March 28, 2023


By Amba Gale

The Life of Worry is very distinct from the Life of Living.

When we worry, we find ourselves caught up, in our head.  The rat’s treadwheel of worry is never ending, and a loop unto itself.  Worry begets worry.  Soon we are so scrunched up inside we are hardly able to move.

Living on the other hand, is wondrous.  When we enter the living stream of life, we find ourselves connected, belonging, at one with other creatures, both animal and human alike, able to gaze at the heavens, and say “Hallelujah, I am alive!”

So: how to move from one state to another?

First, not much is required.  Just commitment.  Commitment to Awareness. The commitment to embrace ourselves as human beings, which is to say, “wow, there I am worrying again!” To cultivating a commitment to living a life well lived, which includes embracing our wounds and sorrows as well as our joys and our blessings. In fact, we could see it ALL as Blessing.  

When we have a commitment to our own joy, we catch ourselves in the various states that produce suffering a lot faster: worry, fear, judging, fixing, dominating/avoid being dominated, arguing, figuring things out, needing to win, hiding, shielding our hearts, for fear of being hurt, protecting ourselves.

When I notice I am worrying, I stop, observe myself, and, even, sometimes, laugh. 

Or breathe.

Or sing.

Or dance.

Or come present to the natural world.

Or listen to a piece of music that stirs.

Or read Mary Oliver, whose poetry always inspires.

Or simply observe the worrying that is going on in my head, and say, “Ha!  Isn’t that interesting?” “There I am, again, caught up in my small self.”

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to watch the cumulous clouds go by, and playfully notice what shape each one formed?  “Oh!  There’s an old man with a beard!  Oh, look! Now it’s a big beach ball!  Oh, wow, now it looks like an arrow.  Now it’s a bird!

How Awesome!”

But do we do that?  No! If each cloud were a worry, we grab it, and hug it, and become it!

Better to say “Wow!  Isn’t that interesting?”

Observing the worrying chatter, being mindful of it, present to it, aware of it, is quite distinct from being caught up in it.

You have to have a commitment, however, to stop the suffering.

You have to have a commitment to getting free.


By Amba Gale

If you worry, notice it.
And laugh.

You need not bow to the
internal voice that craves,
more than anything,
to grab you and swallow you and take you
to a dark place.
That does not help,
at all, at all.

“Will I ever be able to write again?”
“Perhaps Spring won’t come this year.”
“When will this stupid war be over?”
“Will we ever get to travel safely again?”
“Am I eating too many carbs?”
“Will the weather ever clear up?”
“What if my blood pressure goes too high?”

“What if…what if…what if…”

The possibilities for worry are countless.

And then, I saw,
when I stopped and noticed,
the only, only, only thing
such ruminations give birth to
is living

And, so, I got up from my chair,
went outside,
breathed the clean cold air
and danced.

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When the Ceiling Falls

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