After a couple of years of practicing mindfulness (with varying degrees of success depending on time of day), I have come to a profound realization. You ready for this? I have come to realize that a LOT of my troubles can be tracked back to an inherent difficulty with accepting uncertainty.
I have told you before that when I was little, I used to accompany anyone that left the house just to make sure that they returned safely. Started as far back as then, methinks, my fist fights with uncertainty. If only I could have trusted that everyone will eventually make it back home safely, how many more mud pies I could have made in peace! 😉
That lesser known university in Canada that offered me a full scholarship for my Masters was much more attractive than the more prestigious university in the US, which did not offer me funding but asked me to come finagle an assistantship in the first semester. A risk that I did not take. I remember my PhD graduation ceremony where I missed listening to most of the commencement address because I knew that my advisor would not be there to “hood” me, and I couldn’t spot the professor who was supposed to be filling in for her. I spent most of the time craning my neck looking for the substitute rather than just accepting that I wouldn’t be left standing onstage till doomsday, someone there would eventually do the honors for me. Looking back, I can recount several instances where I took the road more traveled, which made no difference (you know what I mean).
As Mark Twain famously said “I have had a lot of troubles in my life, most of which never happened”. So. What am I going to do with all these data points acquired a la mindfulness? Well. I find myself watching it more – that unwillingness to accept uncertainty. And challenging it. I remind myself that little A is responsible, and knows that she has nut allergies. She will not start popping nuts suddenly just because she is out of my sight at a friend’s house. I recognize that little N will be 12 this August (eeeek!), and (try to) accept that she doesn’t need me following her to her friend’s place down the road. Before I spin around in my mind with possibilities of things that can go wrong with a situation, I remind myself of all the times that things have gone right.
Verrrry small time progress, you say? Yes. But, for now, that’s quite enough, if I say so myself. 🙂