Finding the Wisdom in Your Worrying & Whining

Jun 18, 2015

I was speaking with my friend Hiro the afternoon of June 6th, having a little catch-up. She listened to me kvetch about not being able to find a house in Colorado and about not knowing when we would move my mom to Florida because there wasn’t a spot in memory care open yet. In her calm but firm way, she interrupted me and said,

“Perhaps you aren’t finding your house yet because you haven’t settled your mom into wherever she is going next, and you haven’t yet made peace with ending this phase of your life with your mom. Once you do that, your home will find you. It’s already there, waiting for you to claim it.”

I made polite affirmative noises while thinking, “But what else can I do?! My sister waited too long to put her on the wait list and now it’s just a waiting game! I can’t do anything!”

But after we hung up and I’d gone back to packing books, my whiny “I can’t do anything!” echoed in my head. I became curious: was it really true I couldn’t do anything else to get mom settled? I knew myself and when I protested in such a whingy whiny way, it usually meant I was falling into blame mode (aka the victim role). I silently bowed to my wise friend’s gentle wake-up and resolved to do something… although I had no idea what.

Driving home from yoga later that day, the what came to me – so obvious! My sister had said, “If need be, mom can stay with me until her spot opens up.” It occurred to me I simply needed to help my sister get specific about how that could happen – what date would I bring mom? Who would take care of her while Michele was at work or when she needed a break? I would facilitate a concrete plan B.

So I called my sister and did just that.

Then I went for a hike, and in the woods, came close to having a panic attack. It was all suddenly too much. Too many details. What if, what if, what if banged in me like a giant snare drum. I wanted to lie down on the forest floor and get up when it was all over: taken care of by someone else!

Instead, I hiked to my spot looking out over my favorite meadow and, somewhere
between an inhale and an exhale,
something in the back of my heart
let go.
The tight knot of angst and needing to figure it out

Everything became very still.
Even the crows were quiet.
A stillness took in my turmoil, not because my turmoil needed to be changed it, but because the stillness was bigger than any turmoil I would ever feel,
so much bigger.
For a moment, I understood how groundlessness can feel like a nest, a place of deep rest.

Then I laughed, or maybe you would call it a guffaw.

“Wow,” I said to the dogs, who came back from wherever they had been rolling in stinky things, “It really is going all going to be all right.”

I kept giggling all the way through the woods, marveling in the grace and the lightness I felt dipped in, knowing it would not last forever and that was okay, too.

The next day, June 7th, our realtor sent us video of a house in the neighborhood we most wanted to live in. A For Sale By Owner. At first, we thought it too modern for us (my last four houses have been craftsman bungalows), but after carefully (obsessively) watching the video, we hopped on a plane on June 10th to look at the house in person.

When we landed in Denver, my phone rang. It was my sister. A spot in memory care had opened up for our mom. We would move her to be with my sister in just over two weeks.

We went to the house. We slowly, cautiously, let ourselves really really like it.

The next afternoon, we signed the contract. We’d bought a house.

The address? 1010 Confidence Drive.


My point in telling you this story is not to suggest that if you make a Plan B or otherwise get concrete about what has been vague, or have confidence everything will turn out okay, everything will pop magically into place. Nor is it to suggest that my moment of experiencing grace, of letting go of worry and anxiety, was rewarded. That, to me, would be ridiculous.

Here is why I tell you this story, why I see something truthful in it for you, and it’s this:

Keep awake.
Listen for whining, turn it into creating. Where can you take action?
Unspool your angst into that which can hold it, and everything else. Remember the vastness.
And visit your meadow.

Jettison Self-Doubt and Lose the Itty-Bitty-Shitty Committee and Make Your Thing Now

From the national best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book and Why Bother.

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