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A Lesson from a Teacher

by Jo Wilkie

While I was in the hospital, I listened to one of my many audiobooks. What I like most about her is that she seems so normal and human, and is just completely inspiring to listen to and read.

The book I happened to be listening to was another book. In fact, I think I’ve listened to this, oh, six or seven times over the last 3 or 4 months. It is so thought provoking and delightful to listen to. She is funny and gentle and wise. I highly recommend it. Or really, any of her books. She is amazing.

Truth be told, I was really worried before the procedure. Even hearing that it’s no big deal, yadda, yadda- they were putting me under and sticking god-knows-what down my throat to look in my biliary tract. That seems so foreign to me. I had such a feeling of not being in control, and, apparently, since I’ve set the intention to let go of my controlling ways this year, apparently the universe, or God, or whoever, is listening and sending lessons my way. Really, in my initial intention, I was just thinking in terms of controlling people (like my daughter and husband), but it seems the powers that be think I can give up some other forms of control, too.

Back to Pema. One thing she touches on is our habits and letting go of them. She mentions that she is a worrier, that is one of her big habits. And how when we indulge in our habits, we make them stronger, but when we can stop ourselves, we weaken them. Makes sense, yes? She also mentions her desire to want to be further away from her habitual responses next year- taking the long view. That really struck me. One day of worry might not seem like a big deal, but it all adds up. Next year, what do I want my inner landscape to look like? Do I want to be biting my lip and furrowing my brow even more than I do now?

For me, worry is linked to control. Somewhere along the line, I made a false connection. There is a deep-seated belief inside me that if I worry all the angles of a situation or possible outcome, then the bad thing I’m afraid of won’t happen. So, for me, worry is a form of trying to control the outcome. It also takes me completely outside of the present moment, which is where everything is happening. Isn’t that totally insane?? Insane or not, it’s true. I realized before the procedure, as I was worrying about all the possible things that could happen or go wrong or could be wrong that my hope is that by worrying about it, none of the bad stuff will come to fruition.

I’m ready to let go of that. It’s crippling, because there are an infinite number of things to worry about these days. So, I bow to Pema for being a fellow worrier and sharing her experience and wisdom in a way that I can understand, and I bow to the universe for supporting me in my intention to let go of control and live in the moment. Who would have thought openhearted clarity (my intention words for the year) would be so potent and life-changing?

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