Over the years, Just like JOB I lost some things (well…almost everything, all at once) precious and dear. The pain of loss was sometimes unimaginable. Had it not been for Jesus in my life, my
In the middle of the madness, Hold on …SADE
understanding parents (Mom was still alive), friends and family, I could have very well checked out. I wondered what I did wrong…I couldn’t help but feel that I could have avoided it. If I had only examined every detail of the situation (totally impractical if not impossible). But these are the thoughts
we think when painful things happen.
Internal bargaining (the woulda, shoulda, couldas) is part of our grieving process, and without going through it, we can’t move on with our lives. This whole circle of life thing (yes, I saw “The Lion King”) is, at once, beautiful and horrible. Learning to ride the waves, sometimes a gentle ripple and sometimes a tsunami, is much harder than it seems from a distance.
Throughout our lives there are opportunities to make up for losses and give ourselves, as well as those we care for, second chances. Even if you think that you could never replace what was lost, life has a way of giving back what was taken away. It may come as a surprise, or it you might develop over time; in either case, what we think has been lost may someday and somehow return.
I am privileged to share in this experience called life…Here on the LifeTrain…So I write…
All aboard for Therapy Thursday on the LifeTrain. Today we mosey on back to the clinic car and sit for a spell with my good friend, Dr. Emily Hath PhD. (Dr. E). Today’s topic of discussion…”Anxiety”. In this interview, we hope to give you some understanding about the nature of anxiety and what you might do to help yourself.
Reminder: You can listen to LifeTrain Radio while you surf our site…see button upper right…
Chuckie: Dr. E! Dr. E: Chuckie!
Chuckie: We’ve missed you! I thought you had forgotten about us. Dr. E: No my dear friend, I’ve had an extremely high case load lately but, no…I look forward to my rides with you on the Train, having some anxiety?
Chuckie: Well I did start a new position but, overall I’m not ready for meds yet.
Chuckie: Dr. E, give us a little initial insight on Anxiety.
The only shame is not getting help…
Dr.E: Well Chuckie, the chances are fairly high that either you or a loved one has had a history of anxiety. In any given year about 17% of us will have an anxiety disorder—and over our lives, about 28 % of us will have an anxiety disorder. And, if you have one anxiety disorder, then you probably have two or three anxiety disorders—and, possibly, depression. The most common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and specific phobia. 49% of the general population has a history of anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some of all three major problems.
Chuckie: In doing my homework for today I found that Anxiety disorders have effects on your health. Your thoughts?
Dr E: People with panic disorder are more likely to have mitral valve prolapse, hypertension, peptic ulcer, diabetes, angina or thyroid disease. In fact, men who have anxiety disorders are also at greater risk for cardiac disorders, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illness, asthma, and back pain. Women with anxiety disorders are more likely to have a history of cardiac problems, hypertension, metabolic, gastrointestinal, dermatological, respiratory disorders and arthritis.
Chuckie: I also read that anxiety has been increasing. Dr.E: Yes…The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. We are getting more anxious every decade.
Psychologists have speculated about the possible reasons for this increase in both anxiety and depression over the last fifty years. Some of the reasons may be a decrease in “social connectedness”—we tend to move more, change jobs, participate less in civic organizations, and we are less likely to participate in religious communities. People are far less likely to get married, more likely to delay getting married, and more likely to live alone. All of these factors can contribute to worry, uncertainty, anxiety and depression.
Chuckie: I was thinking, with all of technology and societal pressures do you think tha our “life” expectations have changed over the years? Dr.E: Yes, excellent observation. We expect to have a more affluent life-style now then in say the 50s and 60s. We are driven by unrealistic ideas of what we need (“I need the latest ipod!!”), and we have unrealistic ideas about relationships and appearance. In the 1950’s sociologists would write about “The Organization Man” who worked for the corporation for his or her entire career. Today many people would love to have a job that had that kind of stability. And our expectations about retirement also lead us to feel anxious. We now have to rely on our own savings—rather than a company pension plan—to help us survive during retirement.
There is help…
And anxiety isn’t helped by the fact that we have all the bad news all the time. Turn on your cable stations and you can immediately see the latest catastrophe—sometimes as it is actually happening in “real time”. Bad news sells—and reminds us— that we can all be in danger. Even though we live longer, have better health care, travel is safer, we are richer, and we have safer cars— we now think that there is a disaster on the horizon. Because we are constantly bombarded with bad news, we think that we are in greater danger. We may not be in greater danger—but it’s what we think that counts in the way we feel. No wonder we are nervous wrecks. Chuckie: Dr. E that’s about enough for this session although we could go much longer on this topic. When you return can we talk about some remedies? Dr.E: Sounds like a plan my good man.
Well Fellow passengers, another therapy session in the can. Hope this helps.
Thanks for hoping a board. And again…..let me share my motto:
If your plane crashed in the water, and everybody died…would you drown on purpose…or try to survive? NEVER give up. Never doubt the power of God.
I often discuss how “GANGSTA” the Bible can be with a good friend of mine. Like how Elijah taunted the 450 boys, Yeah dudes…where’s your God? Yo Yall yell louder, maybe he is sleep. And then how GANGSTA Jezebel must have been to scare him later, because think about it. he had talked to God and just witnessed his awesome power up close and in person. Jez must’ve been a bad chick!
Anyway, this week let’s not forget to tell others not to forget…Who’s in charge and just how powerful he is. To illustrate Read on.
In the Bible there is a man written about named Elijah. He was used to demonstrate God’s power and call the people of Israel back to a life of worship. Elijah witnessed the miraculous and unequaled power of God as he prayed during his confrontation with the 450 prophets of Baal; “The fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, … and also licked up the water in the trench” (1 Kings 18:38).
We serve a mighty God….
After this unquestioned answer to prayer, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed for rain – there had not been rain in the land for three years. Once again, Elijah witnessed the miraculous hand of God; “The sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose and a heavy rain came” (1 Kings 18:45). But within a few days of these great spiritual victories, Queen Jezebel vowed to have Elijah killed. As soon as Elijah heard of the Queen’s threat, he became afraid and ran for his life into the desert.
1 Kings 19:4
“He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’”
Elijah was a man who spoke directly with God and clearly witnessed His awesome power; yet, he fell into great despair when faced with this new adversity.
What caused Elijah to become so discouraged and fragile? Had he already forgotten God’s power? Had a few victories caused him to take his eyes off God and begin to rely on his own strength? Or was he just worn out from being on the front line of ministry? Whatever the cause, in his moment of greatest victory Elijah became the most vulnerable to attack and failure; “I have had enough, Lord.”
With all your heart….
When life is a struggle, we must pray and “trust in the Lord with all our heart” (Proverbs 3:5). When life is running smooth, we must pray harder and trust even more. But when we experience victory and dance on top of the mountain – when we begin to feel strong and “self” assured – we must pray as if our very life depended on it and lean on the Lord as never before. Our moments of greatest vulnerability to enemy attack come when we begin to think we no longer require God’s help.
So my fellow passengers, as we start our week off let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and continue to renew our strength through prayer and the study of His Word. We must always remember how He told His closest followers, “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The only way we accomplish anything is through the strength of Christ. And as His promises are fulfilled in our lives, we must prepare for a sustained and constant walk of faith. Let’s examine our need to daily walk in His presence and always guard against a fragile victory. “All aboard…The LifeTrain!!!”
Well passengers today, as promised we are stopping the train at the Lawoffice station. Today we continue with our recurring offer of Legal tips (Legally Speaking with Attorney Ewing Carter III). I am going to spare you our on-going debate as to who is the superior athlete at the beginning of each of these interviews and get right to it. But first…
KICK IT (the youtube music) “OR” better yet go to the LifeTrain’s own personal radio station see right corner…ALL ABOARD!
Here we are at the legal station, let’s pick EC III’s brain. And remember feel free to comment and or send in some questions. Hey, free is free! But, on the real, if you have friends and relatives in the North Carolina, Piedmont Triad, tell them the LifeTrain conductor HIGHLY recommends this guy! Like he says…”He takes it personal!” (www.ecarterlaw.com ). He’s not much of an athlete but, in a court of Law, you definitely want this guy between you and the Judge.
EC III: HELLO!!! I can hear you! I can whip you in anything from jacks to hop scotch to the hoop! Chuckie: Whatever dude! Listen, with all the hype about football injuries, concussions and such, before we get started today I have a question. If my godson, EC IV was back in high school or even at Hampton Univ., where he’s a student
now, and he told you that he wanted to play football, would you allow him to play? I asked this question here on the “Train,” and you know how crazy I was when we played in high school……yep!……. and how much you admired me…. (grinning)….oops, I’m getting off track…What are your thoughts on this issue before we begin this week’s topic on “Legally Speaking.”
EC III: I would let him play in high school, if that’s what he wanted. I began playing when I was nine (9) years old. Football helped finance my undergraduate degree and I was able to meet some very good friends, so the experience was good for me. But I think that starting to play tackle football in college for the first time, is ill-advised, and I would be against it.
Chuckie: Ok, cool. I was pondering over if there was a CPD III would I let him play. More on that in another day’s post. Now, here’s the deal for today. I pumped you in terms of your one ability that I can vouch for, the law and being a Lawyer. And I was thinking how I prepare to speak with my Doctor, accountant and even my minister. I prepare with notes and even images showing my doctor “where it hurts”. Now there is a question in here somewhere. How important is it for the passengers to understand the importance of coming totally clean to one’s attorney? EC III: Well Mr. Conductor, a good conversation piece. As an attorney I’m actually glad you brought this up; in a way I get to purge.
EC III: We have all heard a portion of this phrase recited by a Clerk of Court to a testifying witness about to take the stand: “Please place your left hand on the Bible and raise your right hand — Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? And this is your solemn promise or affirmation? Answer: “I do.” Chuckie: Right, ok…
EC III: Well for the sake of understanding let’s create a scenario: You have a looming legal problem that you’ve procrastinated about for some time. You’ve finally called a lawyer and scheduled and office consultation to discuss the matter and you’re feeling apprehensive, distrustful, and somewhat embarrassed by the problem. You were hoping that the problem would just go away or resolve itself over time — but it hasn’t. Now, you’re about to meet this lawyer who you’ve heard about, but don’t know. Your thoughts are — how much is this going to cost? Do I have to appear in court and testify? How long does this entire process take? What is the likely outcome? Do I have the right lawyer?
EC III: These are all normal thoughts and concerns, now let’s use them to your advantage during your first meeting with your prospective attorney.
Rule #1: Begin by telling your lawyer everything about your case from the beginning to the end. Well, you may wonder: Why do I have to tell this person everything? Some of this stuff is personal and none of his business, and should not have anything to do with my case. ….If those are your thoughts, you may be mistaken.
While you’re sitting across from the lawyer evaluating whether you want to hire them, they are deciding whether they want you as a client. I can say from my own personal experience, that an important element in
determining whether I choose to represent someone or not is: that person’s ability to be forthcoming and honest about their problem. As human beings, none of us are mind readers. If you don’t tell your lawyer, doctor, accountant, or any professional, everything about your case, regardless of how bad you think it is…. you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I’ve heard a lot of “stuff” in legal cases over the years. However, It’s somewhat amazing how a good legal remedy can be fashioned around a bad set of facts. For this to happen, the lawyer must be made aware of everything that has happened and should not have to guess what happened, or waste time persuading the client “to tell it all.” It is frustrating and embarrassing to be working with someone and to get “blind-sided” by a crucial fact that now hurts your case, because your legal counsel wasn’t put on notice and had time to prepare for it. So remember, your answer to the question: Do you solemnly swear to tell your lawyer the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, concerning the facts of your case? “I do.”
Tell Your Lawyer the truth! The whole truth! Nothing but the truth!
Chuckie: Well, once again, good stuff Mr. Law guy! The whistle is blowing so…All Aboard! EC III: Must you be so loud?
Oh passengers before we pull out, in case you were wondering, I am to this day the superior athlete! And since I control the content of the LifeTrain, there will be no rebuttal!!! LOL!
And that’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Welcome back to another week on the Train, the LifeTrain. This week may I suggest the following for us…this week and beyond, “CARPE DIEM!”
Don’t forget to start your music…see radio button right.
As you board the train this week I hand you a white business card with simple black lettering. It reads:
Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great!~Orison Swett Marden
One of the reasons I started to blog eight years ago was to hold myself accountable. As the days go by, I want to spread the word to continue to
raise my personal accountability level.
This concept has enabled me to take chances that I never could have imagined. This experience has benefited me greatly. I initiated contact with strangers who are now my closest friends.
I have done things that brought smiles to people having a boring, routine day. I have been able to introduce myself to others in a more confident way. I even got the opportunity to start a ministry: www.PRAYING4YOU.org.
If you need a little help putting yourself out there and becoming more assertive, you may find these reminders helpful:
1. Not trying guarantees you won’t get what you want.
Part of the reason why people hesitate to make an initial move in any situation is their fear of rejection.
If you’re in a big group of people and want to share your idea, you face the fear of rejection. If you want to share your feelings with someone you care about, you face the fear of rejection. If you want to ask for a promotion in a job, you face the fear of rejection.
MERRY MONDAY! Don’t forget this, this week….
However, if you do not act, you’ll never know if they would’ve accepted your offer. Not being assertive and letting the moment slip away gives you a 100% chance of not getting what you want.
2. People aren’t looking to hurt you.
Many of the negative outcomes we imagine are, in fact, imaginary. The majority of people are going to be polite once you say hi to them or initiate conversation. Many times people will do what they can to fulfill your request.
From what I’ve experienced, people feel terrible if they have to reject you—but sometimes it is a good thing when they do. You wouldn’t want a potential date to accept your invitation unless the person was interested, right?
3. We don’t need other people’s approval.
The girl you tried to talk to tells you to get lost. The group laughs at your idea. These are risks worth taking to seize possibilities.
4. Strangers around the situation aren’t paying attention.
Sometimes when we hold back, it’s because we feel self conscious with people watching. But think about it—do strangers really care about what you’re doing? Most of the time, they’re not even paying attention. If they are, so what? Does it really matter?
I started conversing with someone on the bus today and so many people turned their heads towards me that I thought I woke everyone up. I decided to tune them out because their thoughts didn’t affect the outcome of my conversation.
Even if they had some sort of judgment, they were entitled to that. It didn’t affect me.
5. The three-second rule can work wonders.
Ideally, it is good to talk to someone within three seconds of seeing them so that anxiety can’t form in your mind. Once more time elapses, it becomes more difficult. Save yourself the trouble and act as soon as the instinct arises.
6. Accept mistakes and don’t be too hard on yourself.
All Aboard! This week….The LifeTrain!
I’m pretty sure I have said things that were a bit awkward or with the wrong tone of voice. Making mistakes is a part of learning how to become assertive.
At some point, everyone has said something that felt like the wrong thing. No matter how badly you messed up, feel positive about yourself because you took a chance.
7. Realize your negative thoughts aren’t facts.
Nothing holds us back like negative self talk. Find your own personal way to overcome the negative idea.
It may help to mentally isolate the negative emotion and realize it’s separate from you. What works for me is to imagine a metaphorical mirror that reflects everything I suspect people are thinking about me. I then put a cover over the mirror to avoid that trap. Our actions and words stem from our mindset.
When I have a hard time being assertive, I remember that moment when I didn’t share my feelings and a girl I loved slipped away. Now I ask myself: Would I rather risk rejection, or have to wonder, “What if?”
All Aboard! It’s the beginning of the week and as such I would like to start you out with a few thoughts to ponder and meditate on this week. But first, the music, See the radio button , right hand upper corner!
Sometimes we let affection go unspoken and our love go unexpressed. Especially towards those we love the best. This week why not show a little love to those who need to know that they are
Not a sermon, just thought….
loved. Why? Because the most painful love there is, is the love left unshown. A love that cannot be expressed, affection left unknown. The love that withholds touching, afraid of what it would say, and the most painful thing about unexpressed love is it never fades away.
Thought for the week:
You can share a meal, a movie, a moment and give yourself a break from any stress, anger or sadness from this week. You don’t have to carry it through every moment of your day. Don’t worry—if you feel you need to remember it, you’ll still be able to recall it later. But as you allow yourself pockets of peace, shared with people you love, you may find you need that story a lot less.
Have a great week, I wish you all a Love that will never end…
Hey Passengers welcome aboard and back for another session on the good Doc’s couch. I really believe this was one of our better sessions. I would humbly encourage you to invite anyone you know to the train to review this interview. I found the information to be incredibly enlightening. So, let’s mozey on back to the Doctor’s car, oh and stop by the cafe car and bring me some salted peanuts in the shell and a diet coke please…
Kick off the music (See radio Broadcast Button upper right), I hope this helps
Dr. Dee: So, Chuckie, one of the passengers has made a special request to discuss coping with a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease. Are you game?
Chuckie: “CALL THE POLICE!”, not only is this woman a brilliant Doctor but, she reads minds as well! Come mere gurl! Gimmie a hug! Dr.Dee: “Security!”
Chuckie: Yes, it seems that this topic has been a theme in my life in terms of coming in contact with friends dealing with this. How shall we begin? Dr Dee: First of all I think we ought to talk a little bit about what exactly Alzheimer’s disease is. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s but Alzheimer’s is characterized by dementia. This is a disease where a person gradually develops memory problems which are more and more severe. They begin by forgetting little things, and as the disease develops, they forget procedures we take for granted such as brushing their teeth getting dressed, and they forget people close to them and even their own name, as well as other personal bits of information. Usually the disease takes a slow course, and develops over several years.
Chuckie: I can see how this would be really sad, and frustrating for a family member. Dr. Dee: Yes this can be very, very frustrating. In fact, the passenger who suggested this topic mentioned that from her perspective, dealing with a family member with Alzheimer’s is even more difficult to cope with than dealing with someone with a terminal disease.
Chuckie: Wow. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Why do think that might be? Dr. Dee: Well, as with other situations, Alzheimer’s disease involves coping with a great deal of loss. But unlike divorce, where that person is still the same person you were married to, only they’re just not there anymore, and unlike most terminal diseases where that person may have physical decline, but is still essentially the same person, Alzheimer’s disease involves a relatively physically healthy individual, who looks the same as you’ve always known in most cases, except that they’re getting older. When you look at this person who looks the same as they’ve always looked, you expect them to know you as they’ve always known you, and behave, as they’ve always behaved. But they don’t. And they don’t because they are losing their memory and memory forms the basis of who we are. Not only that, Alzheimer’s is a slow moving disease. So, just as you get to the point where you feel you have accepted some loss of who that person was, something else of that person you know and love, fades away, and you are right back at the beginning again, having to mourn the loss of something new, that is now no longer there.
Chuckie: So, what can a person who has a family member who is suffering with Alzheimer’s do? How can they cope with this constant series of losses that can apparently go on for a number of years? Dr. Dee: Chuckie, this is one of those cases where a really good support group can be a life line. In a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers, a family member can meet with others who know exactly what the family member is going through. They can also offer helpful tips for coping with the little changes.
Chuckie: What kind of changes are common for family members of patients with Alzheimer’s? Dr. Dee: Two major kinds of changes have to be dealt with. On the one hand, dealing with a family member who has Alzheimer’s requires changes in role and relationships. For instance, the Alzheimer’s patient may have been the one who handled the finances or the taxes or the cooking or the housekeeping. But gradually they become unable to carry out those roles, and someone else has to step in and begin to do them. This can be overwhelming and frustrating for the family member. Sometimes they have to learn completely new skills, such as in the case of dealing with finances. Sometimes it involves leaving their own job to devote themselves to full-time care of the Alzheimer’s patient. This can also be quite frustrating because jobs can define people in many ways, and to have to give that up can affect a caregivers self-esteem. Sometimes caregivers feel guilty about these shifts in roles. At other times, the may feel angry and resentful, that they now have to give up significant portions of their lives to become a caregiver. The other major change that goes along with that, is the process of letting go of the person you once knew and loved, and beginning to accept the person who is evolving before you. And that person changes from day to day and year to year, so again, this process of letting go and accepting can go on for years.
Chuckie: Is there any cure for Alzheimer’s disease? Can anything be done to help patients with Alzheimer’s? Dr. Dee: Unfortunately, no, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But there are a few treatments that are available. However, the treatments, only appear to slow the progress of the disease. There are lifestyle modifications that can help in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s. As a person becomes more and more forgetful, it may be helpful for family members to create simple scrapbooks including pictures of loved ones with a few words, describing who they are, such as a picture of a daughter, with the words, “your oldest daughter” underneath. Or even a picture list in the bathroom, describing what needs to happen in there, such as brushing teeth, bathing, toileting. Of course, as the dementia, increases, they may likely forget exactly how to brush teeth, or bathe, or toilet appropriately. Simplifying the choices that an Alzheimer’s patient has available to them can also be very helpful. For instance, if they have trouble deciding what to wear, cleaning out the closet of everything but 3 or 4 pairs of pants, 3 or 4 tops, 3 or 4 dresses, and a couple pairs of shoes, may be just what the doctor ordered.
Chuckie: What do you advise family members to keep in mind as they deal with loved ones who are gradually forgetting everything about who they are and what their lives have been like? Dr. Dee: We need to always keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease is no picnic for the patient either. They don’t suddenly wake up with dementia. It’s a gradual process where they often recognize that they are becoming more and more forgetful, and the world is gradually becoming more and more confusing for them. So, when they become angry or react in ways that don’t make sense, its helpful for family members to remember that the patient is often confused and frightened, and the world no longer makes much sense to them either. They are not intentionally trying to be hurtful and difficult, they simply can’t help what is happening to them. And, unfortunately neither can anyone else. If family members can find a way to reframe the behaviors of the Alzheimer’s patient in a way that takes into account their own confusion, helplessness, and fear of this strange world developing around themselves, it can not only change the way a family member behaves toward the patient, but it is often helpful for the family member as a means of coping, as well.
Chuckie: Thanks for addressing this impromptu topic. Any parting words? Dr. Dee: Sure. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get connected to an Alzheimer’s support group. There are major changes that have to come, over the course of dealing with the family member with Alzheimer’s, including eventually placing them in residential care. This can bring about all kinds of feelings in family members, including guilt, anger, and fear. Having the support of others who have been through that fire, or are going through it themselves, can be a major means of coping.
Chuckie: Doc, as far as I’m concerned you knocked this one out the park. I know that many will be blessed by your willingness to let us partake weekly of your knowledge. May your rewards be many in Heaven. Dr.Dee: Thanks Chuckie, my pleasure.
All Aboard! Merry Monday! Welcome back aboard the LifeTrain. This week…let’s live in the present. And speaking of the present as you read this article, for your enjoyment here on the Train we have piped in music! Click the Radio button located in the upper right hand and enjoy the sounds as you read articles here.
Right at this moment is “YOUR LIFE!”.
Ah…Coffee and music…. Don’t forget to click the radio button and enjoy Coffee and music as you read! All Aboard!
Right at this moment is your life you might wonder ‘when will my life get better’? or ‘when will I get over this’? ‘when will things improve’? If you are wondering those things, you are wasting your life. Because the only time that
you have power over, is right now, right at this second.
Only right now, right at this second, do you have power to change.
If you feel sad, try to distract your mind. Do something small right now, to make you feel better. Try to focus on right now. By staying with the present, you become in full control of your life. And therefore in better control, of making better life plans for the future.
There is no magical place, in the future when things will get better, it is now. As this is all that you have power over.
One of the biggest reasons for stress, anxiety, is being in a situation that you feel is out of your control. It can feel overwhelming. But the truth is, in most every day circumstances, you have the power right now, to be how you want to be, to feel how you want to.
Live in your moment…now.
It is up to you whether you choose to be happy or sad. You can change your mind in an instant. The power and the choice is yours.
If you are feeling low. Do something NOW which YOU enjoy. Don’t worry about the future. Or sit in reflection on the past. You cannot change the past. You can shape the future, but it has not happened yet. Why waste today? And the joy that you could experience today, by focusing on joy that might, or might not happen tomorrow?
Have something nice to eat, go for a walk, see something beautiful, be that, architecture, art, wildlife, see the beauty that is all around you. Have a candle lit bath, indulge yourself. If you are feeling low, now is the time, to put extra effort into recharging your energy.
By focusing on what might happen in the future, or sitting in reflection of the past, you are wasting your life. Because life, your life, is simply now. Right now, right as you are reading this, at this very second. This is you.
So passengers, the point for this week is, be with the present, take control of your life, focus on now, and you will learn that the secret of true happiness really does come from within.
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Why not listen to some smooth sounds as you ride the Train today! See the RADIO BROADCAST PLAYER – RIGHT CORNER…. All ABoard!
Hey Passengers, welcome back aboard. The other day a good friend from back home (Ohio) called me hysterically crying. She felt certain she just blew a second job interview, and she’d hit a breaking point.
She’d been struggling for months, just barely paying her bills and wondering if she could afford to keep her apartment.
Every purchase had become an exercise in extreme deliberation. In fact, I’m fairly certain that when I visited last, I saw her stressing in the grocery store about whether she really needed that box of Twinkies that beckoned from the shelf.
Now here she was, hyperventilating, recounting in explicit detail all the things she’d done wrong in this interview.
The interviewer looked disgusted, she said—he was probably thinking she was incompetent. He asked her questions in an abrupt way—he was trying to trip her up. He didn’t respond when she made conversation on the way to the door—he most likely hated her and couldn’t wait to get rid of her.
Having gone through countless interviews with multiple companies after sending out dozens of resumes, she was just plain exhausted and starting to feel desperate.
As she recalled the anxiety she felt in this encounter, I visualized her sitting vulnerably in front of his desk, and my heart went out to her. I imagined she felt a lot like Tom Smykowski from Office Space when he was interviewing with the efficiency experts to save his job—pre-Jump-to-Conclusions mat.
“I deal with the “CENSORED” customers so the engineers don’t have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that? What the “CENSORED” is wrong with you people!?”
Twenty minutes out of the pressure cooker, she was drowning in fears about what it would mean to not get an offer. She may have to move back in with her parents. She’d need to ask her also unemployed boyfriend for financial help. She’d have to develop a taste for spam, ramen noodles, or maybe even cat food.
Worst of all, when she inevitably failed, she’d have to acknowledge it was all her fault for blowing this interview.
About ten minutes in, I realized that comforting her was not an option.
She didn’t believe me when I told her she’d done her best and she shouldn’t be hard on herself. She felt sure there was no other way to look at the situation; the interviewer was sitting in his office stroking his handlebar mustache and laughing maniacally about the inept woman he had no intention of hiring.
She was talking herself in circles, alternating between statements of certainty—that all had been lost—and asking me what I thought might happen, as if perhaps there was still hope if only an outsider would verify it often enough.
But whenever I suggested that it’s never over until it’s over, she plummeted back into prophetic despair, convinced her inadequacy only allowed for one disappointing outcome.
Just then, between tears and speculative conclusions, call waiting beeped in. She got the job.
I could feel her immense relief. From 500 miles away, I felt her heart rate slow down, her erratic thinking simmer, and her narrow vision of doom expand into a blend of shock, euphoria, and excited anticipation.
I felt it all along with her. I’d been an accomplice to her panic attack, after all.
As I thought about how unnecessary all of the worrying had been—and how I wished she didn’t put herself through that—I realized I’d been in her shoes before. There have been many times when I’ve felt overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness and desperate to feel some type of control.
There have been times when I’ve asked people for their opinions and then felt unsatisfied until I heard exactly what I wanted to hear. When I’ve made assumptions about negative things to come and then obsessed over what I could do to prevent it, or what I should have done to avoid it.
In retrospect, all that mental busy work did very little to change what was coming.
It wasn’t even slightly useful or productive, and it definitely didn’t soften the blow if my fears came true and something went wrong or didn’t pan out.
In fact, it only exacerbated the situation, because worrying essentially began the disappointment retroactively.
If you worry and nothing’s wrong, you’ve wasted precious time over nothing. If you worry and something is wrong, you’ve still wasted precious time.
Every time we use the present to stress about the future, we’re choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have tomorrow.
It may seem like we’re creating solutions or somehow protecting ourselves from pain, but in all reality, we’re just causing ourselves more of it.
Perhaps the key is to challenge that instinctive sense of fear we feel when we start thinking about uncertainty. When I look back at the most fulfilling parts of my life, I realize most of them took me completely by surprise.
I may not have gotten everything I wanted, but I’ve wanted what I’ve gotten more than often enough to compensate. The unknown may have provided some heartache, but it’s also provided adventure and excitement.
For every time I’ve felt disappointed, there’s been another moment when I’ve felt a sense of wonder. Those are the moments we live for—when all of a sudden we see the world through new eyes in a way we could never have known to predict.
Uncertainty is the cost of that deeply satisfying, exhilarating, spontaneous sense of awe.
It would be easy to say that mindfulness is the answer to worrying. If you’re truly immersed in the present moment, there wouldn’t be any reason to fixate on what might be coming. But I suspect it’s inevitable we’ll do that from time to time. We’re only human, after all.
Maybe a better suggestion is a combination of being in the moment and trusting in the one to follow.
We can’t always control what it will look like, but we can know that more often than not, it will lead to something good if we’re open to it. When it doesn’t, we’ll get through it—and faster if we haven’t already overwhelmed ourselves with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.
On the other side of worry, there’s trust. We can’t always trust in specifics, but we can trust in ourselves.