“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.”– Woody Allen
I made one of my resolutions early this year. After the massacre in Newtown, I made a conscious decision to count my blessings. Something internal and unconscious shifted too. Every time I felt the urge to complain or my heart raced with anxiety, an inner censor tugged at me, reminding me … life is short and I have a chance. I have my beautiful healthy children, I have my own health and resourcefulness, I have this moment and the ability to hope for the future. Those luxuries were lost for the parents and families in Newtown. Those luxuries are lost everyday for so many across the globe and right next door.
Many years ago, a yoga teacher, while speaking to a class full of expectant mothers (including me), gently instructed us to “make every worry a wish.” I wasn’t really worried at that point so the sage words, while endearing, didn’t move me too much.
I always thought that childbirth would be the easiest part of parenting and I was right.
It seems that from my oldest son’s first breath, worry kicked in. I think it was a healthy dose. Though some might call me neurotic, most mothers impart the same preoccupations—starting with “why is the poop green?” all the way to “how do I find a good middle school?”
I worry. I admit it. I worry about my children being victims or aggressors. I worry about my children drinking or doing drugs. I worry about their hearts being broken or them lacking enough empathy to avoid breaking others’ hearts … I worry and the list of worries changes, evolves and mounts as the years go by.
On New Years day, already it started; worry about the coming year, my divorce, my kids’ having to move neighborhoods and schools, my being spread too thin … it all bubbled up again. Then, I remembered my commitment to count my blessings. I also miraculously remembered the words my yoga teacher spoke almost 13 years ago, “make every worry a wish.”
I immediately felt relieved and empowered. Instead of imagining the worst and trying to ward that off, I could envision the best case scenario. It’s amazing how much harder it is to pin down what I want. What is the best case scenario? But, that is a challenge I want to rise to. And, it’s fun, it feels good. Yeah, there’s a lot of responsibility in declaring what you want. It exhibits who you are and what your priorities are. I think that since my marriage disintegrated, I haven’t been able to commit to a new blueprint for my life. I haven’t wanted to embrace being a divorcee and being clumped in with the apparently glib, self-centered, non-committal crowd. But, this resistance has caused me to take a stance against divorce and against my own happiness and my own progress. I’m going to take a leap of faith and resolve that four years is long enough to grieve and resist my impending divorce. I am going to add to my visions of happiness and success for my children, happiness and success for myself. And I will try to enjoy making a list of wishes for myself to answer to all of the judgments and worries that arise in the process.
To whomever may be reading this, please take a moment and identify something that is worrying you and imagine the wish that corresponds. See how that feels and if it is good and pacifying, write it down, maybe stick it on your refrigerator. And, I’d be thrilled to know how that works for you.
Happy New Year!!! I wish you a peaceful, healthy, prosperous 2013!!!!