Worry – to allow oneself to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Have you ever felt worried about something or someone? I know I have, and I amguessing you have to. Have you ever felt completely consumed by worry? Felt like you were trapped, unable to escape? Maybe you felt like this flower – the beauty of who you are is held hostage or enslaved by the worry, fear, and stresses around you.
“Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it only robs you of today’s peace.”
If we know worry is not good for us and will actually consume us if we let it, why do we continue to worry?
Stress, on the other hand, has an optimal level and can be beneficial to our productivity, and success. Stress motivates us to excel and be prepared. So what’s the difference? They key is found in the definition of worry, “to allow oneself to dwell on difficulty or troubles”. It is when we dwell upon our stressors they begin to cause harm and creep into other areas of our life.
The good news is that our thoughts are free flowing and our brains are malleable due to neuroplasticity. Our brains are always creating new paths and connections. We have the ability to stop and change those thoughts/worries. How do I go about managing my worries?
“If worries weigh you down, find somewhere to hang them up” (Musgrove)
Sometimes I think the best way to teach, is through story telling. Here is a story about a man who hired an ordinary carpenter and was left with invaluable wisdom.
The Worry Tree
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work and pay, after 3 trips to the hardware store he still didn’t have the right piece, his electric saw quit, and how his ancient pickup truck refused to start. I volunteered to give him a ride home. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.
On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked, “I noticed that before going into your house you stopped and touched the leaves of this tree, why?”
“Oh, that’s my trouble tree”, he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one things for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”
“Funny thing is”, he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there ain’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
What is your ‘trouble tree’? How can you incorporate this beautiful symbol into your daily life? I invite you to give it a try! May you find freedom from your worries this week…
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