A few weeks ago a very learned friend told me a story that has stuck with me and I would like to share it. Years ago she was part of a spiritual/therapeutic type group that met regularly to work together; this was right before the year 2000 and there was all that Y2K hub-bub. There was a gentleman in the group who was what you might call a fear-based guy. That means to me someone who makes many of his or her decisions based on fear. On that tag line: what if XYZ happens and the XYZ is never a good thing, it is always bad, very bad. This guy had a gun in his briefcase locked in his car for when society crumbled after Y2K and we fell into Marshall Law, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria. Basically you name your brand of mayhem and insert it here, and he did, always. The group leader asked this gentleman that if the world, or country did not crash and burn during Y2K could he consider that maybe he lived in a benevolent universe? Could he consider laying his gun down? I love that the group leader just asked him to consider those two things, not ask him to do it, and not ask him to do anything but consider this new option, the option of benevolence.
The memory of this event came to my friend as she lay in bed worrying about a number of financial issues, like rent and food money. She flashed on this story and it occurred to her that this situation was her Y2K and to ask herself if this current money worry did not come to fruition, could she then consider she indeed lived in a benevolent universe? Could she put down her gun? As she told me this story and how she realized that this type of worry was her ‘gun’ I looked at my own life for where I did the same thing. We all have trigger points, things that spin us out into an automatic catastrophizing of events. Some of us do this in one area of our lives, others in every area. I used to spend a lot of time worrying. I spend very little doing that now but there was a time where I would have a plan A, plan B, C, D, E and so on. I spent a lot of my life preparing for things that rarely if ever came to fruition. When I was not preparing for them, I was worrying about them, at least on the inside, I was happy on the outside. Let me tell you this kind of thing is a lot of work, stress and a total waste of life force.
I know I have said this before, but it is true so I will say it again: “Trouble is like Pizza Hut, it delivers, there is no need to go looking for it.” When something we fear does not come to pass can we at least consider the option that we do live in a kinder, gentler universe than we had believed moments ago? What would you do differently if you believed that? Believed that yes there is chaos but there is also a benevolent and abundant universe in support of you? It has been a question I have been dancing with since moving to San Diego and I am very happy with the results. My faith in myself, my faith in letting go and just doing my best to recognize the opportunities that are presented to me even though they are not what I had envisioned they have been life changing opportunities for growth, richness, love, and wonder.
If you are looking for something you will find it. That being said if what you are looking for is kindness, knowledge and support it’s there. If on the other hand you are looking for ignorance, injustice and destruction you can find that as well. The best way to describe it is when you are looking to buy a new car and you start to notice all the car commercials on TV, the advertisements in magazines, in newspapers, and on the radio, as well as suddenly noticing the models you are curious about all around you on the road. When you are tuned into finding specific data, you find it. This is true for anything. What you believe, is, what you are looking for, you find. If you take that one more step and if perchance a situation you have been dreading turns out not to come to fruition but actually is good. Can something like that change your view? Can that flip you to take that fear and release it so it no longer has the pull it once had? Maybe when that happens next time you’ll think about what is or are the ‘guns’ in your life?
If we are always preparing for storms on all of our sunny days don’t we diminish the wonder of that blue sky? My answer is yes; I did and sometimes still do not appreciate how wonderful my ‘now’ is instead worrying about something bad that might happen. Sure, sure Starksy and Hutch, Cagney and Lacey, the SVU folks all will tell you to put the gun down. But most of us need options, lots of options sometimes. And I am just putting one more out there for you to consider: the next time your worst case scenario does not come to pass, the next time your next dreaded moment vaporizes into nothingness, can you consider putting down your gun? Can you consider that you might live in a benevolent universe and what you could do with your life if that were true? As Dr. Seuss says, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”