The Wisdom of T-shirts

I saw this on a t-shirt this morning and I’m making it my mantra for the day:

“Worry changes nothing
Faith changes everything”

I’m interpreting the faith part as the “If you believe in yourself, good things will come”, kind and not the “Seriously. He was here three days ago behind this huge immovable rock so I’m pretty sure he bodily ascended into heaven” kind.

The headaches are back. I just know it’s because I’m worrying too much. Worrying about how to pay for this wedding (Ha! You were wondering when I was going to bring that up, weren’t you?), worrying that I am wasting my life in windowless basements doing work I resent, worrying that I have not been keeping in touch with my friends enough, worrying that someone has already beaten me to all the good, money-producing ideas in the world.

I just need to take a few breaths here. Everything’s going to be fine. Worrying about it isn’t going to solve anything.

Except, for most of my life, that’s exactly what has solved everything. Or so I think. I’m learning a lot right now about the human response to trauma (the garden variety everyone-is-messed-up-over-something kind and not the once-when-I-was-five-I-was-outrunning-a-hurricane-on-foot-after-losing-my-family-to-a-in-home-lion-attack-and-then-fell-down-an-abandoned-well kind). I’m learning that most of my life I have been reacting in this really unhealthy way to stress- but it’s the only way I know, so, for the most part, it has been helpful and life-saving.

Except for the part where it’s destroyed my endocrine system. Funny thing, that.

Last night, I had a drink with a friend who is in roughly the same place I am in my life right now-and as we were talking about all the events that have led me to where I am, he said, “Well, it sounds like you’re in a good spot. You sound calm. And that’s the best place to make a decision from”.

I took a moment to review in my head what I had just said to him. And he was right. I WAS calm! I wasn’t making decisions based on emotional reactions. I was calm! Downright serene, even. My hands were almost touching in Namaste greeting, my eyes were practically at half mast, and I wasn’t wildly gesticulating, and I wasn’t scanning the room looking for predators. I was calm, for god’s sake! So why did I still feel so uncertain?

Well, it didn’t matter last night and it still doesn’t matter this morning. Uncertainty is healthy. At least, that’s what people tell me. It’s felt like utter hell to me for most of my life. Not knowing is akin to dying as far as I’m concerned. But I am learning that it can be a good thing. It can be a launching pad for change and for possibility. And if that sounds like the opening line for a self-help book, well, then I submit. Some days I just need to take that tone with myself. It sure beats the alternative.

So, for today, I am trying to posses a faith I am uncomfortable with. I am trying to live with uncertainty. And I’m trying real hard not to cover the house in Post-It notes stating “EVERYTHING’S GOING TO BE FINE”. You know. Baby steps.