Why Worry Indeed

My drive to work streak is now at 5 days. I have bike commuted once in 2015. The reason is ice. I don’t do ice. Why don’t I get studded tires? They are very expensive for a start. Even if I had them they’d slow me down. I don’t want to be bike commuting for 90 minutes each way in 15 degree temps either.

Driving isn’t half bad when schools are delayed. Today I made it to work in under 25 minutes. That’s like driving to work on a Sunday. I am getting caught up on cartunes. I have listened to Le Vent du Nord, Los Lobos, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Dire Straits so far. Quebec, East LA, North Florida, and Scotland. I think I’ve got it all covered.

I had a stressful day today at work. I was interviewed live on the radio. The interview went very well but the interview was at 4 pm so I had to wait all day for the unknown. When I had to give speeches in high school, I’d freak out beforehand. To get rid of my nerves I’d pretend that I was screaming and clench my fists. (Actually, something similar to this technique is in the yoga book I use. Of course, I had no idea I was doing a yoga technique at the time.)  The only downside is you look like you should be taken to a nervous hospital.

After going through some tough times in the last few months, a friend advised me to try meditation. Then I saw Dan Harris, a TV reporter, give an account of how his anxiety attacks almost destroyed his career. The video is really hard to watch.  He turned to meditation and it saved him. Like Harris, I’m not so much interested in the religious/spriritual aspect of mediation. I don’t follow any isms, except, perhaps, cynicism. I have seen too many people use religious clap trap to rationalize boorish behavior for a start.  I had to admit that Harris makes a pretty convincing case, however. So, I did some research online. Then I found some 15-minute YouTube videos with useful dreamy music and sounds and such. And I gave it a go.

I’ll be damned. It really helps. Very much like my fist clenching technique but infinitely more relazing. I’ve done my little meditation thing now 7 days in a row. I hate starting. It’s hard for me to sit still and concentrate on essentially nothing. When the 15 minutes are up, I feel like somebody took away my favorite toy. Wait! I gimme that back!

The last four or five weeks I have been a bundle of worries. Worry is my  natural state. The professed benefits of meditation remind me of a time when I was just starting a bike tour to Indiana. I was about 50 miles from home, cycling west on the C&O Canal towpath, and I was absolutely miserable with “what if this goes wrong” and “what if that goes wrong” thoughts. Then it hit me. You idiot! You are on vacation! Chill! Nothing is wrong now. Enjoy this. I purposefully pushed the worries out of my mind. The rest of the ride was joyful.

Of course, I did have problems. Three days later my back rim failed oustide of Frostburg. I found a not-yet-open bike shop. The owner and his manager agreed to help me out overnight! I missed maybe 2 hours of riding time. Three days after that my brake cables seized. I found the best bike mechanic ever in Little Washington PA. He did an amazing job on my bike.  Why worry? (A pretty decent Dire Straits song, by the way.)

I don’t know whether I will keep practicing meditation. Or if I will try something other than the simple breathing meditation that I learned. For now, it floats my boat.

During the day I learned that smoke had filled the Metro station near my wife’s office. Tonight I found out that one person had died. Yet another reminder (not that I needed another one after three people I know died in the last four months) that you better enjoy life while you have it.

Why worry, indeed.

2 thoughts on “Why Worry Indeed

  1. I actually started reading about meditation because bloggers I follow started mentioning that they were dabbling in it. What a fascinating concept, with real life effects. It makes a difference!

    Have you read The Power of Now? I keep re-reading it. Practicing it is still a work in progress. But the power it gives me over the worries/useless thinking is already giving me benefits.

    One final thought I’ve heard: “If you don’t have time to meditate for twenty minutes a day, you should meditate for an hour.”

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