Anxiety, Worries and Fear
Multiple anxieties and worries ride in on grief’s waves. These troubled thoughts take specific forms that emerge from your individual circumstances. They can loom as large as an IMAX screen monster and be as persistent as an aching tooth. They can also be embarrassingly petty, where the focus of your attention zooms in on an utterly inconsequential matter and this fixation, when set alongside the magnitude of your loss, is startling and yet, there it is. Sometimes anxiety arrives in a more undefined shape; you feel a web of generalized disquietude and nervousness.
The most common fears that arise after loss are familiar to us.
Losing a loved one often triggers a fear of loneliness. Your loved one was such a large and essential part of your life, you regard their absence as a void that no one and nothing else can fill. The future appears as an empty and barren landscape. You fear you will never feel love again.
You are afraid you will always be sad and filled with a longing for someone who is not there. The very word “hell” is this unanswered desire. You think you will always be a broken person.
If the loss of your loved one changes your financial picture, you now have worries about money. This can happen even if the loss results in greater financial resources or the dispensing of an inheritance. Sometimes these financial anxieties center on having to perform the tasks that your loved one always did for the household—you worry that you won’t be able to figure it out.
Like an invasive vine that climbs and covers a centurion oak, worries and anxieties block the sunlight you need. They separate you from everything good: the love arriving to help you, future joy and present healing. They can destroy the ancient tree that is the gift of your love.
These worries and anxieties are born in fear. They spring from an imagined future, but one that has not arrived. Fears are make-believe. They are not real.
Fear is always a choice. You are choosing to imagine a bleak future. You are choosing to anticipate this doom.
To demonstrate just how fear works, imagine a child who was told every day that something terrible was going to happen to them, if not today, then soon. We instantly see how harmful this assertion would be, but we also get the trick of it—while it is not true, the belief would begin to shape the child’s reality in destructive ways. The child will be inhibited, stunted, frightened. The world the child experiences would be very much changed.
Your fear works in the same way. The purpose of fear is to get more of itself, to grow more fear. This is what fear does. In our material realm, fear works to separate us from love and joy. It is always a wrong turn.
How do you stop? How do you get rid of worries, anxieties and fear?
By letting them go. When a worry or anxiety or fear pops in your mind, instead of focusing on it and allowing it to grow in details, visualize the worry as a puff of smoke. Imagine the puff of smoke carried away in a fine, strong wind. (The religious amongst us think of this fine strong wind as the Holy Spirit.) You let it go.
Then, you choose a different future and imagine that.
Your future is not predetermined. You make choices moment by moment. There is always a low choice and a high choice; each choice brings different consequences, but by choosing high, we begin to create a better future. In this way, your future is always a choice. You can choose any future you want; you can create any future you desire.
This is not actually hard.
Like all worthwhile things, it takes only the intention and then practice. Set the intention to transform worry and anxiety. The universe answers all intentions, one way or another. This means you will soon find yourself lost in a maze of some worry, but now it will startle you, you will know that the worry is not real. You release it; you let it go.
The worry becomes smoke that is carried away.
Now, picture your loved one smiling at you as this happens.
Imagine them promising you everything is going to be okay.