This is without a doubt the best advice my mother has given me. Not to worry in advance about what might happen, what could happen but to sit with the information you have now; to know what you know and to not jump ahead.
Coincidentally this advice given to me regularly throughout my childhood also sits closely with the work I chose as an adult. I use mindfulness as a platform for a lot of the coaching I do with individuals and organisations. I encourage people to not dwell on the past or project into the future but to try and stay in the present as a means of looking after their health and also a way of resetting and recharging in a world that moves at a very fast pace. It is interesting to me the sage advice my mother gave me in the 70’s is probably even more relevant now given the challenges of our current world.
I often say to individuals and groups that the beauty of mindfulness is the things we always knew felt good and felt right we now know are good for us. We now know so much more with all the research that is available on the practice of mindfulness and what how the brain works. This of course is true for me as certainly when Mum said it to me, she was not citing current research she had just learnt throughout her life that worrying about things ahead of time was not helpful. She knew that when life did hit hard as it inevitably does at times there was always enough time to deal with whatever had come up.
Interestingly this advice has served me well in later life in dealing with my mother’s battles with cancer. Little did we know that the advice she gave me at ten would also help me when I was 40. At ten it was to not worry about maybe missing out on something or worrying about what my friend may or may not be doing; but just to wait and see how things unfold, see what really happens and not to jump to conclusions. At 40 this advice also proved invaluable when mum was diagnosed with cancer.
My instinct would always be to google and find out as much as possible and whilst there is nothing wrong with being informed, I slowly learnt to wait. There were so many opportunities to sit and worry about a plethora of “maybes” that thankfully never happened. So; I took my mother’s advice and decided to wait. Wait and hear the test results, wait and hear the treatment plan and then to wait some more to see how that all it all unfolded. Thankfully after five battles with cancer I am happy to say I will be celebrating Mother’s Day with Mary next weekend. There have been plenty of things to worry about but there are also plenty of scenarios I could have spent time worrying about but luckily never eventuated. Apart from the benefit of not worrying about things that never happened I also know that if my mind had run off to the “maybes” that I would not have been as available to Mum in a time when she really needed me.
So, whilst mindfulness maybe be the current buzzword, I feel fortunate to have had Mary encouraging me from when I was very young to stay in the present and not to worry about things until I had to! Happy Mother’s Day Mary!