Happiness, Leadership, Personal Growth, Self Esteem, Success

Chill, Breathe, Relax, Smile!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Your income? Your location? The size of your butt?

For me that question is easy. If I could change one thing, it would be my retentiveness in the derrière (not so much the size, but that’s a goal, too). I’m driven, analytical, precise, prompt, accurate and thorough. Great when running a business, not so good when on vacation and hanging out at the Copa…Copa Cabana…

Now, enter stage left, my buddy, Josh. Long haired, unshaven, worries about nothing, takes each moment as it comes, totally chill. Ya know… hippie.

A couple of years ago, Josh and I were doing a little overnight camping trip. We left town with no tent, no camping gear, no sleeping bags, no cooking utensils – just a change of clothes, a Fender guitar and the requisite cooler full of cylindrical pork by-products.

All this would have been fine except that 20 miles out of town (and two hours from our destination), the skies opened up. I don’t mean a normal storm – I’m talking Dorothy and Toto flying off to Oz kinda storm.

The more it poured, the more I worried. Camping in the rain sucks… but it’s a whole, WHOLE lot worse when you have no gear.

“What are we gonna do? Who’ll sleep in the car? How are we going to eat if we can’t cook? Jeez, why didn’t we bring a tent?” These were my rapid-fire questions about an uncertain future.

Josh, in his usual way, said, “Chill, dude. We’re still 100 miles away. You can worry when we get there. For now, just sit back and enjoy the rain.” Good advice… but about as effective as telling a dog not to shed.

When we got to the camp site… ya know what? Not a drop of rain had fallen. A cool front had moved through and the evening was absolutely gorgeous. Here we arrive for an ideal campout, and I’d wasted two perfectly good hours worrying. Time I’ll never get back, spent fostering anxiety that was completely in vain.

There’s no need for useless worry. I know that intellectually, but emotionally? There are times I still have trouble keeping myself from fretting. And I hate that. Luckily I just got a little lesson in quieting the worrisome mind: “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz is a 30-something recently divorced woman seeking healing, spirituality and balance. She takes a year long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia, always working to forget her troublesome past and look to a brighter future. As she puts it, she’s always looking to quiet the worries of her mind. Sound like anyone else you know?

How does one accomplish this? I didn’t when Josh corrected me. I still don’t always know. Neither did Liz. Those of us Type A personalities realize we need to find balance and peace… but how?

While in Bali, an ancient medicine man instructs Liz in meditation. The goal? To quiet the mind.

Now get ready for this: Here’s his advice:

Sit quietly and smile

What? That’s it? No endless chanting? No burnt sacrifices? No ceremonial cleansing in a sweat lodge? Nope. Just sit quietly and smile.

Yep, that’s it! And ya know what? I’m finding this really is working for me!

The last couple of weeks have been extremely stressful for yours truly. When I’d start getting overly worried, I’d think about that old medicine man. And Josh. (Now that’s a truly odd combination!)

The future holds what the future holds. Until it arrives, worry does not a single bit of good. In the meantime, my goal is to continue to sit, smile and be silent when the stressors of life hit. I can’t promise it will always work, but I’m sure going to give it my best – and maybe it’ll work for you, too.

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