Worry…worry…worry…then repeat.

November 26, 2016 § 11 Comments


Worry doesn’t knock. It knows where you hide the key. Stumble out of sleep and, if it hasn’t climbed into bed with you, you will find it in its usual spot at the kitchen table, leaning on its elbows.

Might as well pour it a cup of coffee.

All day long worry steps on your heels, messes with you. It makes sure the car cranks like it isn’t going to start. It does, but not before adrenaline spikes. It sends text messages. It writes newspaper headlines. It keeps you distracted, ensuring that you misplace your glasses.

Worry runs the same movie over and over in a continuous loop behind whatever else is going on. It never serves popcorn.

Worry doesn’t solve or fix. It does not move on. Instead it accompanies you like a fretful, needy child, an aging relative, a pet that suffers when left home alone.

Reluctantly, you make worry a safe place in your heart until you come, in a grudging way, to like and protect it as you must like and protect any vital part of yourself.

Little by little, worry builds the box that contains and constrains you. It convinces you that not only are those walls real, but that beyond those walls is nothing but a howling darkness, that you are safer with a familiar worry than you are taking on a risk that is new and unknown.

You become convinced that the act of worrying inoculates you, keeps you safe, that other worries will respect the fact your plate is full and move on.

You grow around worry the way a tree grows around a wire fence.

But confined and absorbed by worry you cannot take advantage of the subtle shifts, the infinite possibilities, the shimmering invitation of NOW.

If only for a moment let that sunlight hit your face, turn toward it, take a deep breath.

And then, remember the boogie man who haunted the dark space under your bed.

You kicked him out, didn’t you?

Note: The “you” of this post could easily be replaced with “I.” I can only add, I am working on it.


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§ 11 Responses to Worry…worry…worry…then repeat.

  • ammaponders says:

    Oh so true. I live with a worrier, so I can let go easily. He’s got it all covered!


  • KM Huber says:

    I’m feeling guilty, and I suspect you know why.

    On many an occasion, I have “hired” you to worry so I could do other things. As we both know, worry pay is terrible but always, willingly, you offer your services, and I accept. (I do believe I have grown bold enough to ask before you offer.)

    Worry is an easy thing for me to hire out, if I bother at all. This only comes after years of conversations with the boogie man under my bed. And yes, he still there when he’s not on another job….



  • Gina says:

    The imagery you use is always so right and real, Adrian. It strikes me that “worry” in your post could easily be changed out with “self-doubt.” Many of the very same interactions, reactions, and emotions apply!


  • Allocating a small stool for silent worry & when the seat is full, moving away from it, might be the trick for me. My worry rarely accomplishes a whit, Adrian, but my lack of worry might indicate I don’t care.
    It’s an interesting balance. People who don’t feel emotion, don’t worry I think. And I do feel a lot.
    Engaging thoughts here, once again.


  • craig reeder says:

    Laura and I frequently talk about how we should not “pre-worry” about so many things that might happen, but most likely won’t. Preparation is one thing, but pre-worrying about things is unproductive. Loved the image of the tree growing around the wire fence.


    • Somehow we think that if we see it first it won’t get us. Hence pre-worrying. And maybe it is true. We are usually gotten by things that blindside us, not the things we have invested good time in worrying about.


  • Sue Cronkite says:

    Another great lesson. I’m working on it too.


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