Some of your hurts you have cured
And the sharpest you've even survived
But what torments of grief you've endured
From evils which never arrived.
Oh, boy. What truth there is here. I have spent too much time enduring “torments of grief” from “evils which never arrived.” This is a common activity otherwise known as “worrying”, “fretting”, “agonizing over”, “awfulizing”, “catastrophizing” and “living in the wreckage of the future.” I used to do this a lot. I do it less now, because I recognize it for what it is and (usually) cut it short. It might start with my bank balance getting low with a few days to go before payday. Before long, I've got us bankrupt, homeless, and living on the street.
Now, I have some tools to help me cut short my worrying. These include the slogans “One day at a time” and “first things first.” “One day at a time” reminds me that I am living in the present moment, and that I should take care of what I need to do now. Worrying will not change any outcomes, it will just make me miserable now. If there are things I can to to affect the outcome, then I should do them, and “first things first” reminds me of that. As we say, I can do the “next right thing,” and when I've done everything that I can do today, I can let go of the outcome and continue to live in the moment. When hurts come along, I will survive them or cure them, in their time. But I certainly do not need to endure “evils which never arrive.”
A meditation for May 14, 2013.