At 6:30 this morning, it was still dark as night. The sky itself was clear and cloudless and the moon shone directly into the bedroom. Just above the moon and to the right sparkled a single bright star. Glorious! And there must have been snow overnight as the ground shimmered white in the gloom.
Yesterday I pondered on anger and its less pernicious kin — irritation and impatience and resentment. Today my thoughts are on the second key to happiness and health according to Reiki – do not worry. I remember a catchy, uplifting song from decades ago – Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry, be happy.”
Centuries before, another man, a godly one, said much the same thing: worry is pointless. Do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself. Your life is not made any longer [and more than likely shorter] by worrying (Matthew 6: 34; 27).
Essentially — be here. Today. Now.
When someone says to me don’t worry, I end up doing so anyway. Perhaps I am still on an extended contrary terrible-twos phase — doing the opposite of what I’m told. I do realize I tend to be a worrywort. I say it in an active way instead –- let go, just let it go. Shoo! Worry be gone! Just for today. This hour. This minute.
“Shoo!” calls to mind what I had always thought of as an Ilocano word – “salaki!” As children, a few of us female cousins used to relax in the hot summer holiday afternoons with our unmarried aunt, Nana Sianang. Her cottage was located in the northern edge of the “compound” –- the cluster of houses of my grandmother’s family in Santiago, Ilocos Sur –- and, shaded by trees and exposed to the breezes that blew in from the sea, it was always refreshingly cool. Now looking back, it was cool because, unlike the other houses, it was the one that remained the simplest and stayed true to traditional architecture. Its roof of thick thatch insulated the interior from the sun’s heat, and the spaces between the bamboo slats, as well as the floor raised 2 meters above the ground, enabled breezes to freely circulate up and into the house as well. While we girls chatted or napped or tried our hands at Nana Sianang’s quaint hand-operated antique sewing machine, we would hear her occasionally calling out, “salaki, salaki!, clapping her hands at the chickens who tended to fly into the open verandah kitchen at the back of the cottage (bangsal). And just like another word that I thought was Tagalog (tianggue) that I encountered in a market in Chiapas in the Yucatan, Mexico, it turns out that the Ilocano “salaki” is the Spanish “sal aqui!” But I digress.
Worry — I know it’s not all that easy to let go. We make plans, we arrange parties, trips, all manner of things for the future. The planning is fine. It’s the worrying about the outcome that’s the problem and sours joyful anticipation. More often, I end up with less than satisfactory results because of worry.
I remember reading about a dinner that a famous chef — it might’ve been Julia Child — had planned for the visit of another famous chef, James Beard. She fussed and worried whether her cooking would be up to snuff. And of course, it didn’t turn out as she’d expected. She herself realized that it was because of stressing about a perfect outcome.
Anger or, more precisely, resentment about something that someone has done to me, translates to a past action. Thus the past.
Worry is more about a future outcome, at least for me. And so the first key to happiness and health according to Reiki is –- focus on the present. Not the past, nor the future. Next, do away with negativity — anger, worry. That’s the way I interpret it, at any rate. And the laying of hands? They have a role to play too, and I shall share my thoughts on that later. Together with the affirming words, I continue to find warm hands over the thyroid area extremely calming.
Thank you again, my friend Hong Ching, for the introduction to Reiki. Thanks to the early morning moon and the star for lighting up my bedroom. And thanks to my friend Carme who serendipitously emailed; I had thought about her yesterday. Thank you as well to the progress of the upper bud on the amaryllis, now with three interior buds exposed and such an intense vermilion! Nature indeed comes with perfect packaging!
Most of all on this day, I am grateful for the power of the mind and the spirit to set into motion the healing of the body.