Meditations for People Who Worry

Meditations for People Who Worry

Paperback(1st ed)

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Anne Wilson Schaef's bestselling Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much invited women to do less and live more. In this wise and graceful sequel to that beloved book, which is also a collection of daily meditations, Schaef encourages us to give up the worries that trouble so many of our lives.
Schaef helps us to smile at our worries and encourages us to re-examine our discontent and our desperate need to control our lives. She ponders with us the true nature of love, solitude, creativity, friendship, sorrow, intimacy, and all the experiences that go into making a life. Best of all, she inspires us to respect our own particular inner rhythm and intuitive wisdom, to live this moment, now, with trust and joy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345394064
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/1996
Edition description: 1st ed
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 536,400
Product dimensions: 4.09(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Anne Wilson Schaef, PhD, is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, and seminar leader. She is the author of sixteen internationally bestselling books, including When Society Becomes an Addict; Women’s Reality; Native Wisdom for White Minds; Beyond Therapy, Beyond Science; and Living in Process.

Read an Excerpt

Never, in a million years, could we have predicted the national and international success of Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. True, it had a great title (and I had to fight over the title) which “hit a nerve” in American women and women around the world. Yet, I do not believe that the title alone could have made that book the million-plus international bestseller it is today. I have received so many letters from women the world over stating how helpful this book has been and what a daily companion it has become. I feel especially gratified about this response because this little book represents the first time I ventured forth with my philosophy of life and the way of living I am teaching in the Living in Process work. My previous books were more focused upon my observations of the world around me, with hints of my personal philosophy. In Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much, I put my beliefs on the line and they resonated.
I had thought of writing a sequel, Meditations for Women Who Are Recovering from Doing Too Much. Yet, I wanted to get on with something new (I’m an Aries).
Then I sat down and thought, What else do people in this culture do that robs them of their ability to be fully alive as much as doing too much does? Then it hit me—worry. Worry is a national and an international pastime. Yet, no worrier wants to worry about whether or not they worry too much. Somehow, worrying doesn’t have the same status as “doing.” So, I decided to write a book for people who may worry too much.
I did not personally know of many quotes on worry and the quotation books seemed woefully bare on this topic. Then I asked the Living in Process Network to send me ideas and thoughts they had on worry. I began to listen to what people said in conversations and I put out the word that I wanted quotes about worry. The result has been a deluge. Indeed, worry seems to be a favorite way to while away hours (days, weeks, years—lifetimes). In a few short months, I had more quotations on worry than I could possibly use. I found out some interesting ideas about worry. Generally, information about worry seemed to break down into two general categories: 1) the process of worrying, and 2) the content of worrying. The process of worrying includes such issues as how people worry, when they worry, where they worry, and how worry affects them. The content of worrying is what people worry about—well, almost everything—children, money, self-esteem, health, what other people think of them, the weather, promotions, the future, the past, the present. You name it and someone is “worrying about it at this very minute—as we speak.
I did not want to get too scientific about worry—actually I don’t want to get too scientific about anything—and I did find it interesting to look at processes, topics, and trends. We are a nation—yea, a world—of worriers.
I have to admit that I have not worried much about this book. I decided to let this book worry itself into being. Also, I want to say that I have played with the concept of worry. I know that it is a serious business for those who do it—especially those who do it a lot—and I always find it very healing to laugh with myself and others, and for us to play with ourselves. As I have said before, with the rise of Western psychology and psychotherapy, we have tended to put our garbage on the altar, see it as sacred (only the paid professional priests and priestesses “dare” to look at it and pick through it, and even they are sworn to secrecy!!), and worship it. Enough! Let’s look at what we do, laugh at our foibles, share them with others, learn from them, and move on with the living of our lives.
I hope this little book hits a nerve, too, and offers a possibility—a possibility for living, which is, after all, what we are here to do.
It is estimated that more than thirteen million American adults are chronic worriers. The National Institute of Mental Health says anxiety disorders are America’s most commonly reported mental-health problems.
My goodness. Do you think that this means thirteen million people need this book? I hope so!
Seriously, though, we seem to have developed an epidemic and we don’t even know it. Almost everyone seems to worry about something and, yet, we rarely talk about worry as a problem. Maybe that is because worry is so integrated into the way we have come to live and be in the world that we don’t even notice it.
There are many facets to worry. Worry is not simple nor is it simply addressed. We could worry about worry and then worry about our worrying about worry. But, why chase our tails.
Clearly, we need to explore worry, we need to understand worry, we need to share experiences and wisdom about worry. And, most of all, we need some relief from worry. It’s a new year and we have 366 daily meditations to feed and heal us.
There’s a certain solace in knowing that I am not alone: I have thirteen million worriers to keep me company.
Being Ourselves
Strangulation or choking is the first definition of WORRY in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, which details its roots in German, French, and English with that meaning. WORRY can immobilize or choke the WORRIER and/or the WORRIEE (the person about whom one worries).
To choke myself. To choke others. How often we have tried to make ourselves less than we are in ways so subtle that we are not even aware of them.
We often feel that we are too “big” for others to handle and if we just “reduce” who we are and make ourselves small and insignificant we will not be a threat to others who are doing the same thing, unbeknownst to us or themselves.
When I choke myself, I tend to choke my family, my friends, my co-workers, everyone around me. When I choke those around me, I almost always then have to choke myself.
I can be as “big” as I am without worrying about stepping on anyone’s toes. If others have a problem with this, it is, after all, their problem. I need to respect that they can handle it.
One-Track Minds
Thoughts are energy. And you can make your world or break your world by thinking.
Our minds are a great gift—both marvelous and creative. Yet, often our minds have been trained to be enemies to our living. In this society we have been trained to lead with our logical, rational minds without balancing them with our intuition, our hearts, our feelings, or our spirituality.
When we lead with our minds, we analyze, interpret, obsess, and worry. What we come up with may be very logical and rational and it may make no sense at all.
The tyranny of a reckless mind is the enemy of a serene life.
Normal May Not Be Natural
Worrying is the most natural and spontaneous of all human functions. It is time to acknowledge this, perhaps even to learn to do it better.
A school for worriers, what an idea! Registrations would soar. Yet, most of us have already had years of training in our homes, our churches, and especially in our schools and universities. What have we come to as a civilization when we see worry as “natural and spontaneous” when it is actually cultivated every day by our culture.
In a society based on the illusion of control, I am sure that there is some truth to the statement that worry is “the most natural and spontaneous of all human functions,” and just because worry has become the norm does not mean that it is “natural.”
We need to distinguish between what is “natural” and what is “normal,” remembering that normal may not be healthy in a dysfunctional situation.
What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens.
Surprises! What a wonder they are. I have lived long enough to be able to look back on my life and see the times when I believed that my life was just perfect and all I wanted to do was to stop everything and keep it that way—no surprises—just constant, consistent, dependable perfection!
How lucky I was that I did not have that kind of power! I would have missed so much.
Our dislike of surprises is in direct proportion to our illusion of control.
The “least expected” is the real test of our “true mettle”
Being Creators Not Victims
The natural role of twentieth-century man is anxiety.
If anxiety has truly become natural, maybe this should be a clue that it is time to do something differently as we approach the twenty-first century.
I, for one, do not believe the Creator had a constant state of anxiety in mind for us as human beings. We have designed our lives and our societies in such a way as to make anxiety our reality.
What good news! If we are the ones who have designed our lives and society—constructed the sets and created the drama—then we also have the power to change them.
We are not just the victims of our situation. We are the creators of something new.
Holy Mother Earth, the trees and all nature, are witness to your thoughts and deeds.
Peace—I feel peace when I read this.
I have an old American Indian Elder friend and he repeatedly has said to me, “When you are sick and broken, return to your Mother, the earth. Put your head against her breast and she will heal you.”
I have to quiet down to do this. I have to stop what I am doing, go into nature and sit upon the earth. When I stretch out upon the earth and let my entire body relax upon her, I do feel better.
Sometimes, I even go to a favorite tree and lean against her, taking the time to stay there until I feel better.
How marvelous it would be if all our thoughts and deeds were worthy to be witnessed by “the trees and all nature.”

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