Monday, March 24, 2008

Sacred Worrying

My best friend is currently in the middle of grieving one of the most confusing and painful kinds of loss a human can live through. For her sake, I won't go into more detail than that.

5 days had gone by since I talked to her. She wasn't returning my calls or, I suspect, getting anywhere near her email. The concern built to an intense worry.

Because of my inability to check in with her, everything I did during the day was done with a layer of anxiety boiling just beneath. As a good therapist should, my shrink and I set out to see if there was a way to curb my distress--after all, it wasn't helping anyone was it? Or was it?

As we began to dissect my feelings in an effort to "work through" them, it was pretty obvious that I was resistant to giving up my worry and replacing it with something more "productive." My shrink suggested Tonglen, one of my favorite meditations for healing others. Nah. He suggested doing some sort of ritual to send her peace. Nope. He tried to get me to look for ways to release my anxieties and replace them with "healthier" emotions. No thanks.

It was then I started describing my worry in more detail. My worry made me feel connected to my friend even during a time of not being in contact. My worry made me feel like I was holding some of her pain for her. My worry made me feel like we were in this together. I had no desire to give up my worry--"healthy" reaction or no.

It was then my wonderful therapist and I landed upon a new kind of conscious thinking--Sacred Worrying. Instead of trying to resolve my worry, we decided to embrace it. By becoming conscious of how it served me and what role it played in staying connected to my friend's tragedy, it lost it's neurotic quality and became sacred.

Every time I noticed myself worrying, I bathed in it, lit an candle in my mind and allowed myself to be there with my friend--even without direct contact. Sometimes, what we are naturally doing is just fine--it may just need a little fine tuning.

As a follow-up, my friend contacted me shortly after my session with my beloved shrink and I am going to see my friend this weekend. Sacred Worrying served me well last week and now I will relish my role as supporter and well...friend.


Femail doc said...

Sacred worrying, I like that. I am a born worrier and always reluctant to give it up. I go through that same "What good is this to anyone," but now I have an answer. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

oh man. I feel your pain. You know I have plenty of things that I worry about on a regular basis. I think i'll try this new technique.