Don't Worry. Just Love.
A Practical Skills Course By Dan Jones
What is worry?
A sense that something somewhere is wrong.
Some worry states: Suspicion, distrust, doubt, confusion, fear, apprehension, anxiety, dread, boredom, monotony, isolation, loneliness, not-belongingness, criticism, blame, fault-finding, complaining, self-criticism, self-blame, guilt, shame, unworthiness, neediness, craving, yearning, jealousy, envy, anguish, agony, despair, gloom.
What is Love?
A sense that deep down all is well.
Some love or “in love” states: Openness, acceptance, patience, appreciation, faith, hope, trust, surrender, peace, calm, serenity, joy, gladness, wonder, awe, thanksgiving, praise
Physiologically, worry is an unnecessary stress response, ranging in intesnsity from bigilance to panic; characterized by tense muscles, shallow breathing, and racing haeart and brain; and fueled by adrenaline an dother stress hormones. Chronic worry is adrenaline addiction. The remedy is a relaxation response.
And if worry is a physical contraction – tense, closed, hard, and quick – love is a physical expansion – easy, open, soft, and slow. Love is not exactly something we do; it’s more something we surrender to. As worry/tension leaves, love arrives. Naturally, we love back; who can resist it? And naturally, we pass it along to others; who can stop it? Love is effortless and irresistible.
What follows are some anti-worry, pro-love strategies that have helped others. You’re welcome to experiment and find the best ones for you. They can be done as healing, or as prayer, or as both. Put everything in your own words. We begin with simple methods of stillness and attention that can be done anytime, anywhere.
- Sitting or lying quietly, I have no tension/worry:
- In my breathing – deep, easy, natural
- In my face – especially around my eyes, mouth, and jaw
- In my body – especially in my shoulders, solar plexus, and pelvic floor
- In my mind – thoughts, verbal, visual and aural, are calm and soothing – the inner voice has a mellow tone and flowing rhythm.
If these methods of stillness and attention don’t relieve the tension/worry, you might try something more active.
- Soothing sounds: sigh, purr
- Music: sing, hum, whistle
- Laughter: at worry itself, that old pretender
- Yawning: relaxes the jaw and the whole body
- Crying: if there’s anything sad, releases the pressure of the trears and all the depressing chemicals they contain
- Power sounds: when the problem is frustration, just to yourself, where you can’t be heard, growl, roar, scream (as in “I could just scream!)
- Exercise, dance, Tai chi, Qi gong, yoga
- work, hobby, gardening
- self-massage, healing touch
- Music, Art
- Bodyworkers, healers
- Herbs, etc
If none of this is helping as much as you’d like it to (relief is small or only temporary) then try saying each of the following in a confident tone of voice and see what thoughts and feelings come up – agreements or contradictions.
- I forgive everybody completely for everything
This doesn’t mean that I like everything that happens, or that I don’t learn life’s lessons – just that I’m tired of being angry and judgmental, and I’m ready to move from there to compassion. The word, “forgiveness” just describes a state of not being angry.
- I forgive myself completely for everything
This doesn’t mean that I’d do it all the same way over again – just that I’m tired of guilt and self-criticism, and I’m ready to move from there to self-acceptance. Given the hand I was dealt, I’ve played a pretty good game.
- I have grieved all my losses and disappointments
Found my way through the blessed relief of tears and sobs and moans to acceptance and peace with what is.
- I laugh easily at my ego and all its dramas
Dramas of power, wealth and status; sexual dramas; spiritual dramas; dramas of “needs” of all kinds; dramas of self-pity, self-importance, and self-righteousness. (“Ego” is defined as a paralysis of the laughing muscles.)
- I have healed completely from whatever spiritual abuse I may have suffered
I know now deep in my bones that God is not at all angry, judging, scary, or shaming, but is like the prodigal son’s Dad: pure, unconditional Love; that deep down I myself am made essentially in Love’s very image; that underneath all the pain and confusion, God and I have always been wildly in love with each other.
I now feel completely safe with God; I trust and surrender. I have faith and hope that all will be well, even if I don’t understand it right now. I am full of gratitude and wonder.
I feel loved unconditionally – by God, by myself, and by all people who are emotionally healthy. (Love is the way we humans naturally feel toward each other when we’re not in distress.) And I reflect that love back to God and others as compassion for suffering and delight in the gift of life.
- My life is centered on God
I have simplified my life as much as possible, eliminating or transforming unnecessary stressors and needless “needs”, and organizing all the rest around my Beloved God at the center of everything.
Saying each of these statements is like dredging the bottom of the river of the subconscious: it will bring up to consciousness whatever is hiding down there secretly sabotaging my life. Then I see clearly where I’m stuck, where I need to heal, what I need to pray for and get help with.
Whatever it is that’s come up is not an essential part of me. It’s an unhealed wound and there’s a story behind it. I tell that story, I feel and discharge those feelings, and thus I heal that wound. There’s always a way.
When I can say any of one of these statements and no contradictions come up from anywhere in my mind, then I know I’m done with piece for now.
I see progress when patterns that were chronic become only occasional; and then, as the occasions get fewer and farther between, I spend more and more time in the peace and joy of Love.
If you’re making progress in healing these areas, but still the worry isn’t decreasing then try saying the following, and see what comes up:
- There’s not a single thing in my diet that could possibly have anything at all to do with this worrying. My body may be a little older now, but I can still pour in the sugar and caffeine and the fried and processed foods just like when I was a teenager. I absolutely have no food addictions. I’ve kept a food-mood chart for at least a week and I see no connections between food and mood. I’ve even tried fasting and it makes no difference in the worrying.
- I get plenty of rest, so I know it’s not fatigue.
- I’m sure that is worrying is not caused by a medical condition such as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemic episodes, or digestive dysfunction. The medical professionals I see have much experience and expertise in this area.
If these are not all clearly true, then experiment or seek help. There’s always a way because if we can’t heal absolutely everything, we can always love, and love changes everything quicker and better than anything.
To accelerate the healing process,
- Find the safest person you know – not an analyzer, a critic, a rescuer, or an advice-giver – and ask them for some time.
- Ask them to just listen and love, without judging or trying to fix anything.
- Tell everything – allowing any tears and other feelings to release – until you feel empty and you notice positive, loving thoughts and feelings returning.
- Later, pay them back.