Worry stew

It’s been so easy to get caught up in worry stew this year. Whether about the pandemic, politics, global warming, money issues, jobs, race relations, hurricanes, tornados, fires…you name it, 2020 has been a challenging one for our nervous systems.

In the last several days I keep turning back to the Heart (God, the Universe, the Holy) as worry or anxiety or dismay arises.

About a half hour ago I suddenly felt scared about my seventy-five day practice to connect more deeply with the Heart–and my intention to write about it here. All sorts of thoughts arose with a heaping helping of worry stew: I don’t know what to say, I feel nervous, this is a stupid idea.

As this worry stew arose, I looked inside toward the Heart. Without pushing away any of the concerns, without tut-tutting them away, I looked for a prayer, a comfort, words of affirmation that felt true to my heart right now. That affirmed what the Heart knows is true, not all the ingredients making up that worry stew.

Thank you for soothing me, I whispered to the Heart. (The body relaxed and softened.) Thank you for providing the words to share. (Ahhh, I don’t have to be “in charge” and find the words…it’s possible to move closer into inner silence and allow the words to come through me.) Help me to keep inviting you closer and closer today, instead of simmering in mental stories of disempowerment, annoyance, fear or dismay.

What comforts you when worry, nervousness, fear or anxiety arise? What soothes? What turns your worry stew into nourishing vegetable soup for the soul?

Day 2 of a seventy-five day journey to more deeply connect with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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33 Responses to Worry stew

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Love the term “worry stew” because that’s what I do … I stew … typically keeping much to myself. After all, time is provides answers. Maybe not as fast as we want, but never challenge time because it always wins.

    • Kathy says:

      I think so many of us stew in worry at times, and we often keep it to ourselves, as well. You are right–time does provide answers eventually. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. I like the term worry stew. Not threatening. I am glad you were able to find your center despite the waves of anxiety. You are right – definitely no shortage this year, or any year actually.

    • Kathy says:

      Hello Markus and Micah (it’s always fun to guess which one of you wrote the comment, but I’m not sure today…) I love that the term “worry stew” just suddenly appeared and it felt so ordinary–like all of us eat big helpings at times. It seems the spiritual journey (for me) is about finding and losing center, and finding and losing center, and falling off the the track and oh here it is again!

  3. dawnkinster says:

    I try not to worry, which is easier now that I’m retired. Yet, this year has certainly provided plenty of fodder for worrying about. But when it happens I try to notice beautiful stuff around me, like your carrots and the trees in your part of the country, and that usually takes my mind off of worry at least for awhile. Katie helps too, she says that I should always be focused on her and there should be no room for worry about world events.

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Dawn, what a gift you have in Katie! She reminds you of that every day, I am sure. Noticing beautiful things is balm indeed for a worried spirit. So glad you are feeling better now. So very glad.

  4. Ally Bean says:

    The vegetable soup for the soul! What a great image that creates in my mind. Now that I’ve voted I am worrying less about our future, but I had my moments with worry stew. It’s been an odd year to endure, for sure.

    • Kathy says:

      What a year indeed! That was a picture of our soup last night and I’m giving all credit to the soup for the direction of today’s musing! (OK, and to the Heart, too.) Glad you’ve voted. We voted a week or so ago…in fact everyone in our family Zoom yesterday–all five us–have voted.

  5. Barb says:

    Lovely to read your post this morning, Kathy, before I head out on my walk. I’ll look forward to starting my day with you for the next 70+ days. You’ve put a smile on my face that has temporarily banished worries.

    • Kathy says:

      So glad, Barb! Actually, I thought of your Small Stones blog that you did everyday–was it in July?–and that added to the inspiration to write this almost eleven week journey. Glad your worry stew disappeared for a while. xoxo

  6. sherrysescape says:

    I find this soothing.

  7. debyemm says:

    Each day, I take a short little hike down to the creek crossing. There I lift my arms to the sky and connect, then do a few stretches and yoga inspired as well as Tai Chi inspired moves. At the end, I say a little prayer of gratitude –

    Thank you for keeping me safe and providing for me. Always has it been, is now and always will be because thou art with me and I am grateful that I know this. And so it is. So be it. Blessed be. Amen.

    I just remind myself because all of that is true and it helps me to feel secure.

  8. Ali Grimshaw says:

    Worry stew is so accurate. I think the first most important step is to notice that I am worrying. Until there is an acknowledgment of this I can’t step forward to listen to my heart.
    Thanks for reading the poems on Flashlight Batteries Poetry Blog. I hope they brought lift to your day.

  9. Susan D. Durham says:

    I like your term “worry stew,” too. Aptly descriptive! During my worry stew this morning, the part inside me that knows what’s good for me sent me out of the apartment. I did NOT want to leave today; did not want to see other humans. But, I listened to the push to “go forth.” Lo and behold, I ran into you at the grocery store. What a delight and soul soother!

    So many times, when I listen to the heart, it has me going in an opposite direction. And it almost always was/is the right choice. Sometimes I choose to swim in the worry stew for a while; to allow all the feelings to bubble and boil and create a little steam, trying to get to the root of it all. I can usually find a clue. Often, after this, I will go look at myself in the mirror, point my finger at my image, and say, “You’re okay, Kid.” or “It’s all alright, It always has been.” or “You’re fine. God’s got you.”

    Thank you, my friend, for doing this … for casting your net… for blessing us.

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, thank you for this lovely comment! I adored how the Universe weaved us together yesterday. People may not even understand how rare it is to spot a dear from in the grocery store in our remote rural area. And yet there you were! I feel like God keeps sending gifts and synchronicities every time we consciously turn toward Him/It/Love.

      Love also your description about the way you navigate through your Worry Stew looking for clues and then find your way to affirmations of connection with God/Heart.

      Really feel like this 75 day thingee is a calling that can’t be ignored. So grateful that we’re both desiring to create nourishing soup from our worry stews.

  10. Stacy says:

    Ah, great question. 2020 has been so difficult for so many reasons. Probably the most difficult of my life, and that includes the loss of everything (home, community, job) after Katrina.

    So what have I been doing to reach that holy place where I can live more fully? For me it has been prayer-deep prayer. Daily, away from everything, on the dock, alone with God’s creations. Praying, too, for others who are suffering, and service to them (as much as I can do while being socially distant).

    I cherish your writing, and I look forward to finding my way with you, Kathy. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Dearest Stacy, I am so sorry that this has been the most difficult year of your life. I think many might say this. It makes my Heart smile to hear of your deep daily prayer. Feeling that right now so much. Not sure how these 75 days will progress, but this morning–right now–feeling uplifted. Praying for your upliftment through this day and always.

  11. “What soothes?” Hmmm… This might sound weird, but for me, the first step is identifying a distressing physical symptom as an expression of anxiety. That always seems to be the way I become aware that I am worried about something. Then I can do some deep breathing, some yoga, meditation, take a walk, or go work on a jigsaw puzzle. (Not sure why the puzzles are so therapeutic but I’ve done dozens of them this year!) Or, if he’s not occupied, I can mention my worry to Tim and he will make a humorous observation that will crack me up. (Laughter is so helpful as I tend to take myself way too seriously.) My goodness, there is an abundance of ingredients available for our worry stews this year.

    • Kathy says:

      I loved reading what you wrote right now and just laughed out loud as you talked of your jigsaw puzzle-making. Because in today’s post I wrote about how sometimes I turn toward jigsaw puzzles as a way of moving away from the Holy. But right now, you as the Holy Heart, pointed me back toward recognizing that jigsaw puzzles can be so soothing to the nervous system, such a gift. Now I am cracking up. The Heart has such a way of turning everything around toward the Holy and your comment did it yet again.

      So glad Tim can make you laugh…that there are ways to soothe all of us…that your spirit is shining so beautifully even amidst all the worry stews of 2020. Thanks, Barbara.

      • Sometimes I think jigsaw puzzles are a metaphor for life. We have to fit so many pieces of the puzzle together, using different problem solving skills (sometimes looking for shape, sometimes looking for color), to see the big picture. And it takes time, but I get joy from finding each little piece that fits. Teaches me flexibility, patience and persistence, I think… Not my natural strong points.

        That was funny, us thinking about puzzles in different ways!

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  13. Lori says:

    These thoughts sort of fit with my morning spiritual reading today. “No matter where I may be on my path, sometimes my spiritual life feels easy and sometimes it feels hard. There are times I enjoy insights, blissful clarity, and peace. Other times, I may struggle, feeling stuck and directionless or even lonely on my walk with God. At times like these, I renew my commitment to my spiritual path. Although my attention may have wandered, the divine presence within me has always remained steadfast, as near as my next thought.” 😊

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing your daily spiritual reading. I so get it. This morning it was easy on my walk with God. This afternoon is more challenging. Will keep renewing my commitment daily, no matter where attention wanders. ❀

  14. Reggie says:

    I want to add my voice to your comments – for me too, “worry stew” is such a fantastic and apt term for what much of this year has been like! Thankfully, Thank God, Thank the Spirits, not every day! There have also been days more characterised by bliss, joy, happiness, faith, contentment, insight, peace, love, hope… It’s following the daily news that seems to toss most of the ingredients into our Worry Stew and stir them all around!

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, yes, if we didn’t live with that daily news we’d probably all be obliviously happy in our cocoons. I know I can be when it’s just us & the woods & nature all around. And not all the worry stew scenarios that can simmer in our brains. I like what you’ve said about all the positive things that really nourish us during our days. xoxo

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