"All pain and pleasure is where you put your attention." ~ Deepak Chopra
Worry, at some point, has consumed us all. We worry about finances, children, partners, health, our careers and even our mortality. It may seem like an inherent human quality, but it is possible to end the seemingly incessant loop of worry. What I tell my clients, myself and my twelve year old son, who sings for a major city choir and is harder on himself than any music director could be, is that where we put our focus expands. If you want to expand that sick to your stomach feeling of worry, then keep focusing your attention on failure, problems, pain and lack. But how do we stop the worry when circumstances feel dire, chronic pain encroaches, or a concern about a loved one keeps us up at night?
1. Focus. Focus on what is good in your life. Keeping your mindset in a state of grace eliminates worry. Keep a gratitude journal or joy journal to track where your life is good. The energy of grace cannot coexist with worry. Focus on what you desire instead of the fear of it not manifesting. We are energy beings. Where we put our energy produces an equal energy. Think of it as Newton's first law of motion: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. The external force is our ability to catch the negative thought of worry and put into motion the positive focus of our desire.
Maintaining and documenting what is positive puts me in mind of a story Deepak Chopra tells after spending 30 days in Thailand with an order of monks. Walking the cobblestone streets with bare feet to beg for food from the villagers, Chopra told his head monk that it hurt to walk with bare feet on the stone. The monk replied, put your attention on the foot that is up not the foot that is striking the ground.
2. Trust and Action. This could also be called faith. Like a farmer who plants his harvest in the early days of spring, we may not see the bounty our seeds of positive focus will produce. Once we set in motion our positive thoughts and action toward a desired goal, we must trust or have faith that the goal will manifest in the season of harvest. Twenty dollars a week toward our debt will eventually make us debt free, or a practice of exercise or a special diet will keep our chronic pain managed if we trust the process and have faith in our ability to effect change. The key is to take some kind, even a small gesture, of action. Our action plus faith equals change.
3. Patience and Nurturing. One of my favorite sayings is: A watched pot never boils. I have planted a garden for years. When I focus on nurturing the soil, pulling weeds and making sure my beloved tomatoes get the water they need, the growth process seems miraculous. When that tender, yellow flower turns into a small green bud of a tomato, it is an awe inspired experience. On the other hand, when I just sit there waiting and watching for the miracle, the wait feels insufferable. When I allow myself to fall in love with the process instead of pining for the outcome, a natural energy of order and patience arises. It is within that space of lovingly nurturing myself, my circumstances, my pains and my dreams that true miracles occur and worry simply falls away.