Finding the magic.
If worrying were an olympic sport, I would have won a gold medal last week.
For many years I accepted worrying as a part of life but then I met people who didn’t worry about things in the same way. Over time my perspective changed and I began to worry less. I can’t say I stopped altogether but I enjoyed worry-free periods and life in that space has a different quality.
At the start of last week, I realised I had wandered back into Worryland. Overcome with anxiety about a million and one things, I took Angus for a walk. As we walked I did an exercise. I pinned each worry onto an imaginary washing line. It was a big load. I had been really busy!
I worked through different categories, family, money, business, health, house, even the dog.
“Well you know we changed his food a couple of weeks ago and he seems rather quiet…”
Then I began to laugh. I had busted myself. It wasn’t really about any of the individual problems hanging on the line, I was simply in worry mode. I could solve all the problems and a whole new set would appear, just like dirty laundry.
The next question was how to move on.
There is absolutely no point telling a worrier to stop worrying. It’s like telling someone who’s depressed to cheer up or someone who’s procrastinating to get on with it. Instead of trying to stop worrying, I need to start doing something else.
When we worry or get stressed, our left brain shuts down the inspiration that naturally flows from our right brain. Our right brain thinks in images, movement and the present. Our left brain is methodical and linear. When we’re at our best, our left brain sorts through the myriad of inspiration from our right brain and turns it into thought and action.
But the connection between the two halves of our brain goes beyond information processing, it determines how we connect to the world around us.
In her fabulous TED talk, “My stroke of insight” Jill Bolte Taylor describes what happened when she had a massive stroke after a blood vessel exploded in the left hand side of her brain. She explains that because of it’s holistic nature, our right brain feels connected to everything around us. Our left brain is has the little voice that says, “I am” and establishes us an individual, separate from everything around us.
So when our left brain takes over, the “I am” voice is stronger and we become disconnected from our creative right brain.
Worrying has become a signal for me that I have become disconnected from my inspiration. It’s a symptom of my separation.To reconnect I need some right brain thinking.
So to find a new sense of connection, I play these games.
I look for clues from nature
Being outside kick starts our senses which gets our right brain going. If I spot an animal, bird or even an insect I wonder what its significance might be. While I was in Italy a dragonfly spent an afternoon visiting me while I was reading. It would hover, looking me in the eye and then fly off only to return a few moments later. Dragonflies symbolise transformation.
I play “Psychic Spotify”
We send most of our day processing information visually. When we’re stressed it’s harder to listen, so music is a fun way of stimulating our hearing and opening up our right brain. For this game I put on Spotify, shuffle my playlist and see what comes up. Then I try to work out what clue I am being given with each song. It might be in the words or a memory that it evokes.
Playing these games gets me moving, looking, listening and feeling more. The more I play them the more I find and the magic begins to return. As Einstein said:
“There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.”
When I am in worry mode I am living life as though nothing is a miracle. My right brain games help me to switch lane.