Worries of the Moment

Before last December, I had never remodeled my house or anything else. Adding on to HAYC was a new adventure. As with any new undertaking, I approached it with some trepidation. In talking with friends about remodeling their houses, I heard all types of horror stories. There were unexpected architectural problems, contractors who did not show up, projects that were delayed by months, terrible workmanship, and huge problems with cost overruns.

The newsletters for the Winter session went into the mail before construction started and the Winter session sample classes were scheduled to begin a little more than five weeks later. Once the Fall classes had ended and the demolition of almost half of our existing space had begun, everything was out of my hands. Besides being there every day to make decisions about lights, positions of shelves and whatever minor details came up, I could not do anything to help with the actual work.  I had no control over the situation.

It would be nice to say I remained calm and never worried at all, but there were some moments of concern. Walking the permits through the various local governments had taken much more time than I expected. If the construction ran into the same delays, it would be quite a mess. What would happen if we were delayed a week or a month?

Fortunately we had wonderful contractors. They showed up every day, did excellent work, stayed within budget, and finished in time for our inspections before sample classes began. Our build-out could not have gone any better.

It is always difficult to stop worrying and let go of something that could affect our happiness and peace of mind. The worry could stem from something major that could affect us for quite a while, though often it is something relatively minor like a comment from a friend or co-worker, or returning again to memories of a past event. We cannot change the past and there is often little we can do to change the future or the actions of other people. Our thoughts spin around and around as we try to find some way to direct or contain what is beyond our control.

One suggestion for living a happy life that I run across frequently in yoga workshops and in books is to live in the moment. I have always wondered how one can live in the moment and save for retirement. If you are living in the moment, you are not thinking of the future. Of course, if you do not think of the future, it may be difficult to live.

The method that allows me to find peace of mind is to prepare for the future the best that I can and then let go. In the case of our expansion, preparation involved clearing my schedule during the weeks of construction so I could be available if needed. Also, I thought about various ways to shift the 2006 schedule if necessary and how to set up phone trees to notify everyone. Whenever I became concerned, I would go back to my list of preparations, realize there was nothing more I could do, and mentally change the subject.

A friend said that her method is to imagine the absolutely worst situation that could arise from her current concerns. Usually she realizes that even the worst case scenario is really not that bad and she is worrying unnecessarily.

Often when we step back and examine our concerns, we find they are truly minor. Even when they are major, we seldom can do anything about the situation. If we could, we would act instead of worrying helplessly.

When you realize that you are limited in your response to a problem, you can choose to continue to worry, or you can find a method to let go. When you let go, you are free to live in the moment.