Change Your Perspective to Change the World

Here’s an updated version of a Live More, Fear Less post from my archives.


Keyhole_and_LadderThere are so many things to worry about in this life: the state of the world with its pollution, wars, natural disasters, famine. There’s human trafficking, drug cartels, economic collapse. Some mothers watch their children waste away through starvation. Some fathers are beaten and killed for their faith or beliefs. Closer to home are the very real problems of putting food on the table, juggling bills, trying to keep a job, and deciding between paying the rent or going to the doctor. And then there are more personal worries like living alone or being lonely, growing old, and being forgotten.

It’s easy to worry, and it’s something I’m very good at because I’ve had lots of practice. When I feel myself slipping into that place where I need to print business cards that say “Cate Macabe, Professional Worrier,” I stop and try to put things in perspective.

If I’m living in a car or a bombed-out building, do I worry about how fat I look in my jeans? While I’m sitting by my child’s hospital bed, do I care that my gray roots are showing? What is the fear of growing old compared to the fear of having nothing to feed my children? How does the fear of crowds or heights or giving an oral presentation compare to facing the devastation of a hurricane or a flood?

When I received the news that a friend of mine lost her teenage daughter to the hands of a murderer, the first thing I did was cry, and then I wailed. I was devastated for my friend, the heartbreak she felt, the horror of the crime. And I cried out for her daughter. There was so much she didn’t get to do. She was too young to be taken from this life. The next thing I did was look at my own teenage daughter and my life with her. Did all my rules, and nagging, and too-high expectations create the relationship I wanted? Did I want to push her away or look at each day with her as a gift to cherish? I decided, on the day I got my friend’s tragic news, what was truly important and began making choices accordingly.

Don’t wait for a disaster to give you a new perspective. Decide now what is most important and take practical steps to follow through.

If living longer and enjoying your family as you age is what you worry about – walk a little everyday, make better food choices, exercise your mind. Is getting a job or holding on to one a concern? Update your skills, work for a temporary agency, volunteer in your field of interest.

Doing something for someone else can shift our focus and also change how we look at our own lives. Visit an elderly neighbor, hold the hand of someone who’s grieving, watch a busy Mom’s kids to give her some alone time, send thank-you cards and letters to soldiers serving overseas (especially in combat zones).

Today, this minute, we can’t help a starving child or love an orphan on the other side of the world, but we can contribute money or time to organizations that can. And if we have the heart for it, we can foster or adopt and change the life of such a child.

Unless we do something with our worry, it becomes a waste of our time and energy because it’s really only a useless exercise of the mind. Don’t let the worries of life get you down for long. Take one step back if you have to, then two steps forward and keep looking ahead.

What do you do to stop worry from getting out of hand?


Image “Keyhole And Ladder” courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Remember the Why in the What

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. ~ Derek Sivers

Keep Your Eyes on the Goal

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Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal. ~ Hannah More

Dance in the Rain

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“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov

The Road to the Sun

Today I’ve pulled a post from my archives (December 2012), inspired by an awesome trip to Glacier National Park. If you have time, please check out a new article at my Wanderer website titled “Dare. Dream. Write. More.” about why I decided to break my pledge not to make New Year’s resolutions.

GlacierNP_2The Going-to-the-Sun Road wound upwards around the ice-carved mountainsides of Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Forests of evergreens, patches of fading wild flowers, and the yellow-orange of still-changing foliage spread out before me along the road on three sides. Even the cliff face on my left, climbing toward an autumn sky, held beauty in its grey hues, and jagged lines and shadows. Mountain buttes hid the foothills of ridges. Ridges bowed before peaks. Each layer a darker shade of blue to purple-grey. All filled the horizon above v-shaped valleys.

I went around a curve, the traffic slowed to a standstill, and there, blocking the panorama, was a rocky outcrop with a rough-hewn tunnel leading through it. In comparison, the harshness of the lifeless stone and the spiny, leafless trees here didn’t hold the same beauty as what I’d just passed. Behind me, the view was still so awesome I could have stared at it for hours, if not days (so different from the grassy mesas and the looming shoulders of barren mountains I often hike near my home 1250 miles away).

Glacier_4On through the tunnel, and the vista was again wondrous ahead, this time less so behind. And so, The Going-to-the-Sun Road shifted before and behind, in varying degrees of glorious – because, really, even the views that held too much brown and grey or not enough mountain or sky, still held perfection in their own way.

During one of those moments in my ascent when I just had to stop and try to take it all in, I thought of how much looking back can ruin my present and my future. The landscape of my past is filled with both beauty and ugliness. But living in the past – whether glorious or gritty – has often been a trap that keeps me from living in the present. At the same time, working busily for tomorrow (even if tomorrow means the end of the day) without enjoying this very day, seems as much of a waste.

I don’t make true New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I’m going to try very hard to do this coming year is to enjoy my every today and hope more in the future.

What changes do you want to make in the new year?

The Best Advice for Coping with the Holidays

There are no advent police. There are no family traditions enforcers. There are no report cards given on the kind of memories you’re making. Sometimes doing less is the best gift a tired mom can give her family. Simple. Simple. Simple. Keep it as simple as works for you. And if all you do is give everyone a cup of hot chocolate now and again – including yourself – you are winning. ~ Lisa-Jo Baker

ChristmasTree With SnowflakesLisa-Jo Baker gives wonderful advice for moms on her Surprised by Motherhood blog, but these jewels should be snatched up by everyone, not just by mothers.

“Keep it Simple” is a maxim we often hear but usually ignore. It’s one piece of advice we should repeat to ourselves as often as necessary during hectic holidays no matter the time of year.

Lisa-Jo also offers The Tired Mothers Holiday Creed “for the days we are running on empty… For the days we’re sure anyone else would do this job better. Host this family more calmly. Have a house more presentable.” Here are seven of my favorite points from the list of twenty. You’ll also find a printable version at the end of her post.

  • I shall accept that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
  • I shall remember that guests will only feel as comfortable in my home as I feel in my own skin.
  • I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.
  • I shall pause between preparations to savor the celebrations.
  • I shall remember that hospitality is about opening the door, not about how fancy the furniture, decor or dishes.
  • I shall treat myself with the same grace I offer everyone else.
  • I shall not be intimidated by how the holidays, the turkey, the tree or the memories “should” be celebrated but love the people I’m celebrating with instead.

What advice do you follow (or wish you did) for making holidays more enjoyable?


Image (Christmas Tree With Snowflakes) courtesy of jannoon028 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Faith in the First Step

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The Journey In Between

A journey might begin and end with a single step, but it’s the strides in between that reveal the path.

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Wisdom from Wizard of Oz

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Aspire to More

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