Martha Beck is a life coach who writes funny useful articles.

On her blog she posted an entry about a trip she took to South Africa where she encountered snafu after snafu – from airline cancellations to broken limbs, to traffic jams. It didn’t sound like a fun trip. But she shared a saying that she heard over and over again from South African friends.

The minute we face forward to make a plan, we are letting go of the one that wasn’t working. “No worries, “ they’d say, when everyone clearly had something big to worry about. “We’ll make a plan.”

What a magic phrase. “No worries. We’ll make a plan.”

It seemed to me that this mantra is easily applied to the unpredictable and often frustrating life with RA.

Think of the unexpected snarls that you encounter – dates and dinners that have to be cancelled at the last minute, medications not working as promised, people who don’t get what your RA costs you, the freefall of not knowing what is coming next.

No worries – we’ll make a plan.

The minute we face forward to make a plan, we are letting go of the one that wasn’t working. We’re not analyzing, feeling guilty, angry or blaming. We begin the business of starting new. We don’t have to re-do, or try to fix what wasn’t working.

What a relief!

The phrase, “make a plan” also invites us to begin to build structure where once there was chaos. We aren’t left in limbo.

A client of mine found this to be a comforting process.

She began to experience a flare at work. There was a deadline and a lot of pressure and this didn’t seem like the best time to take a break or back off from her usual all out performance. But her body was telling her otherwise. She brought the phrase to mind “No worries. We’ll make a plan.”  She took a deep breath. She found she wasn’t swamped with anxiety – instead she felt a gentle purposefulness. Ok – what would a plan be in this situation? She looked at the mass of paperwork and knew it all had to be translated into a spreadsheet. Ok. The plan was to leave early – get her medication working in her system, and go to a less intense environment than her office. Step one. Then she could recline in her favorite chair and do her work from a more comfortable angle. Step two. She realized now instead of feeling angry and stuck and panicked, she had created two steps. It was a small victory but it felt like a big step for her.

We will each have unique worries. But we don’t have to hold them close and nurture them. Instead we can say with a smile, No worries, and see them fly away. If we say it often enough, we may even find we are beginning to believe it! And then, with our ingenuity we make a plan. Step by step.  

Let me know how it goes!