Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 10/20/2011 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - Worry Worry

Martha's Big Adventure — Worry, Worry

By Martha Randolph Carr

It doesn't matter how often I travel. The days right before departure are filled with details running through my head about what needs to get done, what needs to be included and what could go wrong. Right before my most recent trip I sat through a meeting the day before thinking about what would be the better time to leave for the airport. Four or four-fifteen, over and over again.

I'm talking about a.m. and this all involves other people, which is what's causing my dilemma. Left to my own devices I'd have left at three-thirty in the middle of the night. I am so well known for getting to places really early that some friends have been known to lie to me about the start time of parties and give me a later time. Depending on the friend, I factor that information in to my schedule.

However, this trip I was heading out with others so I was going to have to practice a little letting go. Still, that fifteen minutes, my brain said, might make a difference.

It's as if I think I can do enough pre-worrying to prevent calamity.

In my profession as an author and a speaker I end up traveling a lot during the year and generally it's to places I've never been, to be greeted by friendly strangers. When I get there I'm expected to appear in public and make a good impression, be presentable and confident. That gives me a sense of responsibility and expectation and please, don't let me forget the good shoes.

Once I'm at my destination I start to relax because finally, I'm willing to accept that so much of this is out of my control mixed with a sense of accomplishment that I got to the right place on time. Okay, early.

The bigger truth is really that all of it is out of my control. My job is to do the best I can in any given situation, take the small actions in front of me to do and then let the rest go.

There's the kink in my system.

There are so many parts when it comes to traveling far from home that are somewhat unknown and that's what I find so unsettling. It's obvious to me that I'm not in control. It's like the worrying is my way of coping.

I've gotten better though, because I'm far less likely to do someone else's part along with mine or even remind someone else of what they said they'd bring or I feel they need to bring. But I still haven't let go of the constant conversation in my head of what's still undone and when I can get it done despite never having arrived someplace with something important missing. It's exhausting.

I've managed to forget a toothbrush or lotion but never those shoes and the appearances have all gone off without a hitch. Hundreds of appearances or research for a book or speeches and still I worry right before a trip that's further than a car can take you in a day.

In order to do something a little more practical than just let the old worry patterns have their way, I've come up with some contrary actions to teach me, once again, just who's in charge of the bigger picture.

I make a list of what's needed as a nod to my need to know and then I go find something better to do. I call someone and ask how they're doing instead and resist the urge to talk about me.If I'm still caught on something that's my signal to take a walk, read a book but for heaven's sake, relax.

It all sounds a little ridiculous but these moments are my opportunity to practice letting go so that when life really hands me something difficult the idea is firmly planted in my brain. Be of service, do the next thing that's in front of me to do and then let go of the rest.

If something bigger than myself, who I call God, has my back then none of the rest ever has to be about me. I'll keep working on that idea. More adventures to follow. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph and let me know how you let go of old ideas. Email Martha at

© 2011 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email

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