Worrying often seems so much a part of us that it's easy to think it's as natural and as necessary as breathing or digesting. However, although we don't think too much about whether we like to breathe or digest, most of us believe that we don't like to worry at all. In fact, we hate to worry; if we were allowed to choose one emotion or thought process to eliminate from our repertoire we know which one it would be.
It seems that only a magic wish could make that happen because worrying is something beyond our control. Many of have tried time after time to stop worrying, and the harde we try the more persistent our worrying becomes.
As a major contender for trophies in the Worry Olympics I realized a while back that worrying is an addiction--but a baffling one. Habitual worriers never hear a seductive voice telling them that indulging in one little worry won't hurt, that they've had a hard day at work and are entitled to a relaxing worry, or that a little bit of worrying will help them forget their problems, or go to sleep, or be more comfortable in a social situation. Far from helping us to escape, worrying seems to hurl us into the midst of the anxiety which people use other addictions to avoid. It's difficult to imagine what possible--or desirable--purpose it might serve.
Recently I realized that I hadn't worried for a while. This worried me.
I decided to find out why. First, I listened to what I said to myself when I worried, and what kinds of feelings accompnied this thought process. To take an example, I worried about my cat, Brendan, whenever he seemed to be less than his healthy, serene self. My thoughts and feelings went something like this.
He doesn't look good, and his nose is dry (fear). Should I take him to the vet? He hates going to the vet, and he could pick up some disease there--(more fear) but what if it's something really serious. I'll never forgive myself if I ignore this and it turns out to be something terrible (guilt). But what if the vet misdiagnoses it? (suspicion) What if she says it's something terrible, and it isn't? What if she says it isn't something terrible, and it is? (Fear, guilt, and confusion) I wish I knew what to do; I'll never forgive myself if . . .
When I took my explorations a step deeper to see what was beneath the surface I discovered a more generic thought pattern (suitable for the insertion of any of your worries):
Oh, I'm so worried. What if _____ doesn't (does) happen? If I don't get enough (too much) ___? Please, please, I really need ___; my life is going to be ruined if I don't get it. Don't you see how important this is to me? I'm not like these people who slack off and just mindlessly trust in the universe, those people who act as if everything will turn out all right without doing anything. I'm doing something about this; I'm taking this problem seriously; I'm worrying. I'm working hard; don't you think I deserve to have this problem solved? Don't you think I'm entitled to a little help?
When I paid attention to this level of worry I discovered a belief which contradicted my consciously held belief that my thoughts and feelings attract to me a matching reality. On a deeper level I believed the opposite: that by worrying I was doing something to solve the problem, that if I clearly and persistently communicated with whoever out there made the decisions about who's going to get the rewards and who's going to get punished, if I let this mysterious entity know how miserable I was, it might take pity on me and give me a break.
Worry's addictive pattern is circular, very much like the exercise wheels in which unfortunate rodents find themselves. They use up a lot of energy and get you nowhere. It doesn't work, however, to pretend that you're not worried, or to actively resist worry. This just pushes the worries deeper into consciousness. If you manage to avoid knowledge of their existence all day they'll usually pop up at night when your defenses are lower, or haunt your dreams.
In my experience the best way to break the pattern is to take that worry and run with it. For example, let's say that I'm worried about a bounced check written to my real-time store, Crystal Gardens. On one level I'm worried because I'm going to have to call that person, and if (s)he doesn't make the check good I'm going to have to call the check-protection agency. They've always covered checks, but this is going to be the one time when something goes wrong.
This might be called the petty-annoyance level, and very often people fixate on relatively minor problems in order to avoid facing more profound anxieties.If I get deeper into the feeling level I might come to any one of a number of revelations, such as:
Now I've moved beyond worry to fear, beyond a focus on minor concerns to addressing deeper issues. When you reach this level get into the fear, experience it. Draw a picture of it or write a poem about it. Read the article on The Inner Critic, and see what your inner critic has to say about your fear. If you keep a dream journal read over the entries for the last week or month and see if the fear has been cropping up in your dreams.
These processes will help you to release the fear, as will the crystals and flower essences I recommend below. Once you've exhausted your fear potential, create affirmations as building blocks for creating the reality you would prefer. Affirm that the world is a safe place, full of friendly and supportive people, that you are open to receive abundance, that the people and animals you love are in perfect health.
Then relax. You deserve a break. You've done enough worrying for one lifetime.
In polished form, any crystal can be a worry stone. Pick your favorite or choose from the stones below, and carry it with you, rubbing it as necessary.
Sometimes our worry is connected to not being grounded. Instead of being in the here and now we're in the there and then or the where and when. Any of the grounding stones--obsidian, tigereye, hematite, and smoky quartz--can get us back to earth. In addition, carnelian is an excellent stone for grounding us in the present. Hematite is useful if you're worrying someone else's worries.
Rhodochrosite is helpful if worry flares up into anxiety; while sugilite is valuable for the guilt which so often flavors fear.
Clear quartz helps us to step beyond the prison walls of worry, and reminds us that there's more to life than whether we can get the stain off that new white shirt.
White Chestnut is Dr. Bach's gift to worriers. Use it especially for the worries which circle endlessly in your head or seem to be chewing away pieces of your sanity. It's also helpful when you're replaying dialogues and tormenting yourself for what you should have said.
Reach for the Bach Flower Remedy Red Chestnut if you're worrying about others, i.e., you told your daughter to come home at eleven, and you start worrying that she'll be late the minute she walks out the door, or your cat drinks a little extra water on a hot day and you look up "Feline Kidney Disease."
When worries are petty and mundane (not to me they're not!) the FES flower essence Filaree is the remedy of choice. It helps us to put the small concerns of everyday life into proper perspective, and frees our energy for handling larger issues, such as the purpose of our lives, where our souls have been and where they're going, questions which never get addressed when we're adding up the grocery bill to see whether we got overcharged.
Many customers utilize our various suggestions regarding crystals and flower essences for particular issues. Others prefer to get an assist in dealing with their particular worries by taking advantage of our consultation service.
In our own experience it's often very valuable to get someone else's perspective on what's stopping us from creating the realities we prefer, and our questionnaire is designed to bring such issues to the surface.
To learn more about our mail consultations go to http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/bach.
Although Beyond the Rainbow's co-proprietor, Joyce, and I, were talented worriers long before we opened our store in New York City, owning a retail business gave us a wealth of opportunities to sharpen our skills. Floods, shoplifters, and power failures served as exciting accents to ongoing daily dramas.
If being in our own business expanded our capacity for worry, it also provided an arena in which to face our familiar adversary. Our main discovery was that as long as our focus and intention was on loving our work and serving our customers our worries dropped away.
The essence of what we learned was trust, and we've continued to learn with Beyond the Rainbow. Though we may forget that on at least a daily basis (why won't the images show up on the screen? what happened to all the bookmarks?) something will always remind us.
It could be a friendly email, a word of praise about this newsletter, people who come into our real-time store and tell us that they came in feeling as if they'd been run over by a sanitation truck, but now feel restored.
Such occasions restore us. During those healing moments worry is just a five-letter word as we go about the business
of conscious creation. The sun comes out and a rainbow fills our sky.