Posts Tagged ‘change’

Day #39– Why Worry?

11/18/2010

I brought my Audi TT to my car mechanic today.

“Oooh, that noise must really bother you,” my car mechanic announced as soon as he drove my Audi TT out of his parking lot. “It’s the convertible top,” he immediately diagnosed. “No big deal; it happens to convertibles a lot.  It’ll only take a few minutes to fix. Can you bring it back tomorrow?”

And with that, my two months of worrying that I’d fatally damaged the chassis of my sports car evaporated into thin air. What had I been thinking? I’d even convinced myself that I hadn’t been worrying at all, when in reality I had.

Yes, I’d been blaming myself for being careless in running a curb, when it seems to be have been nothing of the sort. Or perhaps the car’s lunging motion had jostled the convertible top.  Still, according to my mechanic, the top can be easily adjusted. In my experience, quick adjustments don’t add up to big expenses.

In short, no harm, no foul.

Do things like this ever happen to you? Do you sometimes worry that an event might become a major catastrophe, only to discover that it was  a merely a minor nick?

We humans are the only worriers on Earth. It’s because we’re the only species who can imagine a future different from the present and also different from the past. Yet we often imagine unfavorable events occurring, rather than spectacular successes.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I actually know a way around it, even if I don’t always use it: Ask an empowering question. Or phrase an empowering affirmation.

What’s an empowering question or affirmation?

I developed empowering questions — and affirmations — to help my brain look for positive outcomes.  A question includes:  (1) the words “What” or “How”: (2) the result I want to occur;  and (3) if possible, the timeframe in which I want the outcome to occur.

My empowering questions are eight syllables long. Why? Because our brains can only hold 7-9 bits of information in working memory. and because the number 8 means new beginnings in numerology.

Here’s an example: “What way will I succeed today?”

Or, “What great thing will happen right now?”

An empowering affirmation fills my mind with positive thoughts, such as , “I am loved more than I know.” It focuses on bringing positive emotions into my thoughts and body. It, too, is eight syllables long.

I invite you to create empowering questions and affirmations.  I predict you’ll feel more confident. Happier, too.

You might even envision yourself speeding down the highway in my sleek black convertible, your hair blowing in the wind, with you feeling that the world is at your fingertips.  Because it is. Today, and every day.

Day #35 — I Said No, So I Can Get What I Want

11/15/2010

Is something above the line — or below it? Something you enjoy, but don’t live and die for?

Today I called my massage therapist, who’s also a friend. “Vicki,” I said when she answered the phone. “I love coming to you for massages.  Your touch is wonderful. Also it’s fun to talk and laugh with you. But I can’t afford it right now. I knew it when I saw you last, but I was embarassed to tell you.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone for a moment, and then this:

“I’m sorry you’re in a hard place financially.” Vicki’s tone reflected concern for me.

“Oh, I’m O.K.,” I replied. “Actually, I feel less worried about the future than when I had a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the bank.” I was thinking that it’s because now I’m clear about what my dreams are, and am taking small steps to realize them.

I didn’t say this, yet I knew I also felt pleased and proud for drawing the line in the sand about what’s critical to me, and what’s only nice to have. Pursuing my dream feels critical, while a massage belongs in the “nice to have” category.

Day #34 — Kniting Do-over . . . Again

11/13/2010

Barbara Fabian, Sit N'Knit owner, patiently gets me started once again.

Some things are easier to eliminate than others. Using up the yarn I’ve  bought during the past few years falls into the latter category.

If you recall, I bought yarn to make a wavy shawl in July of 2009. I got stuck, went back to the knitting store, got stuck again, went back to the knitting store and got stuck again. That brings us to January of 2010, when I abandoned the project all together. This past summer (2010), I went back to Sit N’Knit, where I bought the yarn, to once again ask for help. I was told that my project was irretrievable: There were  numerous mistakes in the middle of  it.  Sit N’Knit staff offered to rip out what I had knit, so I could start again.

“Hallelujah,” I said. I’ve been absolved of my sins. I’m going to start a different project.”

Recently I’ve tried to begin a new scarf/sweater project, only to discover the yarn I own doesn’t lend itself to what I want to make.

O.K., I’ll try something else, I said to myself once again. Something smaller and more manageable.

Today, I took three skeins of yarn: one, orange; one, olive green; and one, purple; to Sit N’Knit, with the intention of starting a hat. Barbara Fabian, the store’s owner, helped me get going.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I spent more than four hours knitting a 20-inch piece, which was only a quarter-inch wide. I cast on the same 100 stitches four times, each time discovering an error and starting again.

The bottom line is that knitting is completely new to me, and I’m all thumbs at it. If I stick with it, I may get good at it, but I’m a long way from that point.

Furthermore, knitting reminds me of writing. It’s creating something out of thin air. There’s only my vision of what can can be. And then taking tiny steps to make my vision become reality.

Faith is the glue that keeps me moving forward. Faith that if I keep at it, something wonderful will materialize.

I hope so.

Day #32: Cleaning out a kitchen cabinet

11/11/2010

Here's what my kitchen cabinet looked like before I tackled it today

Do you ever worry about running out of projects for your “170 Days of Change”? my friend Ann asked last night, as we chatted on the phone.

Not even close, I thought.  I could feel my eyes rolling in their sockets.

How could I tell Ann how many undone projects exist in my neatly organized condo?

That’s when I realized “170 Days of Change” is about finishing things. Addressing the many things I see daily and then say to myself, I should get to that. All the while berating myself for not having done it.

I can’t do everything today, I remind myself. Yet if I do one small thing, I’ll whittle down the many outstanding projects facing me so I consistently feel pleased and proud. Plus I’ll build new muscles: completion muscles. These new muscles will help me get what I want.  I know it.

I’ll feel closer to my essence, too. I’m sure of that too, because I already feel it happening, with many outstanding projects still surrounding me.  It’s as if a heavy, black layer of gunk has been removed from my skin; its removal enables me to feel my heart beating all the way through me.

On Day #33, I cleaned out a kitchen cabinet. It’s the one I open every morning to pull out a bag of Kashi “Go Lean” cereal. I shudder every time I do it. It’s a small, narrow cabinet between the sink and refrigerator. Tough to get into. It hasn’t seen the light of day since I moved in seven years ago.

Today’s the day, I said to myself, as I walked into my den to get the beige plastic step stool I store in a corner of the room, behind a chair. The stool would help me reach all the items on the cabinet’s two shelves.

Stepping onto it, I stretched up to remove everything on both shelves: a bag of Kashi cereal, tightly sealed by a huge black paper clip;  a not-yet-opened box of the same cereal; a couple of closed plastic bags with rice cakes in them; two bags of rolled oats (one bag open, the other sealed shut, just as it was when I brought it home from the store; two boxes of penne pasta, which I keep for when my 22-year-old son visits; two bags of Simply Naked pita chips; and a closed paper cup of peach raspberry oatmeal. Also a couple of bags of whole wheat pasta.

Everything that had already been opened went into the garbage, with the exception of the Kashi cereal I eat every morning and the rice cakes. I used Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena household cleaner to wash the shelves, and then rinsed them off with a wet paper towel. (As I write this, I realize I should have used cloth towels.) Soon.

Afterward, when I placed each item on the dry shelves, I felt like I was patting myself on the back.