“No Worries”

I want to leave my worry today.

That’s what I said to myself at the end of my morning yoga practice.  Rachel, my teacher, suggested that we might want to set an intention for our day or name something we want to leave. I wanted to leave my worry that woke me up that morning.

I use the idea of “worry” to cover a multitude of sins.  I woke up worrying…  I was so worried… what worries me… all the worrying… that worries me…

What I worry about is often that “skilfully wrought impression,” as author Carol Shields muses, that is a life.  What I worry about is wrapped around what I might do, or not do, for the sake of someone’s good opinion of me.

Even more derailing are my worries about what I imagine to be true and what matters about me.

When I’m almost asleep, I can be jolted out of sleep’s release.  When I awake at 2:00 a.m., I rehearse those conversations that matter in the dark.  Even after a full night’s sleep, I might awake to one perseverating premonition.

One day, I wrote that the panic or anxiousness or sadness that I feel is not a reaction to my usual worrying, but I’m not sure that is the truth.  Beneath the worry is my furtive desire to change, manage, and control people, situations, or circumstances that I cannot and are not mine to manage, change, or control.  My impulse is disguised as worry that helps and even cares for others. 

My own skilfully wrought impression?  The bringing together of what I fear? Or some of what I off-handedly reveal that sums up why I matter in my world?  (More co-opting of Carol Shield’s words.)

Jesus said, “Don’t worry, be grateful. Does it add anything to your life?” 

And Mary Oliver came to a similar conclusion and gave it up.

So today, I’m leaving my worry here and I will be ready to lay it down again… and again.

I Worried

by Mary Oliver

I worried a lot.  Will the

garden grow, will the rivers flow in the

 right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not

how shall

I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will

I be forgiven,

can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing,

even the sparrows

can do it and I am, well,


In my eyesight fading or am I

just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying

had come to nothing

and gave it up.  And took my

old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.

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