along the way I learned to stop worrying. Stopped trying to control situations by the sheer power of angst. How did this happen? Simple and not simple and it didn’t happen overnight. First I learned how to become aware of, and then to let go of things that were not mine to, well, worry about. I discovered that letting go of control, by letting go of worry, didn’t spell disaster.

I also came to understand that when my mind is full of useless chatter and worry, there is no space for anything else. No room to receive beauty, laughter, love, abundance. Those things that really make life a joy-filled journey. The second of the five precepts or teachings of Reiki is “Just for today, do not worry”. It’s a reminder that we can choose every day, every moment to notice when we are worrying and compassionately choose not to.