Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?
I was all set to write about something else, but my thoughts keep going to one of my dearest friends who is delivering a baby, her first, at the age of 43. She will be a single parent, but she has more love and support around her than most could ever dream of.
I am doing what I can to think positively that everything is going smoothly for her and the baby. She began the final stages of labor around six hours ago. I know from experience that this final stage can take longer than one would wish, but not hearing anything from the “point person” who is with her in the hospital makes me a bit uneasy.
Yesterday, I attended a seminar on anxiety and techniques to use as a therapist when working with clients. I learned a great deal—and not just for my clients. Having a greater understanding of how worry and stress and anxiety can result from our physiology and brain chemistry as well as from life circumstances will allow me to better help clients as well as myself when I feel these very real and often powerful emotions. There is no way to be completely free of worry or stress or anxiety, but we can take control of how we respond to them and how much we allow them to control us.
I recently read my grandfather Peale’s piece “Power Your Life with Positive Thinking,” which is being reissued in January 2014 through Guideposts Outreach publications. In one of the chapters, “Activate Your Power of Choice,” he speaks of how we have a choice in how we feel, how we conduct our lives, how we make our mark in this world. He does not minimize how challenging the execution of each of these choices might be at times, but he does make it very clear that each of us holds the power to choose. I kept this concept in mind yesterday as I heard the professor speak on the topic of choice; perhaps the words and tools are different, but the point is the same.
While awaiting word about my friend, I have not been without worry or anxiety, but I have chosen to visualize the arrival of a perfect new baby, one who will feel the tremendous power of love surrounding it and will be able to take on this big, wide world with a strong sense of choice in how life is led.
NEWS FLASH: I just learned that my dear friend delivered a healthy baby girl! Blessings upon the little one and her mom!
Katheryn (Katie) Allen Berlandi is the seventh of Guideposts cofounders Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Ruth Stafford Peale’s eight grandchildren. She is a clinical social worker with a private practice focusing on children, adolescents and families, and a consultant for Guideposts and the Guideposts Foundation. Katie lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters and son.