Jesus, Eckhart Tolle and Stephen Stills walk into a bar…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  

Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

Take a deep breath and look at what is happening now, in this moment, you’re okay.  Eckhart Tolle

And if you can’t be with the one you love. Love the one you’re with.  Crosby, Stills and Nash

So Jesus, Eckhart Tolle and Stephen Stills walk into a bar…and they AGREE that you must stop worrying about what might happen tomorrow and be present to the moment you are living.  Constantly wondering, analyzing and worrying about the “what if” questions, is no way to live.  I can be just as guilty of this as anyone, but I have made some progress.  I no longer drag other people onto my crazy train.  To illustrate what crazy sounds like and how to keep your trips on the crazy train to a minimum, I’m going to tell you my toe story:

My big toe got infected and the pain kicked in at about 3am in the morning.  My brain started to spin.  I was convinced that this pain must be something really bad, like gout or gangrene.  I tried to ice it, but it is surprisingly difficult to keep ice on your big toe while you are lying down.  So, I took some pain medication and I waited for the pain to subside enough for me to go back to sleep.  Here is how the next 30-40 minutes of crazy went:   “Why do I ALWAYS lose my toe nail right before sandal season?” For the record, the last time I lost a toe nail was over 25 years ago.  In my defense, it WAS right before sandal season. In 1985.

From there, my crazy brain leap-frogged right over everyday toe injury to deciding it must be a tumor and, of course, that meant I had cancer.  Oh, and if it was a tumor, I would need to have the toe amputated (completely rational train of logic, right?).   Then I remembered a stream of consciousness exercise where I envisioned my future.  One of the random things that came out on the page was that I would wear “weird shoes”.  I became convinced that it had been a premonition of wearing special shoes made for toe amputees.  I started to imagine the sad life I would live as a toe amputee.  No more cute sandals, balance issues, I can’t exercise, I become obese, get heart disease and die.

At this point, I considered waking someone up to ask if they also thought, based on my clearly cancer-like symptoms, that I needed emergency attention.  Maybe I should do some internet research on toe pain – seriously, DON’T google that, you will be so sorry.

I then remembered all the irrational e-mails and voice messages I have received over the years from anxious clients, where they spent lots of money asking me “what if” questions and creating emergency scenarios that never came to pass, costing them hundreds of dollars for me to read or listen to their trip on the crazy train.  I reasoned with my crazy-brain that if I was going to lose my toe anyway, telling someone about it at 3am wasn’t going to change that.  Mercifully, the pain medication I had taken finally kicked in and I fell asleep.

In case you are worried about me, I did NOT have my toe amputated.  All the time spent imagining all the horrible things that might happen was actually just creating upset and misery when I could have been reading or watching Cosby Show reruns on Nick at Nite.  As suggested by the quotes above, humans all too easily dwell on the bad stuff while failing to enjoy what is in our presence now.   The progress I have made in this area, and that I believe we all need to work on to make the world a better place, is that I did refrain from ruining anyone else’s night.  In the morning, I called the doctor’s office and I made the choice not to complain or whine to the doctor’s receptionist when she couldn’t fit me in until the afternoon.  I did not inflict my 3am misery on anyone but myself – a victory over crazy brain!

If you have ever been on the receiving end of an e-mail written at 3am, you will know what I’m talking about.  And that is my segue to why those of you going through hard times, like a divorce, need to hear this.  There are going to be a lot of hard moments, but not every moment needs to be so hard.  You CAN stop driving yourself to the edge with questions of “what if” (e.g. what if he quits his job and doesn’t pay support, what if she takes the kids to Mexico and never comes back, etc.).  Yes, it is important to do your homework, to think things through and to plan.  But when fears take you down the rabbit hole of ‘what if” to a place where you are no longer enjoying the good moments that are available to you every day, you are losing more than you are gaining.   You will have good moments mixed in with the bad and you need to notice and enjoy them because even when your life is falling apart,  you CAN enjoy getting cosy with a cup of tea on a rainy day, you CAN laugh with your kids, you CAN choose to enjoy the moments in which you are okay.  The choices you make in hard times need to come from a place of strength, inner wisdom and love, instead of from a place of exhaustion, fear and overwhelm.

If you take just one thing from this message, please do NOT hit send on any e-mail that you draft at 3am until you have had someone trustworthy review it for crazyBoom! I just saved you hundreds of dollars in attorney fees and/or several apology e-mails. 🙂

And, yes, those are my awesome, “weird shoes” in the picture above (apparently, I’m shoe psychic).  I hope you’ll share one moment from today when everything was okay, write it in the comments below.

Comments

  1. thanks for the continuing insight, kk! your blog took me to a pitstop off the crazy train to realize i need to have more fun & stop worrying so much 🙂

  2. p.s. love the shoes!!!

  3. kERI,
    yOUR BLOGS ARE THE BEST! hUMOR, WISDOM AND PERSONAL EXAMPLES…. EVEN WHEN ONLY VALIDATING NUTTY CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
    tHANKS FOR SHARING,
    DAVID

  4. Great post, Keri. My great moment of today was picking up my twins from kindergarten. When that door opens and those smiling faces come running out to me I am immediately transported from crazy brain to present moment, and all is once again right with the world. Have a great weekend!

    • That a mom of twins takes the time to read my blog is a total honor! Hope you had lots of smile time with them over the weekend. 😉

  5. Maggie McKinney says:

    You are absolutely correct and I can’t wait to have coFfee with you :-). The sooner we realize to take a deep bReath the better we live.

  6. Another great blog…and why is it, i wonder, that the crazy train so often stops by in the middle of the night???? I find if i can make it through til the morning, everything seems so much easier. (Meanwhile, i MUST make that doctor appointment i keep putting off….)

    • Yes, and why can I never remember all the things I was adding to my “to do” list when I wake up in the morning? lol

  7. Esther Durán Lumm says:

    Great advice, Keri, even for those of us not contemplating divorce! worrying about anything really is a waste of precious time, energy, and does nothing to maintain good health, especially when the situation is out of your control, or you can’t do anything about it right away. Thanks for your wise words, they apply to all of us!

  8. Beautiful words, I love the broader meaning of “love the one you are with. Today I Had four meeting with People who were helping understand policy governance , help Prepare for panel I will be on and one who was stepping up to helping with a workshop for 140 students, learn about college and learn about substance. Ther are a lot of people out there williNg to lenD a hand.

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