THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The worries that matter

 By Fred Cavaiani

The elections are over.  What a relief! No more advertisements.  Negative television commercials are gone.  During elections candidates are presented to us as the solutions to our country’s problems. It takes many years of living to finally understand that we are all human beings with our faults and virtues.  I no longer get excited by candidates running for office.  Yes, I vote, but I cannot get excited by political candidates anymore.  I also do not get excited or worried by the so called philosophies of our political parties.  They have become out of the domain of my worry meter.

What worries me today is not politics, presidents or propaganda. After an election each of these categories of life are out of my control.  I have given up worrying about what is said on CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, and the NEWSPAPERS.  So much is simply a matter of opinion which is presented as a fact of life.  Worrying about opinions creates unnecessary tensions.  I don’t think I have ever changed someone else’s opinion arguing politics.  And if I have changed someone’s opinion I don’t think it was a joyful or peaceful experience for the other person or for me.

There are few worries in life that hold much importance.  Over the years I am becoming more convinced that the worries that are important in investing my psychological and spiritual energy are few and very simple.   These worries are 1) Compassion, 2) Attentiveness, 3) Meditation, 4) The Present Moment. In short, the four ‘worries’ can be summarized in the world CAMP.

Compassion toward everyone opens my heart to love and wisdom.  Attentiveness helps me to focus on the people around me with the compassion that is within me and create an atmosphere for a positive connection with others and with myself.  Meditation allows me to deepen my connection with God and opens me up to the unfinished business and emotional wounds within me that need to be embraced.  The Present Moment is the only moment worthy of investing my energy. It is where I become most fully alive.  Everything else is secondary. When I focus on this present moment with an open heart and mind, this present moment opens up to me.  When my heart stays compassionate, tension leaves me and the people around me are challenged to disarm their own personal selves.   Taking a copious amount of time each day for silence and meditation gives me an opportunity to discover so much wisdom in each moment.  Each of us only has the moment at hand to discover peace and joy in life.

It is not what is happening around me that will disturb my tranquility.  It is not who is in control of Congress or who the President might be.  It is not whether taxes are raised or not raised.  It is not whether we have gun control or no gun control.  And it is not if we should raise the minimum wage or not.  The results are not important. But what is important is that I am living by my deepest convictions in the present moment with compassion, attentiveness, a depth of silence and a realization of totally embracing this moment.  I will then make a wise commitment to this present moment and put proper energy into my convictions without losing my equilibrium over the outcome.

Most of the tension in life comes from worrying over outcomes over which we have no control. But we do have control over how we bring compassion, attentiveness, and reflection to the present moment in life.

Each time I am with another person or a group of people I can easily become distracted by looking at my phone, texting someone, looking at Facebook, checking my emails.  I have at this time given up embracing the present moment and being attentive to the people around me.  It is so easy to do this.  I can stay in my own little world instead of embracing the world around me which is surrounded by others who need my attentiveness.

Today it is very easy to stay in our heads, inside of our phones, or inside the television sets around us when another person is crying out for attentiveness. I can stay worrying about so many things that I have absolutely no control over and take myself out of the present moment.  It can be so familiar to stay resentful or angry at someone else and then take myself away from compassion and attentiveness to the moment at hand.   I was observing a friend of our family interacting with our daughter’s four little daughters. Their ages are from one to eight years old. This lady had the ability to relate to each one at their own level as she paid close attention to what each child was saying and doing. I was so inspired by her absolute attentiveness to each child and these four granddaughters responded to her with such receptivity and calmness. They felt so connected to her.  She certainly practiced CAMP.  Her peaceful presence sent out to all of us a compassionate and focused presence on the present moment and the people around her. It was a joyful experience to watch her interact with each child.

If we could all compassionately and attentively embrace one another and have this grounded in wise reflection and a total embrace of the moment upon us, we would send out an energy into this world that would eventually disarm the most hardened hearts, the most resentful people and the most bitter nations.  It all begins now.

I shall make the effort to focus on this very moment.  I will bring compassion to this moment.  I will pay attention to those around me.  This day I will make sure I take time to reflect, be quiet and receptive to the Presence of God around me.  And I will realize at this very moment that this moment is all I have. These will be my worries.  Such glorious worries.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychologist with a private practice in Troy.  He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. Fred serves on the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday.  He can be reached at 248-362-3340.  His e-mail address is: and his website is


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