I thought I’d kicked the habit. Broken out of the age-old pattern in my family of fearing the worst, preparing for it ad nauseam. Because in my family of origin, if the worst hits and you’re unprepared, then shame on you. What did you not think of? What lack on your part could have stemmed the tide?
First-world white woman problems? Of course. But I’m writing this one for those of us—women and men—who are having trouble putting our faith in the Universe, trusting in good outcomes. I’m sure we all know someone who just assumes life will work out in the best possible way. I love those people as much as I am annoyed by them. They appear genetically blessed with a predisposition I’m having to work at again, after life took a “wrong” turn some years ago.
Here we go. But first—warning: nerdy topics ahead.
I doubt I have many followers who are into quantum physics. Go ahead, raise your hands. Ok. I’ll now address the two of you remaining in the virtual room.
Schrodinger’s cat is a classic quantum physics example. The story goes: a cat is placed in a sealed box with poison, a Geiger counter, radioactive material, and a hammer. (Don’t try this at home, kids. I mean, really. Could there be a darker example?)
The radioactive material has a 50/50 shot of being detected by the Geiger counter over the course of an hour. If it’s detected, the hammer smashes the poison vial, releasing it and killing the cat. If it doesn’t, the cat remains alive—albeit, probably unhappy because it’s in a sealed box.
Awful story for us animal lovers. I get it. But remember, it’s hypothetical. Anyway, the crux of it is—until you open the box, the cat is supposedly neither dead nor alive. Quantum theory aficionados will tell you it’s BOTH dead and alive at that point. Because according to quantum physics, the observer influences the outcome of any reality. Until you open the box, Fluffy is suspended in two states. So, there’s a 50/50 chance Fluffy is dead. On the upside, a 50/50 chance Fluffy is alive. The big question—does your expectation or belief about what will be in the box determine the outcome?
Stick with me here, people. Apply this to life. Your expectation of what is to come, according to quantum physics, does influence what is to come. That is, the way you observe and envision your life influences the outcomes in your life.
Let’s go back to my opening sentences: “I thought I’d kicked the habit. Broken out of the age-old pattern in my family of fearing the worst, preparing for it ad nauseam.”
Ah, now you see, no? Fearing the worst, preparing for it as if it’s going to be my reality—well this is just foolish, if quantum physics is to be believed. Because I’m virtually guaranteeing Fluffy’s death in the form of my own worst outcomes.
Ok. Let’s leave quantum physics aside for a moment. Twenty-one years ago, I married with high expectations of a happy life. And yet, at some point the train derailed. My ex-husband was raised in a family that had gone through its own tough times and he generally had a hard time seeing the glass as half full. It soon become apparent to me that positivity was going to be an uphill battle.
What our family experienced as a result of his choices, well that was Fluffy as dead as dead can be. And instead of seeing that as an anomaly, I began to slip back into an old pattern—expecting the worst. Any of you who have been blindsided by life knows it takes some work to get back to feeling all will be well again. In other words–when you’ve seen Fluffy killed, it’s hard to go back to expecting Fluffy will live.
I fought long and hard, growing up, not to buy into the preparing-for-the worst stuff my parents instilled in us. My father’s words: “Look on the bright side.” My father’s actions: Worrying about the house catching on fire, double-locking all doors, replacing things before they broke because they certainly would before we knew it. My mother’s words: “Aim high.” My mother’s actions: Red-penning with relish everything I wrote. Being reticent in new social situations, lest she be criticized. Not taking a chance unless she knew she could nail it.
Old patterns. None which my parents consciously wanted to visit upon us. But they feared life. Perhaps they had been burned, like my ex-husband had. I married a man who would continue familiar patterns for me, despite the fact that I had tried to escape those patterns with a mountain of self-help books, therapy and a whole lot of adventuring. The one thing I think I got right: I ran toward things that scared me. Still do, sometimes. Because when you run through and beyond them, they lose their power.
I’m facing a surgery soon. It’s not at all anything awful—not cancer, not heart-related. It’s something I need to undergo to hopefully improve my quality of life, helping me with neck, shoulder and back pain.
Fluffy, right now, exists in two states. One is that I come through the surgery with flying colors and am so relieved I did it—healing well and fast. The other is that one of the 10 million terrible things listed on the “informed consent” document I signed actually happens.
I thought I’d bested anxiety and a lot of my worst-case thinking. But for some reason, this is bringing it all back. Perhaps it’s because I know in my heart I’ve been the glue that holds the boys and I together as a family. I’m scared that life could let them down again. That something could happen to me. I feel like I put the three of us in a life raft together about a decade ago. And I’ve been the paddler and navigator ever since.
Undergoing this surgery requires me to surrender to life, the Universe, God. To trust again. To trust the raft will remain afloat and on course without my frantic paddling. To hold in my heart that Fluffy is alive, that all is well, that despite the past decade all will be right in our world again.
At some level, I know it to be true. I know my worries are silly, a knee-jerk reaction to events that are long gone.
This is a life test, I think. Can I come through the fire, be shaken to my core and then trust in goodness again? Can I believe that even though life got temporarily hard, it can be filled with ease again? With joy? With a host of new experiences that bear little resemblance to the old?
I’d love to just take Fluffy out of the damn box and pet her, letting her know she doesn’t have to worry.
In lieu of that, I’m going to stack the deck our favor with positive thoughts and energy. Maybe then 50/50 becomes 80/20. Or even 90/10 in our favor.
In that case, Fluffy is alive. And so am I. Alive and kicking in the very best way, heading into a future full of phenomenal possibility.
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IAM living in the reality that you are well and fully revived from your surgery… anything else is not necessarily bad but helping you remember the power of your choice… To embrace all your previous experience and walk the path of love. Dear Kristine, happy new year and may your magic serve you well always. Much love Barbara x
Thanks for holding me in your thoughts this way! It was a challenging experience but I’m proud of myself for clearing the hurdle and moving into a healthy, happy future:).
Great post. Hope that your recovery goes fast…I was raised with a lot of negativity too. I’ve recently begun to practice gratitude when the dark, angry, fearful stuff arises. Yesterday, I thanked the universe for the beautiful light and clear weather as I drove five hours on crowded highways between Miami and Orlando. It helped me stay calmer than normal.
Oh, gratitude is amazing, isn’t it? I’m so glad you’re practicing it. I am doing the same :-).
The one thing I think I got right: I ran toward things that scared me. Still do, sometimes. Because when you run through and beyond them, they lose their power…..I can so identify. Well said. Great post
Here’s to running, torch in hand. Right through that fear. 👍🏻
I hope by now the healing is quite on its way to near finished, Kay, and you are on to half-fretting about the next thing. I know the ingrained feeling quite well, my friend.
Let’s just kick that fretting to the curb, Mark! You in? I’m all for it:).
I’m in, Kay!
Life hasn’t given me a moment to breathe or do anything beyond dishes and a new job this season, but I had to steal the time to shoot quantum love and admiration your way for all you have pulled your boys through and for braving this bend in the journey.
“a knee-jerk reaction to events that are long gone.”
Long gone, K. And it’s not where we come from (or even have come out of) but where we’re going. I know it must be maddening to have been slowed down, but be all there. Let yourself heal…fully, so that you can come back to your boys, friends, and yourself even stronger than before.
Aw, thank you 🙏🏻. And you’re right. No sense in looking back, but rather, be in the moment. I am recovering now. It was not fun but I got through it. Now, all healing all the time. Wishing you best of luck in the new job. And wondering if it involves writing :-).
Teaching it. Not doing it. (Going batty, as much as I love the tchg.)
Oh, I love this! Sharing your talents :-). The world sure could use more of that.
Take care before and after the surgery. Don’t push yourself and allow yourself to recover.
Thanks so much. In recovery mode now and it’s humbling, for sure.
This is a wonderful post in terms of the metaphor. (I think I’m one of the two people who find quantum physics fascinating even though I don’t understand a lot of it.) Sending lots of positive vibes your way.
Thanks for being one of the two people to remain in the virtual room :-). And thank you very much for the positive vibes. I am sure they made a difference.
Nice post. What we learn in our childhood, gets so hard-coded in our nature that it is very difficult to teach ourselves otherwise, even when we want to. I had to unlearn many things from my childhood, when I started navigating my own life. And whenever things go wrong, I would invariably fall back on my old pattern. A painstaking climb followed by a quick slide…..back to where I started. So many times this has happened with me. Your post resonates for this reason.
Good luck for your surgery. Those consent forms are literally a list of worst case scenarios. Don’t pay attention to that. Everything will be smooth and successful.
Thank you! And yes, hard-wiring. I’m trying to change that wiring. And I have a surgeon who seems hard-wired to anticipate the worst-case scenario, which ruins the good juju a bit:).
this struck me “Undergoing this surgery requires me to surrender to life, the Universe, God. To trust again. To trust the raft will remain afloat and on course without my frantic paddling.”
From my own personal experience of two neck surgeries, sometimes the unintended consequences do in fact take the raft off course and the new course is better, stronger and in the best interest of you and your boys/men.
Also – maybe, just maybe, this is an event that allows them to step up, steer the raft of life a bit and put into practice the skills you have taught them that you didn’t think they were absorbing!
You may be quite surprised that your surrender of control of the raft is an amazing journey in which the outcome, although different from your plan and thought of direction allows you to enjoy the ride a bit.
I know for me it was. just a thought….
This is so amazingly comforting. Thank you. And you’re right–I am hoping my boys step up in the most wonderful way. I just have to have faith that all will work the way it’s supposed to work.
Like someone else said in your comments, I often think of the worst case scenario when something threatens. Not that I believe the worst will happen, but because if I don’t actually visualize it, it might. I know it makes no sense, but it’s a hard habit to break.
Wishing you relief from your pain. Fluffy lives!!
Thank you, Jennifer! It’s so interesting to me that we all have our own way of dealing with worry and stress–and that the ways are so varied.
Because I was a worrier, I always thought I was a pessimist, but I’ve realised in fact I’m an optimist, because I tend not to think the negatives will happen until they do. Fluffy is definitely alive 🙂 And good luck!
Realist is good! And if our thoughts influence our reality, you’re on the right track:).
Sending you positive thoughts–surgery is never fun, no matter how serious or not it is. I hope you get the pain relief you need as a result. And you probably know from my blog about my objection to Schrodinger’s Cat. As far as I’m concerned, if the cat is alive when I put it into the box, it will be alive when it comes out, because as the Queen of Worst Case Scenarios, I had it fitted with a wee gas mask just in case:-)
Oh, I’m laughing:). That’s wonderful! Ok. I’m in. Gas mask for Fluffy and we can heave a sigh of relief.
I’ve read several books on quantum physics because it’s fascinating and I can’t quite wrap my head around it and because I am a big nerd that way. I’ve never thought of it as a metaphor for my expectations for the future, though. Thank you for that insight.
Wow. I thought I was the only gal doing this, based on the blank stares I get when I bring up those books! Good to know I’m not alone:). And click on the link within the blog that will take you to the data/study on quantum physics and observer influence. It was super interesting . . .
I can’t help thinking that somehow we were raised by the same parents. I still don’t do positive thinking very well — but I do statistics. Your chances of a really good outcome are waaaaay better than Fluffy’s. I’m sending virtual hugs and good wishes too — cos there’s no harm in hedging your bets.
Aw, thank you! I’m not googling any stats. I’ll trust you!
Surgery – any surgery can be very frightening. To know we have absolutely no control as we lay vulnerable on that operating table – you’d have to be made of stone not to worry. But I do believe in the power of positive thought. Sending calming energy to you to help you reach that 90/10….
Thank you, Carol. You pegged it. To put yourself so completely in someone else’s hands, when the last time you did that in life it turned out to be a shit show, is disconcerting to say the least. But I am believing in the team that will be working on me–and trusting that they take as much pride and care in their work as I do in mine. Thanks so much for the positive thoughts . . . and the calming energy. I’ll use them:).
You are kindly welcome my dear. I will be reading about your successful surgery and subsequent healing in the near future.
As you know, Kristine, I am an optimist at heart! And I’m also a believer in the power of positivity…something I now have to work on as my partner in life is a pessimist and believes if something can go wrong it will. It always came naturally to me, but now I really work on it. Of course things don’t always go the way we want them to, and there are lessons from that, but generally I believe that our attitudes do have something to do with it. I enjoyed your thoughtful post, and confess that surgery is one thing that really scares me too. But I’m sure that you will be fine, and am sending good vibes across the world to you. And am looking forward to reading all about it in due course. Take care xx
Oh, thank you, Lee! Your kind thoughts mean a lot. And I’m glad to know you’re the yin to his yang (or is it the other way around?). Isn’t it funny how we can be a natural optimist but being around someone who isn’t for long periods of time can mean we need to work at it? Wonder how that energy exchange works.
I’m not sure how it works, but it definitely has an effect. Hopefully it also works the other way!
If you factor in the positive thoughts and energy so many of your followers are sending you, I think you can safely say the deck is stacked in your favour!
Oh, what a wonderful way to think about it! Fluffy is not dying on our watch:). Thanks for the perspective.
Praying for that surgery 🙏🏼 I agree with you that our thoughts can definitely affect what we end up seeing materialize. For sure.
I somehow knew you’d get it😉. Thank you!
Your right Kristine, someone forgot to put the kitty litter in the box 😀
And right again about fear…’Because when you run through and beyond them, they lose their power.’ 😀
And most certainly a time comes when to love your children dearly…you must let them go, a greater love you cannot give 😀
So for you my friend have faith in your journey, that it will take you in the most loving way towards that inner place that will truly set you free…by letting it go…and accept you for exactly as you are.
And if there is a hammer anywhere in the surgery it will be made of rubber, to tap you on the knee to just see how much your alive and kicking 😀
Now get out of the box, the technology is that good they can operate on someone from half way around the world. If an email can do that imagine what a room full of surgeons can do! 😀
Thanks, Mark! Out of the box with no poison in sight😉.
🙏🏼 And sending much love and light for this journey dear lady ❤️
I believe part of fluffy’s outcome time and time again is inherited in our genes. You can’t help being born into a family who sees him dead, way before he even enters the box. Not good for fluffy or for us! However, learning to heal these old patterns takes time, but I’ve nailed it over many years which gives hope to all of us who face this unfortunate genetic disposition ha! Go into that surgery visualising the most perfect outcome. I will visualise it with you too girlfriend 😘💕💚
Thank you, Karen! And when you talk about jeans and family of origin, you are reminding me of a podcast I recently listened to. Dr. Bruce Lipton was interviewed and he talks about that very thing – how some of our subconscious patterns are developed via genetics when we are very young or when we are developing in the womb. Are you familiar with him?
Yes Bruce Lipton is great and also what really changed my family genetics was doing the work on my family lineage that Daniel Foor has discovered through Ancestral healing. It’s brilliant and all makes sense why we carry the wounds of our past. Look him up, he has a book and plenty of YouTube videos to watch too.
I will definitely look it up! You’re always a wealth of information:).
As a meditator, Buddha tells us we need to learn to sit with the Uncertainty of life… and yet also orient ourselves towards Delight. So of course it’s normal to worry about the surgery, but also practice cultivating and feeling Joy- let it fill your cells & body- perhaps meet your surgeon & create trust with them- make a fun plan for a family treat after the surgery etc- try to cultivate the positive. Good luck and keep us posted 🙏🏼
I have been doing yoga Nidra for the past week or so and it is helping immensely. Particularly the breathing. I’m planning on continuing that through my recovery. Thank you for the wise thoughts.
Control is an illusion. I hated seeing that statement. Hated hearing it from my counselor. Life happens. The only thing I am truly able to control is my attitude. I was also brutally taught to anticipate all possibilities and woe be unto me if I failed, which, of course, I did; they made sure of it. Decades later and I’m learning to let go of the need for control and place my trust in God; by placing my trust in God, I’m choosing to be grateful He’s the One in control. Not an easy lesson, but I am happier. God bless you, your family, and those in charge of your care.
Thank you so much for the kind thoughts and for sharing so honestly. I do believe that after years of having to be the one in control end as much as anyone could be – it is really hard to completely let go of the reins and trust. But, it is the only alternative. As you so rightly said.
Kodos Kristine on your heartfelt and clever take on expectations. I’m betting on you and Fluffy. I can totally relate to letting life get you down. My bout with financial loss rocked me and my confidence to the core. To believing in goodness again.
Fluffy and I are alive and kicking. Thank you!
I love how you approach certain subjects.
I fear I am one of those annoying people who believe things will work out – eventually. That said, my upbringing and yours are quite different. My mother’s nonchalance towards pretty much everything came across as purely lazy and uninterested. Oh, we know she loves us but she’s as hard as nails and as cold as a fish at times. She was always there when we needed her but she always kept herself at a distance. Weird. And rubbed off on me. Dad was larger than life and took up a lot of space in the house. He was all about the showing off in front of others while letting you know that you are not quite enough at the same time.
Your post has me thinking tt’s time I take a long, real look at my whys and whatnots.
As for you… I send you good vibes for your surgery!
Your Mum sounds a bit Avoidant (sorry to butt in randomly on this comment!)- try reading a book called ‘Attached’ about our family patterns of loving & connecting- no doubt it will throw a lot of light on your expectations
She is totally an Avoidant.
I will have to check the book out :-). Thanks for the suggestion!
Thanks, Dale! And yes, those Family patterns are sometimes tough to break even when we can discern them. If anyone can, I know it’s you :-).
Hah. Well, I’ll try…
In the surgery world, I’m a live fluffy. I pass that probability to you. Best wishes.
Oh, I’ll take that handoff!
There you go. 😁
What a wonderful post. So thoughtful and well said. I hope your surgery goes very, very well. It sounds like something I may need!
Thank you! I appreciate the good thoughts😀.
What a fabulous post. Tweeting it! The whole cat theory is so fascinating to me, and I love what you did with it here. I hope it’s ok if I put a link here. A million years ago I wrote an elegiac poem using Schrodinger’s cat. If it’s not ok, just delete–it won’t hurt my feelings. http://www.ducts.org/12_04/html/poetry/castle.htm
Oh my goodness. What are the chances of that kind of coincidence? And thank you so much for the tweet. I truly appreciate it. Can’t wait to check out your link.
No,it gets better! I just read my daily minimum of two new to me poems. Poem number two about Schrodinger’s cat! I kid you not. By K. T. Landon in summer 2014 issue of Jabberwock! I wish I could attach a photo of the poem here. Are you on Instagram?
I am on Insta, but it’s a completely personal account–unrelated to my blog. I’ll have to google it!
I doubt it’s online. It’s a print journal. It’s very good. Called Poem on Realizing a Friend Has Sold Me Out.
Keep us posted please, on your experience(s) and outcome. Best Wishes.
Thank you. I expect that you’ll all have to put up with my ramblings for quite some time to come 😃. Fluffy is alive.