Waking Up In The

Great Recession Mormon Desert

by Sheryl Karas with Paul Hood

Prologue (Excerpt)

How to Stop Worrying

by Paul Hood

How to stop worrying.

Dale Carnegie had some good ideas, but the story isn’t over yet.

It’s not as if there aren’t thousands, maybe millions of positive examples out there. So many mentors, so many shining examples of how to live life more joyously in the present moment. All you have to do is ask—and even sometimes when you don’t ask, somebody you know will send a truly inspiring video directly to you via the magic of email.

But all those uncountable resources don’t always get through. They don’t work on the truly tough cases. I recently figured out why. The brilliant, shining examples are all speaking the wrong language. For people who worry, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and other motivational speakers may as well be speaking Martian. You have to know your audience.

So let’s make a fresh start.

If you worry, it’s because you’re bad, wrong, and in all likelihood, stupid. Now, it’s not as if anything I say will change the fact that you fill your life with useless worry. No, you will continue on, day in and day out, running through your same, tired old internal rhetoric. You always do that. I’m so sick of it I could scream. I knew you would turn out this way. Why can’t you be more like your sister? You’re supposed to be the smart one. Go clean your room.

Now I’m getting through, aren’t I? If you worry obsessively it’s because you were taught to do so, either by example or by drilling into your brain that a certain world-view is, in fact, reality. Of course that world view isn’t true. It’s a vicious lie. The world is filled with lies and deception. And you fell for it. God, you are so gullible. I can’t even believe it. Who raised you? Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Look at me when I’m talking to you.

So, obsessive worry is caused by a faulty thought process, and that process is fueled by having been immersed in a world view skewed by excessive concern for safety, security and familiarity. That world view is ruled by fear, an emotion. Emotions aren’t bad or good, they just are. But it’s a useful thing to be aware of which emotions you’d be better off making a habit of feeling. Even more useful if you’re aware that your thoughts have a very direct effect on your emotions, and you can certainly learn to think useful thoughts which result in a more pleasant emotional state. Interestingly enough, more pleasant emotions tend to spawn more useful thoughts, encouraging a more positive and productive world view and that becomes a cycle which is self supporting. I’m losing you, aren’t I? Like pearls before swine. I might as well be talking to a brick wall. Look, if you don’t pay attention you’re going to miss all this good stuff and then where will you be? Screwed, that’s where. I should have known. I could have predicted this. When will you ever learn? What’s so funny, damn it? Use your indoor voice.

Worry is, in fact, oppression. It was probably taught to you by people who meant well, as it was taught to them and so on. Don’t blame yourself for that, and there’s no need to blame your teachers either. Engender forgiveness in your heart  for the fact that everything in this world is meant to change and grow. You learned one world view which has useful facets, but it was unbalanced and now you’re going to learn a new one. It’s not hard, but it might be scary. The whole reason for that fear to appear is because the new world view contradicts the old one which was based on. . . right, you guessed it. . . Fear with a capital “F.” Fear in this case does not indicate danger. Fear in this case indicates change, and your previous world view was constructed to sound the alarm whenever change appeared imminent. Again, be forgiving. Your friends, relatives and neighbors may have experienced very unpleasant changes. Those changes became associated with fear, and then equated with fear, and finally any change gets viewed as bad, wrong, or even “evil.” Whoops, that’s a stretch. Only an idiot would believe something like that. An idiot like you. You and the horse you rode in on. Mercy me. Stay with me now, remember: a stitch in time saves nine. I want you to turn over a new leaf. I’m just trying to help, and there you go again, flying off the handle like always. Now don’t go off half cocked. You could put an eye out. All I’m saying is, be careful.

So worry is a habit whose emotional basis is fear. When someone is afraid, the first instinctual thing we do is tell them “everything is all right,” “you’re safe now,” “you’re home,” essentially that they are in a quiet, protected, PREDICTABLE environment. Worry, interestingly enough, is the mind trying to predict the future, and all possible variations of it. It’s an attempt to achieve readiness now, for what might occur later. That’s impossible, if you look at the sheer number of things which might happen in the future and that you can’t mathematically prepare for all of them. On the other hand, nearly every creature on this earth is a living example of being prepared for everything. You are too, I’m telling you, you’re prepared, you’re worthy, you’re a high functioning individual—the product of millions of years of evolution and a perfect child of God. And yet you think otherwise. I could slap you. I swear, right now. Oh la -dee-dah, you think you’re so special, don’t you? That you have to stay up nights running scripts in your head because you’re the one individual in history who can mentally catalog every possible future event—not just for you but for everyone and everything in your life. Wow. Get over yourself.

Worry is oppression that is taught, and learned, based upon the idea that fear equals readiness—that feeling bad is a good idea. Maybe it’s even a responsibility. Worry embraces the concept that the one constant in the universe, change, is something to be avoided at all costs. Worry can’t exist very well in an individual unless they are living in a state of constant fear. Interestingly enough, fear can’t be upheld in an environment of faith. Oh, ye of little faith. Oppression means that you were taught that you aren’t ready for anything, that you’re inferior. That really cracks me up. I’m laughing at you right now. Pointing and laughing, and doing a little dance which is rather uncoordinated but is reminiscent of the Bossa Nova. It looks totally silly and I don’t care. You have no faith at all, you sorry bastard. Even a little child knows that he can walk around in the world and be totally joyous. Hell, baby goats know that, puppies and kittens know that. Even flowers bloom, grass grows automatically, the sun rises and sets without writing a business plan every night. Point of fact, if you worry you are dumber than dirt.

Even though change is constant in the universe, on a day to day basis a lot of things do stay the same. Our civilization is built upon a certain degree of predictability. When we want to direct specific changes, we theorize based upon past observances, we try new things and observe the results. We innovate, and innovation is faith based. We have faith in our abilities to bring positive change, and we generally know that when we try new things we aren’t usually risking much. There’s a certain amount of inertia to reality, we can’t help but be aware of that. Little mistakes do not cause the fabric of the universe to unravel. That’s another reason not to worry. Most change is incremental, not revolutionary, or to put a negative spin on it, disastrous. This is what you should forgive your oppressors for: for knowing that much of life is about balancing inertia (tradition) with incremental risks to bring about positive change. They weren’t wrong to teach you this, maybe just a little out of balance. And because they loved you so much, they may have taught you to worry, thinking they were helping you be ready for anything. So forgive them now and know that you are ready.

Peace be with you.

Ok, I hope I was speaking your language and that this helped.

If it didn’t, don’t worry about it.

I know I won’t.

© Copyright 2011 Sheryl Karas


. . . by Sheryl Karas


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