First kind of worrier. Those who fret about the future. I will call these good folks the "Worry Warts." Just as a side bar they also worry about the present whenever they are not in control of the situation. We could also call them the What-Ifers. "What if Sally gets hurt? What if I don't do well? What if he doesn't like me?"
Then there are the "Regreters." Our good friends who agonize over past mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities. We could call them the If-Onlys. "If only I hadn't done that. If only I had jumped sooner. If only I had not said that." You get the idea. Of course we can add the third group, those who do both, but what could we do for those poor fools but laugh at them!?
In case you are wondering...I attend the If Only School for Chronic Regreters. But I hope to graduate soon. It is funny how the Worry Warts are distressed by what they cannot control and Regreters by what they DID NOT control (eh hem...themselves). A good friend of mine recently told me about her visit to the dentist. They had to pull in a second dental assistant to help hold her tongue during the exam, because apparently she could not control it. Boy howdy if that is a job anyone out there is willing to do...you're hired! Cuz I could really use an assistant to help me hold my tongue.
As a budding yogi, I understand (and have even blahged about) the importance of living in the present and really relishing every moment of what IS. Live in the here and now. In some respects it is easy. I am not one who worries about the future. I make plans and have hopes and dreams, but I know that not everything is within my power to control and so why fret about it. Friends often ask me if I worry about my kids when they are on dates or Hunky Hubby when he is out climbing mountains or skiing down them. The answer is no. I am not in control of those situations and worrying about them will not change what happens one bit. It is out of my hands. I pray for their safety and make sure I know where they are and how to help if there is trouble, but that is all I can do. No, I do not worry too much about that which I cannot control. My burden is the big bag of "oopses" I carry over my shoulder. And it is a big bag. We all have mistakes and regrets. It is part of life. I believe in repentance and in plain old apologies, but it never seems to erase the memory. I keep a running list. Well, two lists I guess.
If Only I had... If Only I Had NOT...
Thinking of the things I wish I had not done or had not said actually evokes a physical response. My heartbeat quickens, my jaw tightens, my stomach turns. This is the stress response. I understand it is much the same bodily reaction that our Worry Warts experience. This is our body's sympathetic nervous system kicking into gear releasing all kinds of nasty hormones that one might need if there were real danger to run from. But this is only perceived danger and we are better off without the juice coursing through our veins unnecessarily. It all seems so silly. The worry I mean. What is real is now. We do not know the future. We cannot undo the past. We must live in the present. Find joy in the living of our lives. Learn from our mistakes. Do a bit better every day. Look forward with joy. But live today without the hauntings of yesterday or tomorrow.
So the question is...How do we do it? How do the Regreters let lie and the Worry Warts let go? I do not have the answer. I know we must do it. Worry never changes the past or the future only the joy we have in the present. I am ready to graduate from my school of worry. You?
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