Finding Peace When You Feel Scared About What Might Happen



Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos

I was in shock for about 10 minutes after hearing the news, afraid while lying on the procedure table, and relieved when it was over.

Six months ago I had a mammogram. My checkup was supposed to be for a general mammogram—the one you get when you turn 40 years old—but when I got there and told the technician that two days ago I had discovered a small bump in my right breast, the prescription was changed to a diagnostic one.

After some time waiting, the doctor came back and said that the small bump in my right breast was benign, but she had found calcifications in my left breast, and that another series of mammograms would be needed in six months.

Earlier this month I went for my six-month follow-up. After several uncomfortable mammograms, I was told that I would need to have a biopsy (sampling of tissue removed) to determine whether the calcifications were benign.

It turns out that in 20-30 percent of the population, calcifications are an indication of cancer.

After the initial shock wore off, I decided I would get a burrito to eat and not worry about it. I knew that this was an opportunity to grow and I was determined not to miss it.

Instead of using the two weeks before my biopsy as time to worry, I chose peace and serenity. I spent the time in reflection while de-cluttering my home and focusing on gratitude.

I was at ease in the space of not knowing whether the calcifications were benign.

I got the biopsy on November 19th. Two days later, at 12:00pm (the day before Thanksgiving), I received a call with the results of a negative report. Not only was I ecstatic about the results, I was also pleased with how I handled the uncertainty of the whole ordeal.

What this experience taught me was:

Limbo is not a bad place.

Instead of getting yourself all charged up about how a situation may or may not turn out, get comfortable in the space of not knowing. If you are someone who likes to know or control everything, this may be difficult to do—which is perfect. You now have an opportunity to see how good you can become at handling uncertainty.

Try not to worry.

Worrying is useless. It serves absolutely no purpose. The only time you can make a difference in your life is now. The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. Don’t use your present time worrying about things you can’t control.

Make no mistake, planning is not worrying. Planning is when you lay down the steps needed to create a desired future. Worrying is when you stress out about something that has happened or hasn’t happened yet.

Instead of worrying, meditate, practice gratitude, become still, listen to your soul, and surround yourself with love.

Nothing is permanent.

Nothing is permanent! Days become nights, the fall becomes the winter, babies are born, elders pass away, and wounds heal.

Whether you are sick, have a broken heart, or are just not in life where you want to be, know that whatever your predicament is, it will pass. Your life is not falling apart; it is falling into place. Your job is to take the pieces and put them together in a way that fulfills the highest expression of yourself.

It is okay to be afraid.

It doesn’t mean that you are weak. It takes a strong person to admit their fear. Sometimes acknowledging your fear can help you move past it enough to take the next step in your process, whatever that may be.

Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to go back to school. Maybe you want to confront someone. Maybe you want to forgive them. Say “I’m afraid” and then get about the business of creating the life you want.

Surround yourself with love.

Let those close to you know what is going on in your life and how you feel about it. There is no need to carry the weight of a challenge on your own. Sometimes hearing others talk can shed light on what would otherwise be a bleak situation.

Take care of yourself.

Rest when you need to. Cry when you need to. Talk when you need to. Pray when you need to. And laugh when you need to.

You are always going to be okay.

As long as you know that you are more than the stuff you own, more than what you think, more than the physical body you reside in, you are going to be okay, whether the predicament ends in the way that you want it to or not.

Photo by slopjop

About Lisa H.

Lisa H. is mother, healthy living fanatic and practicer of all things happy. With her blog, Getting to Zen, she hopes to inspire you to feel good, eat good and move good. You can find Lisa doling out practical tips to improve your life from the inside out on her blog and on Facebook. Don't forget to sign up for Lisa's free eCourse, The Passion Habit to ignite your fire within and start doing what you love.

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • hi Lisa – I think once we learn that nothing is permanent and we come to accept, embrace change, life becomes so much more peaceful. Most of the time, we feel anxious or stressed out because the current situation might change for the worse. If we can trust our life and circumstances to change and know it will be fine, we will be able to live with much greater peace of mind. Most of us don’t think change is good. And believe we should maintain permanency in our lives. But as I’ve found out permanency doesn’t allow for growth. Change does.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and your story.

  • Konchoc Rangdrol

    Hi Lisa I love your blog really give me a lot inspiration 🙂

  • Lisa, thank you for this article. You are a very brave person. Despite the situation you were placed in, you managed to find the courage to look past it and into something much more important: living in the moment and being grateful for what you have now.

  • Victoria

    Talk about timely! I forwarded this to several friends; we are all in a huge state of change right now, and this was a very comforting reminder of the power of letting go. Thank you so much.

  • ek

    yes! this was exactly what I needed to see this morning. thank you!

  • Catherine

    Thank you so much – I needed this today. Released some pent up feelings for me.

  • Meghan

    Thank you, perfect timing!

  • So perfect. So timely. So exactly what I needed.

  • Thank you Lisa, like for many people, this was a much needed reminder today. 🙂

  • Anoifnworb

    This was great to read and very timely. Thank you. As a born worrier all my life I am finally learning to live in the moment and it feels so much easier.

  • Lisa H.

    Thank you for stopping by. It is funny how just what we need comes along when we need it. I too used to be a worrier, but as I have gotten older, value time more. Living in the moment is always easier. When we are living in either the past or future, we are at odds with ourself. Again, thanks for the visit. Have a great rest of the day.
    Lisah H.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Arthur. Thank you for your kind words. It seems like time is speeding up and I have spent so much of it in the past worrying. It feels like i am just in a phase of my life that I can’t be bothered wiht it. Glad I could give the reminder. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Alec,
    Thanks for the visit. Glad it was so timely for you. Like I said above, it is funny how what we need, comes when we need it. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Meghan,
    Thanks for stopping by. Have a great rest of the day or evening. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Catherine,
    Thanks for stopping by. Glad it helped. I know how crazy pent up feelings can make a person feel. Glad it gave you a release. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    No problem. Glad it helped. It was very therapeutic for me to write. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you so much! That is the same way that I feel right now. One of my favorite sayings by Wayne Dyer is that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Thank you so much. It is funny the way that works. When you are facing news like I might have received. The important things become crystal clear.

  • Lisa H.

    Thanks for stopping by! Glad you were inspired. Reading comments like yours inpire me.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Vishnu,

    Well said! Some of my most favorite teachers on acceptance and impermanance are Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. It is so true that nothing that is alive, lasts forever. What we see today, will not be here 150 years from now. I love whatyou said about feeling anxious or stressed out because we worry that the current situation might change for the worse. Interestingly we don’t get anxious because it will change for the better. You have given me a lot to think about.
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your wisdom. 🙂

  • ariellabaston

    Oh neat! I’ve explored this! I love your perspective and helpful ideas!

    I deeply appreciate that your article gives me a boost about how I deal with long-term cloudy-date goals. I don’t think I’ve ever had an opportunity to compare notes on this. This is a beautiful summary, “Your job is to take the pieces and put them together in a way that fulfills the highest expression of yourself.” Exactly. I feel so much better and life seems to sing all the louder when I do EXACTLY that! I can never know when things will happen exactly, but I can sure put pieces together and express myself in the process. =D

  • Sedona Cole

    Wow!! What a beautiful post, and I’m so glad for your result!!! The way you handled your process was filled with grace, and character. What a wonderful role model. It seems that a move away from ‘reactive’ thinking to ‘proactive, creative consciousness’ is starting to become more and more common. But to do so under such circumstances is divine! Thank-you for sharing your story.

  • Lisa, I loved it! Especially the line…”get comfortable in the space of not knowing.” What a great reminder, and what I difficult thing for me to practice. I really enjoyed the article. Thank you!

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Lacy. Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. I knew there was a lesson to learn from this experience and I didn’t want to miss it. The way I saw it, was that I could go crazy with anxiety and worry, or I go within, connect to who I was without my body (my soul), and live from that place.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Sedona,
    Thank you! It was an interesting experience for sure! Yes, the consciousness of the world is definitely shifting and shifting at a rapid pace. I think that people are really starting to get that happiness, contentment and joy all come from within. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Thank you. Glad it helped. Your comment reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes by Wayne Dyer: When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” 🙂

  • MichiganKim

    Lisa, thanks for this wonderful post. I especially liked this: “Your life is not falling apart; it is falling into place. Your job is to take the pieces and put them together in a way that fulfills the highest expression of yourself.” As someone facing some worrisome things right now, I’ve been getting inklings of something crystallizing for me, almost like my biggest worries may direct me to my life’s purpose (finally!). You’ve given me much to think about — thank you.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Kim,

    You’re welcome! This post just poured out of me. I could feel deeply that it was a story I needed to tell.

    Absolutely! After the storm, comes the rainbow. 🙂

    I am going to leave you with a quote from Elizabeth Lesser’s book, Broken Open:

    ” When we have been through a trial and survived it—or better still, transformed its terrors into revelations—then we begin to approach other adversities with a different attitude. Change and loss may still knock us off the horse, but soon we are back in the saddle, stronger and wiser than ever. As life progresses, and we continue to transform and refine our consciousness, we gain more insight and humility, greater strength of character, and deeper faith in the meaningfulness of life.”

    Keep me posted.

    Have a great rest of the week/weekend.

  • Liz Roberts

    I really enjoyed your post Lisa! Worrying can be all-consuming and it’s something I continue work on overcoming, which is indeed happening in many ways, even if only small ways at times. And like you said “… Days become nights, the fall becomes the winter …” Thanks for your inspiration, and blessings on the test results! I can understand how that must have been at the time having experienced a very similar situation – so grateful to have the all clear as well!!! Sending much light and love your way, Liz

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Liz,

    Thank you. Interestingly, I just posted the following quote by Van Wilder on my Facebook page: “Worrying is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.”

    Thank you for the light and love. 🙂 Happy for your results too!

  • I love this and it was exactly what I needed in this moment. Thank you!!

  • lance

    Thank you.

  • I love when I check out this site, and there is an article that is exactly what I need to hear. Thank you.

  • David Doolin

    Lisa, this really is inspiring, on many different levels. Someone close to me had a profoundly different experience in this arena, and her actions have revealed to me that she is one of the bravest people I know. It’s adversity where we get our greatest opportunities to shine.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Jenni,
    Thanks for stopping by. Glad it helped. It is interesting how the universe always gives us exactly what we need when we need it. 🙂

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Lance,

    Your comment reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes by Eckhart Tolle “if the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
    Thank you for the visit

  • Lisa H.

    Hi Carl,
    Glad you stopped by and it was what you needed to hear. So often I will come across an article, situation or person who is exactly what I need. I am so apprecitive to Lori for allowing me to share my story.

  • Lisa H.

    Hi David,
    Thank you. Sorry to hear about your loved-one. It is situations like these that really remind us how quickly our world can change.

  • Rajiv Sahay

    Good writing and inspiring too…..Victory is ahead of fear, is proved.

  • Skdicke

    This post has literally been a huge part of my daily afformations this week. I can not thank you enough.

  • Mia

    You have no idea how much I needed this. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us <3 May you continue to live a blessed and fulfiling life.

  • smilla

    such an encouraging post. i needed it so badly as i am going through stuff on myself

  • set

    This is amazing great job! It really lifted my spirits….you are absolutely right that you can choose peace & serenity…that’s what I’m trying my best to do.

  • kes


  • Chanda

    I was really scared today and controlling things is part of my job at work. well it is my job. I have done ok but a date is closing in, and I thought “well see what others do” and when I saw this (google search) lead to Tiny Buddha, I knew it would be right and after reading it, was very grateful and thankful for the author and the insights.
    thank you

  • Dan Copping

    Ha, I know change can be an opportunity for growth but why would I want to grow? It’s painful and brings us closer to death. I feel a tiny bit scared at the moment and only about going to the dentist – what a coward! (I’m 31). I was reading earlier about people who used to have their legs sawn off before anaesthetic was invented and that could happen, although it’s unlikely to any one of us if something collapsed on us and a doctor had to get us out fast. There are so many terrible things in the world. Cancer, heart problems, the list is long. I find that even existing itself can be quite anxiety-inducing. I might try meditating later as I’ve found it calming in the past. I read your post. It seems noble that you’re focussed on turning scared feelings into peaceful feelings. I think generally people do long for peace, even if they don’t realise it. I guess humans are capable of living through some serious pain as many of us do or will and those that don’t survive are at least released from it. My focus is a little negative today but it’s quite possible, even likely that it’ll improve in time. After all, I have a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes I like to watch Dalai Llama’s videos on YouTube. I suppose feeling moderate fear might sometimes be beneficial at a later time as it loosens up our emotional muscles. Not sure if there’s any truth in that. Peace guys.

  • Jesson Lau

    Why book does u read