I was recently visiting with my grandfather. I love our talks: a retired professor of engineering, he always shares his perspective thoughtfully, and with humility and grace.
I asked him about how he deals with uncertainty and worry. At 95 years old, I figured he would have some words of wisdom to share. He told me this story:
Five years ago, he was sitting at the bar of one of his favorite local restaurants; a young man sat down next to him and seemed eager to chat. A bit bluntly, he started the conversation by stating that he was an atheist, and asking my grandfather how old he was.
My grandfather tends to take things in stride, so he simply told the young man his age.
The young man then asked: “Aren’t you afraid of dying?”
My grandfather replied: “No, I don’t worry about things I can’t control.”
Easier said than done, but I’ve seen him apply this in his daily life.
The system of Reiki offers precepts, or principles to live by. One of my favorite is:
Do not worry, fear is distraction.
It’s such a good reminder. After all, worry doesn’t do anything. If you can take action to help the situation, you’re doing something, you’re not just worrying about it. And if it’s out of your control, why worry about it, it’s distracting you from living your life.
I think this might be the secret to my grandfather’s longevity.
What’s one worry you can let go of today?
I hope everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy is doing as well as possible under the circumstances. I thought about writing about ways to stay calm in a disaster, but who am I kidding, that’s way beyond my scope. If you don’t have the basic necessities like food, water, and shelter, it’s pretty hard to offer any words of wisdom.
So I’m scaling it back, and offering the Big Belly Technique–the easiest way I know of to let go of fear and help you relax in under 5 seconds.
The Big Belly Technique
When we’re frightened, anxious, or stressed, our breathing is much more shallow, residing in our upper chest. Want to change that in under 5 seconds? Here’s how the Big Belly Technique works (and yes, I love that name, and no, it won’t make you have a big belly permanently!):
One of Master Usui’s Reiki precepts is “Just for today, do not worry.” Easier said than done, right?
But what is worry? If you think about it, worry doesn’t DO anything–if you fix what’s bothering you then you stop worrying when you start fixing it, and if you can’t fix it, then why worry? Anxiety relief is nearby.
Often when you worry your worst case scenario is totally off and your instincts are wrong, and if your worst nightmare happens it usually doesn’t feel as bad as when you worried about it–let’s call it the “wild imagination factor.”
Worry doesn’t prepare you for anything–watching TV and reading the news, then feeling bombarded by fear–it’s a distraction. It doesn’t allow you to be in touch with your own freedom, power, and true self.
Well, Maybe Worry A Little
Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Medicine and a physician who combines Native American healing with traditional medicine, suggests keeping a Worry Diary. Make a list of worries for a few minutes each day and ask yourself if what you’re worried about will matter in 10 days, 10 years, or 100 years from now. And then be done with it for the day.
His Cherokee grandmother couldn’t write, so instead of making a list of worries, she set aside a certain time each day to think of everything that worried her, and when she couldn’t think of any more worries, she said a prayer, and worrying was done for the day.
Our minds can be free of worry and fear—just for today.
Your Next Session
Can you feel anxious when you’re getting a Reiki, reflexology, or hypnosis session?
You can try, but the session should help jump start your body’s own self-healing response–assisting the body in releasing deep-seated tensions, aiding in detoxification, improving organ functioning, and balancing mental and emotional states.
Alleviating anxiety is one of the top reasons clients come to me. In addition to the Reiki, reflexology, or hypnosis session itself, I love showing them self-hypnosis strategies they can do on their own to eliminate anxiety. Ready to book a session to see for yourself?