A few years ago I gave up worrying. I realized I never worried about the right things. It was those things that I hadn’t foreseen that blind-sided me. Things like getting MS, mum having a stroke and Laura dying. Also worrying takes up a huge amount of mental space and a lot of energy. And as Abraham Hicks says, ‘It’s using your imagination to create what you don’t want.’ And who wants that?
If there was an Olympics for worrying I would have been a contender for gold for most of my life. Mum says I was born worrying. Even as a small child I worried about everything and everyone. She thinks it’s because she was very worried when she was carrying me. Somehow her stress hormones got stamped on my psyche. Who knows. But one thing I’ve learned recently is that if you are a worry wort, it’s not destiny.
Three years of studying Abraham Hicks have taught me how to self soothe and ease my fingers off the cliff edge of anxiety. Now when I feel the urge to worry, I refocus my attention. Living the Hicks way requires a lot of what I call trust – radical trust – that things will work out even if you can’t see how. Even if you are waist deep in ‘merde’, or your planned vacation just went tits up at the eleventh hour.
Here’s how it works. My sister and I were headed to Miami for a vacation two weeks ago, when our Airbnb accommodation suddenly cancelled our reservation 24 hours before our arrival. I didn’t panic. I made a tea and thought: ‘Hmm maybe the universe is getting this crummy little place out our way so we can be somewhere better.’ Pollyanna you say? But it worked. Airbnb stepped in and found us a much swankier place, closer to the beach, with the bonus of beach chairs and umbrellas and a little garden. Best of all it was in the quiet SOFi district I’ve always wanted to stay in. Oh and they also paid for the upgrade. Sweet – right?
Then, five days into our trip, my sister got sick. She was coughing, sneezing, feverish and her face was beet red. Being without a spleen, there was a real danger she could develop pneumonia. And yes, I confess, I found myself worrying about my sister’s health (how can you not, when someone you love is in jeopardy?) And then I began worrying about my sister worrying (she was in a panic over all the details that needed sorting out to find a doctor, call the insurance and prolong our stay). More and more things to worry about kept manifesting. It went from bad to worse over a couple of hours.
So I made a cup of tea (are you seeing a pattern?) and called our Airbnb host. No room to stay on.’ Sorry,’ they said. But they called a top doctor (so no need to spend the day at the ER). My flight was due to leave for New York in 6 hours. ‘Go. I’ll be OK,’ my sis said bravely. Well, that made no sense. I couldn’t just leave her, could I? So I went out and bought us two big juices, took a few deep breaths and came back hopeful that even though I had no clue where we’d stay and no flights yet, we would sort it out.
Traveling hopefully in the dark with no map and no sense of where it would all lead is something I learned being with Laura at the end of her life. There was a strange magic that shaped our journey, and brought together all the pieces we needed for her peaceful end of life. I guess what I’m trying – clumsily – to say is that even in our darkest places this trust that things are shaping in a way that is ok and more than ok not only helps us, it helps the best possible outcome for that situation to manifest.
Back in Miami Beach at the height of the tourist season, we nevertheless got our flights changed for next to no money, and bagged a room at the smart Shelburne hotel with its fancy pool and frontage on the beach (incredibly it was cheaper than the scruffy airport motel). And the Shelburne manager upgraded us for free to a suite (so I wouldn’t have to share a bed with my germ laden sis). We had 3 extra days together. My sis watched a lot of the Winter Olympics in bed and I basked on the beach and made lots of lemon honey drinks and brought home veggie juices and soup. Somehow – with a dollop of faith – we swam around our ‘disasters’. And my memory of the trip is a joyful one – of my sis and I together laughing and coping no matter what. I’m not alone in this. My sis called at the weekend to say, our little trip did her ‘the world of good’.