Ajahn Brahm asks: “Why can’t we let go of simple things like past and future? Why are we so concerned with what someone else did to us or said to us today?
The more you think about it, the more stupid it is. You know the old saying, ‘When someone calls you an idiot, the more times you remember it, the more times they’ve called you an idiot!’
If you let it go immediately, you will never think about it again. They only called you an idiot at most once. It’s gone! It’s finished. You’re free.”
This holds true as well for things we say about ourselves or our upcoming birth, when we are awfulizing, catastrophizing, what ifing, or doubting ourselves and our ability. We may have encountered someone who, just by virtue of seeing our beautifully blossoming belly, thinks they can tell us their depressing birth story, or we may have read something that seemed particularly negative or worrisome, or made up scenarios in our head about possible future problems. We then assume the role of the “Scarey Birth Stories Kidnapper”, taking ourselves hostage, tieing ourselves to a chair in a room with concert size speakers, where we repeat the same gloomy or naysaying messages over and over and over until we drive ourselves mad with anxiety, fear, and self- doubt. The secret though is that we ourselves are, all at once, the one in charge of casting, directing, and acting out the parts we are assigning. We can continue to play out the part of the helpless victim, tied to the railroad tracks, watching the train swiftly approaching, and bringing our impending doom, or we can become the lion hearted hero who shows up in the nick of time, unties the ropes, and rescues the fair maiden. The power is in our own hands, and in our minds, by way of the empowering or disempowering words and stories we tell ourselves, and whether we choose to believe them as truth and reality. So what role do you want to play then, Nell, tied to the tracks by Snidely Whiplash, or Dudley Doright, Canadian Mounty to the rescue?
Awfulizing and obsessing about things that might go wrong in our upcoming birth, rather than recognizing these thoughts as just stories we are telling ourselves and letting them go, is like being in the Wizard of Oz movie and journeying farther and farther down the yellow brick road until we are woefully lost in the scarey, bewitched forest. The more we engage with these anxious thoughts, the more we surround ourselves with more and more evil, “flying monkeys”.
Yet, there is also the part in the movie when Glenda the Good Witch tells Dorothy all she needs to do is to click her heels together three times and she can go home. The Scarecrow says, “you mean she has always had the power, why didn’t you tell her then?” Glenda replies,”because she wouldn’t have believed it, she had to find it out for herself.” So next time you find yourself obsessing about something in the future, or the past, remember you have the power, click the heels of your ruby slippers together, and come back home, safe and sound, to the present moment! “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”