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Don’t Worry…Be Happy!

How’s that for a philosophy on life–four simple words, one profound statement.

You probably recognize it as a popular worldwide hit song by American musician Bobby McFerrin produced in 1988–one of the most beloved anthems to happiness of all time. On September 24 that year, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” became the first a cappella song to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. Since then it has come to fit nicely in the Reggae music community–conjuring visions of island life and a care-free, relaxed existence. And that was definitely our experience when we recently had the chance to visit the island of Jamaica.

What a lovely welcoming culture it was! One thing I found so interesting was when one of our drivers shared there are over 120 different ethnic groups living on their island–hence, one of their expressions, “One Love”–meaning that no one is turned away from entering their country–what a loving and open concept! Jamaican people are an example to the world–they show how people of different cultures, skin colors, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation and ethnic origins can come together and live as one people–in friendship, in harmony, happy and smiling, and with a laid-back attitude of “No Problem Mon”. But do we need to travel to an island to get connected with this lovely vibe?

I find that traveling and visiting different cultures–holds many life lessons if we’re open and curious. And even though many areas have 3rd world characteristics–there are many smiles with their simple lives. They’ve evolved with a “don’t worry, be happy” frame of mind.

US Side Note: I recently learned through an elementary school physical therapist in Milwaukee who shared that up to 45% of their students are on anxiety and/or depression medication. How crazy has this become? Are they feeding off our anxiety/fear?

A couple weeks ago we talked about fear. In actuality, fear is frequently rooted in worry. And, listening to this song–and the simple words and actions that go along with it–made me think about how that crazy worry disrupts our lives today. Worry is meditating on what you don’t want. You actually can draw to you what you fear.
Even though a lot of this discussion resembles fear–let’s put it into a worrying perspective. What are we worrying about? About our health? About the safety of our children? About our next paycheck? About our relationships? About our job or having enough to retire? I could go on and on. Worry. We, as a whole, can (and do) worry about pretty much everything. Will the economy be affected by this global coronavirus? Despite modern medical advances, sickness and disease still permeate our neighborhoods. There’s enough out there to keep us worrying constantly–right? And that’s without all of our own very personal and individual challenges. Instead, focus on what you would like to see happen. Feel that God’s got your back. See the world thru his eyes, not your human side. You will have a way better perspective, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Admittedly, some worry is hard to avoid like worrying about a spouse, a child, another loved one. These are rooted in love and are challenging worries to overcome. However, having faith and trust that we are in the right place at the right time and that divine guidance will see us all through one way or another can help us with a welcome shift in our “stinkin thinking”. And then at some point the release of “Let go and let God” may help put things into a further healthier perspective. When you let go of the controls, let God take the reins, you will feel safe and secure on this challenging earth plane. It helps to be able to see that everything is happening for your spiritual growth and that there is a blessing in the lesson.

Helpful Meditation: knowing how helpful meditation is, I purchased a children’s book for our 4 year old Granddaughter that began by telling a story about walking into an beautiful, lush forest–and oh, by the way, there’s a large tree that we will pass–that’s the “worry tree”–you just drop off all your worries there and we will move forward with our adventure. I found this SO precious and endearing! Couldn’t we all benefit with some quiet time and a “worry tree”?

So, what do we choose today? What do you choose the next time that “thing” arises that puts uncertainty into our lives–and we are ready to retreat into our world of worry? The choice is ours. We can choose to worry–or we can choose to act–to do something so that it can all be re-framed in a comforting, more healthful way.
“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” ~ Maya Angelou

Today. We have a choice. We can choose to worry when life confronts us with its challenges. Or we can choose to live our lives. Taking care of what we do have control over. Ourselves and our actions. A helpful affirmation is I am a magnificent spiritual being having a heavenly earthly experience each and every day!
What do we choose?

Warriors–don’t worry, be happy! And let’s be gentle with ourselves in the process.
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