Last Friday morning, a shocking message from my sister, Lydia, appeared in my email box. The subject: Mom’s in hospital again.
My heart began pounding as I sat down to read the message.
“Mom has been admitted to the hospital with a small bowel obstruction. They’re prepping her right now for the operating room. They will do a laparoscopy (insert a tiny scope through a small incision in her stomach) and look at what’s going on inside her.”
My Mom is 82 years old; she lives in Edmonton, Alberta – a 12 hour drive from where I live in Langley, BC. Usually, she is the picture of health but this was her second trip to the hospital in a month. I felt concern; but what could I do to support her from here?
In circumstances like this, it used to be my practice to worry, to dwell on the worst that could happen, and to torment myself by imagining how awful it would feel to lose her. Now I know that worry doesn’t support her or me.
Worry is like negative goal setting – thinking about what I don’t want to happen. And law of attraction brings me thoughts and circumstances that are a vibrational match to the worry. Sometimes I create an upset stomach, a headache or worse.
Thinking about what I’m afraid might happen sucks the life force right out of me, and plunges my creative energy into the toilet. I lose all perspective on reality.
In short, worry not only harms my own wellbeing but renders me incapable of really helping.
So, instead of worrying I take a deep breath, pull myself back from the edge of panic, and ask myself questions that will focus my mind in a positive direction:
What do I know about my mother’s health that’s positive?
I know that my Mom hardly ever gets sick. She doesn’t even get colds. She eats healthy vegetarian food and at 82 years old she still works out in the gym for over an hour every morning: she walks on the treadmill for 30 minutes, lifts 10 pound weights in each hand, and practices balancing exercises on a giant exercise ball. My Mother has a very positive and optimistic outlook on life and she rarely complains.
I know what I don’t what to happen, but what is it that I DO want to happen?
I want my Mom to feel as good as she possibly can under the circumstances. I want her to relax and expect the best outcome.
How can I support my Mom in my thoughts?
If I was in her place I’d rather have someone who was mentally strong and positive to lean on than someone weak and fearful. I believe that I can best support my Mother by being strong and optimistic; to relax and expect the best possible outcome for her. In order to do that, I intend to stay focused on the positive.
My task is now to get into a good feeling place and imagine Mom thriving. I sit in my favorite chair and consciously relax, letting all the tension and anxiety drain out of my body. I start to think about the good times my Mom and I have shared. I see my Mother laughing as she tries to balance on the big exercise ball; I see us walking the streets of Amsterdam, peering into shops and giggling over odd window displays; I see her swinging with my children on the swings in the playground; and I see her sipping her favorite Advokaat liquor and laughing at a joke. I feel overwhelmed by love and appreciation for this good woman, and I feel good.
When I called my Mom this morning to speak with her, instead of focusing on the details of her illness, I spoke about what an inspiration she has always been for me, how much I love and admire her, and how much I value her in my life. I reminded her how, as a youth, I would get nervous before a big test and how she would say, “You can do it, Miriam, I know you can. Tell yourself that you can do well, tell yourself that you will easily remember what you studied, and you will sail through this test.” Sure enough, I would tell myself that I would do well, I would relax, and I would remember what I studied and do well.
I told her, “Mom, you were my first and best coach. Now it’s my turn to coach you, Mom. You can do this! Remind yourself that your body knows what to do. Close your eyes and remember how good you feel when you’re exercising, how strong you feel when you’re lifting your weights, and how delicious your healthy food tastes. Relax, think positive, healing thoughts and you will feel better and better.”
“Right now it’s hard for me to think of positive things to say to myself,” she said, “so tell me what to tell myself.”
I repeated some simple healing words I heard from Abraham-Hicks:
- My body knows what to do.
- Well-being is natural to me.
- I just need to relax and breathe.
- I can do that.
- I can do that easily.
“Say it again,” Mom asked. I repeated the phrases.
“Say it once more,” Mom said. I did.
Then she took a deep breath and said in a vibrant voice, “Thank you! I feel much better.”
Have you ever been worried for someone you love? Have you ever terrorized yourself with fearful thoughts of pain and loss of a loved one? Of course you have – everyone has. But it is far more helpful and useful to NOT worry – although that sometimes takes more work and effort than worrying.
Stopping the cycle of worry and fear starts with noticing what thoughts are going through your head and questioning those thoughts. Are those fearful thoughts that you are thinking really true? Can you come up with something positive about this person’s health, even under these less-than-positive circumstances? Can you find something positive, no matter how small and trivial, in this situation? Focus on what it is that you DO want to happen; what outcome to this situation would you like to see?
Sometimes, in a difficult circumstance, it’s hard to come up with anything positive or with any way at all to see a positive outcome; in those circumstances the best you can do is try to relax and breathe. Make peace with where you are. That may be the best you can do for your loved one. And that’s ok. It’s still more supportive than worrying.
Just now my sister Lydia emailed me an update on my mother’s status. Her note gave me a new image to add to my collection of “imagine Mom thriving” thoughts. Lydia wrote, “…Mom was jumping up and down to keep her intestines working.” Now there’s an image to ponder, an 82 year old who, instead of worrying and focusing on what’s not working, is embracing health and joy by jumping up and down!
What do you think helped her more – worrying about her or coaching her to be positive and feel strong and well?