What keeps you awake at night?
I have spent many years of my life lying awake during the night due to worry or falling asleep only to wake up 2 or 3 hours later. Thankfully after developing some fabulous techniques to be more in flow with life (i.e. present) worrying no longer engulfs my thoughts and I can sleep between 6-8 hours a night. Curiously though, as I am excited about my new book which will be published in November, I am waking up most nights after only about 4 hours sleep.
This got me thinking though that if excitement can keep me awake at night, just in the same way as worrying does then surely this means that they both have similar effects on our life, and that we could then be excited and worried about the same thing? I have certainly had moments of panic about the book yet equally I am bursting with enthusiasm and excitement. It was also quite interesting to hear from a client yesterday that she too was feeling a mixture of worry and excitement about something.
If fear and excitement are effectively opposite sides of the same coin, just like good and bad, then effectively I can choose what thought to focus on. I can choose to feel fear by thinking ‘Oh no, what if…’ or I can choose to feel excitement by thinking ‘This is exciting!’ Or I could see both of those thoughts just as they are…
If I focus on the worry and resist what is happening around me, which if you have ever tried to do it can be quite painful, so that is not really an ideal situation. Alternatively though I could focus on the excitement so much that I cannot think/ do anything else (which is not a great idea when running a business) or when I start to annoy my partner as all I want to do is write and not talk to him about cars! Therefore, neither thought on its own is effectively ‘good’ for me and the people around me.
However, if I were to listen to both of those thoughts and explore them equally? If I get a sense of the worry and explore what it is I am worrying about, asking can I do anything about that; can I ask for help or learn a new skill? Equally if I were to explore the feeling of excitement and connect in with that joy, it would allow me to focus on what I want the book to achieve; who do I want it to help. If I do both of these I somehow feel much calmer yet I still feel the incredible joy of this exciting project yet the worrying somehow brings things into perspective about what I need to do and what I need to learn. Additionally worrying can also highlight a need for asking for support so it then makes me understand that I need my partner as much as he needs me and so I then make sure I am giving him some of my attention too.
With that in mind, what could you explore both from a worrying and excitement perspective that would allow you to see what is unfolding from a higher, more balanced perspective without being absorbed by the one-sided thought of it having to be about one or the other?
© Helen Monaghan
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