to Out on a Limb,
a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
Worrier to Warrior
Those who know me well would no doubt call me a Worrier. Some would even roll their eyes at my tendency to catastrophize. That tendency did not spring from thin air. To have lost my entire family of origin, three of which were true catastrophes, and to have witnessed other challenges and calamities such as life-threatening illnesses, injuries and accidents in my family, friends and clients, I am able to claim my tendency to worry with great compassion. No wonder, right?
What would you do if you were staying in a tiny cottage right on a Cape Cod beach in the midst of a “Nor’Easter?” As high surf, wind and rain whipped onshore from the northeast, and high tides ran higher due to the full moon, I watched the ocean inch closer and closer to the cottage. On the back side of this temporary home, I saw the salt water marsh fill in so much at high tide that the dirt road providing our only access to the driveway was flooded at times.
What I did was worry. I laid awake for most of one night in a fret over what could happen if some sudden surge wiped out the cottage where I was staying. In that crazy, middle-of-the-night panic, I asked myself the most ridiculous question, “What if there’s a tsunami?” (Wrong coast, Martha!) Hurricane Joaquin news was everywhere and The Weather Channel predicted bad stuff in the Southeast. I feared there could be bad stuff in the Northeast, too.
The next morning, I texted a friend to share my worries. What if the elements strand us? What if I cannot get to the airport for my scheduled departure? What if? What if? What if? His sage reply: “Just give up control.” I would put money on it that he was advocating for me to sit tight and ride out the storm. I took his four wise words differently: there was indeed no means to control Mother Nature or the havoc she might wreak, but I could control my response. I chose to mobilize.
The Warrior took over. Within two hours of a decision to spend my last night of vacation in a motel on more solid ground, the cottage was cleaned, bags were packed, and we got a bit soaked loading our car but we were outta there! I slept nearly eleven hours that night. It was worth every dollar spent on safer lodging! I know others might have made a more daring choice (to stay in the cottage) but if you are a Worrier, sometimes you have to work in tandem with a Warrior to get any rest.
Found Gem #1
When I got back to California, I felt a bit silly about my freak-out. The pull to beat myself up for hand wringing was strong. What synchronicity to find gems in my stash of ideas for future Out on a Limb topics! The first was in a chart cut out from a magazine article entitled “Eight Energy Drains and How to Fix Them.” One of the eight drains: Worry! What is the remedy to restore the sapped energy? “Get Going: Action is the cure for worry. Do one thing that brings you a step closer to coping.” Embarrassment receded. Phew!
Found Gem #2
Also in the stash was a phrase, in quotes, and I have no idea where I found or heard it, originally. “Let go or get dragged.” As I watched video clips of cars and people and pets that got dragged by floods in South Carolina, compassion for my tendency to worry surged once again. I am glad I did not get dragged and I am so grateful for the Warrior who helps my Worrier. If you see yourself as a Worrier, too, I send wishes for you to cultivate and celebrate that Warrior who knows what to do: mobilize!
Your October 2015 Prompts for Joy
Click here for a charming, albeit slightly racy, performance of an original song by an original guy.
(Thanks much, Geri Spieler!)
Click here to see a young child’s wonder out in the rain. (And here’s hoping some of that wet stuff is on its way to the West Coast.)
(Spot on, Peggy Landsman!)
All previous Prompts for Joy (PFJs) can be found at my website, unless the video url is no longer functional.
Joy-Gram for October 2015
“Just give up control,” my wise friend said. Try repeating the Serenity Prayer on a daily basis; it helps!
The Serenity Prayer
(God), grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference
The view from my cottage in East Sandwich, Massachusetts before the wind shifted to the Northeast!
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT · 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ·