What Could Possibly Go Right?

header-fish-green-1-1024x474

Are you a catastrophizer?

I’m not usually one, but I can go there if everything else seems to be going wrong.

Like you, I was taught to anticipate problems as part of growing up. This system causes our brains to immediately anticipate what could go wrong, causing unnecessary worry. Add in the whole law of attraction angle, and we’re drawing towards us exactly what we don’t want.  

This short post from Gabrielle Bernstein reminded me to start asking myself, “What could right?”

From Gabrielle:

One morning recently I was future tripping about a very stupid issue. (Though there are really no stupid issues because there’s always something bigger under the surface.) Nevertheless, I was sweating the small stuff.

But all I needed to do was a shift my focus. I needed to see what was right about the situation rather than focus on what I perceived to be wrong.

In any moment we can transform our experience by shifting our perspective. Now it’s your turn. Take an issue you’ve been afraid of and spend a few minutes thinking about all that could go right. Let go of every “but” and the whole concept of “cautious optimism.” It’s safe to think about all that can go right. By doing this you move into a higher vibrational state and begin to attract the very things you need in order for things to go right! Try it now.

— Gabrielle Bernstein

Drinking Friends

5340026083_2caa5656f6_b

I’m posting this excerpt from the memoir I’m writing because it sums up what happened to me again and again when hanging out with drinking friends. (I was 23 days’ sober at the time.)

************

That evening, I sat on a friend’s back porch, watching her smoke and drink the wine she’d poured from a bottle chilling in a bucket of ice. She’d bought my favorite kind, though I’d told her I wasn’t drinking.

She was completely at ease, stretched out in her chair, swirling her wine in the glass. In contrast, I was restless and jittery, as if I’d had way too much coffee. Even the cicadas’ insane trilling jarred my nerves.

Our conversation, so effortless while drinking, was now stilted, full of fits and starts, as if we’d just met, though we’d been friends for years. Drinking buddies, actually. Hours could pass and we’d barely notice, laughing and drinking under the huge oaks trees in her backyard. But now, I didn’t find her stories nearly as funny, and she could feel my impatience to leave.

Sober, it turns out, I couldn’t sit for hours, doing nothing but talking and watching her smoke. Wine was the glue that held us together, and we became strangers without it.

She went to top off her wine, and then reached across to fill the empty glass in front of me, as if by habit.

“No thanks,” I said.

She swatting at a cloud of gnats. “Why not just one glass?”

Eve, in the Garden of Eden.

I didn’t answer her. I just stared off into the trees, wondering why this was so hard.

I shouldn’t be here.

In the silence, I could sense her frustration with me for not being what she wanted … for not playing my role. I felt a flash of anger.

But you’re free to leave,I reminded myself.

Years later, I could recognize when a friendship faltered without the wine, and I’d have no trouble walking away the minute I felt like it. But on Day 23, I could only watch her drink — gesturing with the glass, refilling it again. I saw only that a drink could solve everything that was wrong in this moment — the discomfort and loneliness and anger.

As I sat across from her, my resolve melting like the ice cubes in the bucket, I felt just a whisper of pain —familiar and heart breaking. Betrayal.

Not hers, but mine.

As I reached across the table for the wine bottle, sweaty and slick with condensation, she took a long drag on her cigarette, eyeing me appraisingly. She blew out the smoke, snuffed out her cigarette, and smiled.

“Welcome back,” she said.