Archive for March, 2009

**This is the same article I posted for the March issue of my Balancing Tips newsletter, which can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balancingtips/ .**

One day last week, after dropping my son off at preschool, I started feeling down. I sighed loudly into the empty vehicle, giving in to the “woe is me” attitude that had inexplicably reared its ugly head. I felt drained. I felt blah. I didn’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere, just finding a corner to sit in and stare.

But then I suddenly slammed the brakes on my thoughts, considered them for a moment, and asked myself a question. “What is so terrible about this current moment, driving down the road?”

My answer was NOTHING! Absolutely nothing terrible was happening to me at that precise moment. I was driving the car. Nothing inherently sad about that. In fact, if I just looked at that one moment, or those few moments, life was pretty good.

So where was this depression coming from?

Then I suddenly realized why I felt sad. I was feeling dread about issues I suspected might happen later in the day.

Would I have time to get enough work done before picking my son up from school? [Answer: Who cares? Just do what I can and continue later.] Would the house be clean enough for my husband when he got home from work? [Answer: Who cares? He’ll comment or he won’t, whether the house is perfect or a mess. Just do what I can, and focus on my priorities (family, work).] Will my kids listen to me this evening? [Answer: Who cares? Just send them to their rooms! 🙂 ]

I didn’t even know what would happen later, but I had done quite a lot of assuming, and I was already feeling down about it. Does that make any sense? It didn’t to me at that moment driving in my car around the lake near my son’s school.

Maybe life WOULD happen exactly as I had imagined it, or maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe I WOULD feel bad later, or maybe I wouldn’t. But why worry about it now? Why imagine feeling bad, and why make myself feel bad now when nothing was even wrong (yet)?

It makes no sense, yet I find myself behaving this way often, almost every day some weeks.

Unfortunately, issues DO happen in life! That’s part of the definition of life. Difficulties may not be the ones you are worrying about (so why worry?), but there WILL be issues and problems and hurdles.

If we try to avoid issues or fight upstream trying to stop them, then we feel miserable.

If we believe we’ll finally be happy once this or that problem goes away or when a specific event happens, then we’ll NEVER be happy.

But we CAN be at peace. We can feel negative emotions (whether over real issues or due to perceived problems, it doesn’t matter; we still feel bad), and we can recognize those emotions for what they are and get through our funk without wallowing in it.

What I think many people call “happy” is really “peace”. Peace under ANY circumstances.

How many times have you been having a wonderful day, outwardly happy — being with your family or doing an activity you enjoy — only to feel jumbled inside? What were you dwelling on internally at that moment rather than being fully present in your actual happiness? You were doing something you thought would make you happy — and maybe it does. But, if your mind is elsewhere, you won’t truly BE happy. In fact, you won’t truly BE anything. You’ll be trapped between what was and what might be.

God doesn’t want that for us. He wants us to meet Him in the NOW — the present moment — and just BE with Him.

How often do we really do that? Just BE with God. I know I don’t do it often enough. Even during prayer, my mind drifts.

How much more soothing and effective would prayer be if we were really THERE in it at that moment (not mentally off somewhere else)? How much closer our relationship with God would be!

Knowing you are behaving this paradoxical way does not mean you automatically stop doing it, or that you never will do it again, even after you stop. But, I have learned that, if you can recognize it when it happens, and try to stop yourself, then negative feelings seem less bad, almost comical. How silly we all are!!! 🙂

Remember, row, row, row your boat, life is but a dream… The reality is home with God. Does anything else really matter? Well, then, why dwell on it? Why beat yourself up over it? Just BE.


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