I wrote this today on a Zoom call with Rabbi Sharon Mars and her Congregants from Temple Israel of Columbus, during a conversation about Mussar and worry.

After writing this, I see that many have suggested scheduling time for worry. There are many online resources for how to do that!


Scheduling Worry

I am
by the usual appointments.

My schedule has become
an endless open house
for Worry.

And, because
emotion abhors a vacuum,
Worry rushes in,
fills my awareness,
consumes my heart.

Worry lives in my awareness
rent free,
an ill-behaved squatter
sneezing into the air
touching the doorknobs
petting the dog
without scrubbing hands
before and afterwards.

Eviction notice:
Worry, you are out!
You may visit, Worry,
but you may not live here.

I must practice social isolation
from you.
We must keep our distance,
six feet, please,
and only by appointment.

Starting now,
when you want to visit,
you will have to make
an appointment.

Don’t worry, Worry,
I will make time for you.
I can squeeze you in,
at 2 p.m. today.

At 2 p.m. today,
I will worry
about the future,
about others’ actions
about others’ inactions,
about others’ decisions,
about others’ self-interest
(and even my own)
until our time for today ends.

Because, at 2:30 p.m., Worry,
I will need to move to other work.

You see,
after our appointment today,
I’ve booked the rest of the day
with Appreciation and Gratitude.
I am scheduled to smile
that I have breath
that the sun is shining
that the dog’s tail is wagging.

I know, I know,
we won’t be finished
with our worry, Worry.

Since we won’t be finished with
our worry, Worry, we will
schedule more time,

For now, however, let’s
get you on today’s schedule.
How is 2 p.m. for you, Worry?
Does 2 p.m. work for you?