No sooner had I stepped out of my gate into the stinging cold of 5AM than I came face to face with him. He was standing right there, waiting for me with his usual mystical smile. He extended his muscled hand in warm greeting and I clasped it. Mistake number 1. I am ready to join you for your run today. He said. You are most welcome, I answered. Mistake number 2. So we set off past the main gate of our Court, into a one-hundred meter rough-road stretch, then turned right into a 200-meter rough-road stretch, before hitting the tarmac. As always, he was quite conversational, giving me great running company.
Actually, it was great company in a negative way. You see, he kept reminding me about things that were not going right in my life; about people who had either hurt me or let me down; about the difficult days ahead and why they would become even more difficult. Plus much more negative stuff. The more he reminded me about these issues, the more I slipped down pity-party lane. Poor me. Why me. Why now.
As we ran down Rhino stretch, I remembered words that I had read somewhere – you are what you think. That memory caused me to think of a related insight - your present reality is but a result of your past thoughts; your current thoughts will determine your future reality. Which means that if I keep entertaining and the negative thoughts that my running partner is stirring in me, I am simply making a down-payment for more future negativity. Why on earth would I want to keep injecting negative energy into my today and consequently into my tomorrow?!
This particular thought flowed into my mind with clarity and forcefulness of Kenya’s April rainfall. I decided to drop the company of my running mate because it was resulting in an accumulation of negative energy within me. And so as I ran past the Umoja 2 matatu terminus, I turned to my left, looked at him straight in the eye and told him in a stern, unflinching voice, ‘this is where you and I part company.’
As I ran on, I felt freer, as if a 100-kilo sack of maize had just been lifted from my heart. You see, he is not a person. His name is anxiety aka worry. He is highly talented in sneaking into people’s minds and sowing into them lots of negative energy through negative thoughts.
Messi and Ronaldo’s goal scoring exploits don’t even come close to his worldclass expertise in shooting worry and anxiety into us. He scores goals that you never ever see coming. You could be busy on your laptop finalizing that document when suddenly he will score two goals of worry into your mind. Will you really manage to raise sufficient money to pay for your evening classes? Does he really love you? These two are valid questions because you have every right in the world to know whether you are on course to raise sufficient funds for your classes and if he truly loves you.
But he uses such valid questions to shepherd you into the valley of despair and anxiety. No, you will not raise sufficient funds because of Covid-19; which means that you will not finish your masters degree in good time; which means that you will probably not get that promotion. He probably doesn’t truly love you because if he did, he would communicate more often; he would believe in your dreams; does he even know your dreams? No, he doesn’t really love you and is just using you. How could he do that? Why would he take you for a ride?
These worrisome thoughts start as a trickle then become an avalanche. Before you know it, you are drenched in worry and anxiety that doesn’t do anything to solve your problems, both perceived and real. Say NO to this kind of life.
Every day in the course of your life’s journey, you will come across the anxiety-peace junction multiple times. Most of us have been turning left into the worry & anxiety road so many times that it has become second nature. Purpose to start turning right into the peace road every time you come across this junction. You can do so by always kicking out negative thoughts and consistently welcoming positive thoughts through intimate prayer; through deep gratitude for who and what you have and not despairing over what you don't have; through deep faith that God’s got your back and by tuning in to the limitless force of the universe. When you do so, you will end up drenched in peace ‘that surpasses all understanding.’ In other words, peace that cannot be explained logically.
At this moment, I choose to unleash this peace into my heart. I hope you do so to.