One of my magic tricks is worry. When I obsessively worry, it is as though I think I am helping that person, situation or the world, by holding them in my mind and protecting them with my worrying. Is this helping – at all? When I am caught up in worry and anxiety I am no good to anyone or even myself.
Last summer, Robin and I took an epic road trip, all the way to the Arctic Ocean. There were several occasions when the roads were a little scary. Robin, who was at the wheel, was unfazed. From the passenger seat, I was quietly freaky out. At one point, on the road to Telegraph Creek, I realized that I was holding my breath and gripping the door of the truck, as though our lives depended on it. That’s when I decided to mentally pulled back to observe my own feelings and behaviour, and I had to laugh at myself. I turned to Robin and said, “I hope you appreciate the hard work I am doing over here. Holding my breath is what is keeping us on the road!”
Instead of getting caught up in the mental melodrama of my life it is possible to pull back. As I take the seat of the observer, my emotions calm, my attachment loosens and my role in it all becomes…well, it often just disappears.
Observing, breathing and a little humour go a long way.
3 thoughts on “8. Pull Back and Enjoy the Show”
The visual image of the red tones in the worry ball sure inform as to how much energy goes with fear and worry. The awareness of the meditator separates from and observes the worry and then she is free. Awesome prose and art to underscore the mindfulness teaching!
Deirdre, as so often happens, your thoughtful musings call up a memory for me. I am NOT a boat person, so when whale-watching off Tofino I became very frightened as the boat JUMPED up waves and then and CRASHED down the other side of the crests! The sweet young woman crew member came to me and said in a soft voice, “no matter how hard you hang on to that rail, the waves will come and go. It’s easier if you just try to ride with it”. I didn’t realize that I had a death grip on the railing! With great effort I relaxed my grip (on the whole situation) and she was right – it was a lot easier! I agree with you that worrying is hard work and letting go of it produces many rewards….
That is a great story Judy. It seems that for those of us who are inclined towards anxiety, riding the waves is a lesson that we need to learn over and over. It’s good to know that it is a common experience.