Thursday, August 2, 2012

Banishing Dread

I have had plenty of experience with dread over the last couple years. Dread when the phone rings (what's wrong now?). Dread about upcoming events (funerals and estate sales, family reunions without the family you love most, trips "home" when it isn't home anymore). Dread about what the future holds or what might happen next. 

I can remember clearly my feelings leading up to the estate sale last summer, for example. My stomach was constantly in knots. Just remembering it, my stomach clenches. I had to remind myself to breathe. I would lay in bed, thinking, "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this." I had to keep telling myself, "By Sunday it will be over. No matter how it goes, by Sunday it will be done."

And that's the thing about dread. Eventually, the thing you are dreading is going to happen and then it is going to be done and then you are going to be past it. Your dread will have little impact on the event itself. The event may be as bad as you imagine - it may be better or worse. But then it's over. Period. You are free of it. But your dread had a huge impact on your attitude and your health during the anticipation. 

I guess I'm not sure I want to give dread that much power over me anymore.

Knowing me, that will be much easier said than done. I am a future-oriented person with an excellent imagination. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios for what's coming - or what might be coming. If I let my imagination get too far ahead of me, I'll pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed in the morning.

Yes, the last two years have been hard. But I am done living in reaction to them. I'm ready to try something more proactive. I'm ready to put that imagination to work thinking about how things can go well, about new and creative ways to approach the tasks of life. I'm ready for more optimism.

I'm ready to banish dread.

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