Kiss Fear Thoughts Goodbye
“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.” —Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
As I write the sun is shining, petunias are blooming, and a beautiful goldfinch just landed on the bird feeder.
But my mind’s worried and stuck in “figuring things out” mode, even though I’ve already made an action plan. There’s a temporary gas shortage and one of our cars badly needs gas, so my brain’s stressed about unknown variables in the situation (long lines, running out of gas, etc).
This all will be dealt with somehow in the near future, but this morning my mind is letting these worries tag along while I catch a few “relaxing” moments on the deck.
Sound familiar? Even in the loveliest spot, we can carry along stressful baggage. The most important thing is recognizing it. Otherwise the mind stays caught up in anxious thoughts and we create more stress for ourselves.
Once I recognize the presence of fear thoughts, I’m able to take relaxing breaths, come back to my heart instead of my head, and be here in the present moment enjoying the goldfinches (now there are five!).
It really can be that simple, though bringing ourselves back to the present isn’t always easy and it’s a continuous practice. We need to be aware of our feelings and give ourselves compassion. Often we’re dwelling in the past beating ourselves or someone else up (“Oh why didn’t I get gas on the way home the other night even though I was tired??!!”) Okay, can’t change it now, so I learn from it and move on. Or stay lost in that scary imaginary future that almost never happens….
So, when it’s time to deal with these things, I’ll deal with them. Other than making my action plans for the future, giving space to my feelings, and learning from the past, there’s no reason to dwell in either place. The present moment is where we experience living and where peace waits.
Update—Early the next morning my husband got gas. There was only a quarter of a gallon left when he filled it up! (But more worrying wouldn’t have changed that.)
Here are some affirmations that may be helpful reminders:
Today I take actions that lead me toward my brightest possible future.
I breathe in peace…then exhale and let go of any fear thoughts.
I learn from the past and allow my feelings about it to be here, sending myself loving kindness and compassion. Then I look for all I can enjoy and appreciate in this moment.
I let unhelpful thoughts drift away like clouds, and breathe in the beauty of the present moment.