I stumbled across this list this morning while I was inspecting the internet for leaks. His Holiness the Dalai Lama offers some pretty awesome guidelines for living a fruitful life. What a remarkable man. The more I learn about him, the more I admire him.
So, I’m struggling. I had certain expectations about a couple of professional opportunities that turned up and my hopes were dashed. Like I just knew things were going to work out like I wanted them and, of course, that didn’t happen. So now I sit here licking my wounds, anxious about how to proceed; feeling insecure about my own talents and abilities. This has been tremendously stressful and frankly, a blow to my self-esteem.
Intellectually, I know it is because I am not living in the present moment. I am lamenting the past and worrying about the future. But emotionally, I just want to lie in bed with the covers over my head!
So for my meditation this morning, I used a practice Thich Nhat Hanh mentioned in his book, Living Buddha, Living Christ. It is one of the mindfulness meditations he learned as a novice monk to focus the mind on the beauty of the present moment.
Breathe in – calming
Breathe out – smiling
Breathe in – present moment
Breathe out – wonderful moment
It really helped me clear my mind of negative thoughts and focus on listening to the wisdom of the universe.
I am trusting that things will work out for my highest good. (Hey, that’s one of my favorite affirmations!)
Everyone knows what stress is right? Stress is that thing..that hideous monster..that keeps things from being…well, perfect.
Have a huge presentation at 8 a.m the next morning? Well, stress sneaks in and sabotages your laptop at 9:30 p.m. so you’ll have to type the whole thing over!
Day of the social event of the season? Well, your lovely daughter going to start vomiting all over the place!
Finally splurged on that badass new car? Don’t worry! You’ll get laid off next month!
Ah, stress! You suck.
But what about getting married, getting a promotion or adopting a puppy? Yes, these wonderful, happy events are also stress-provoking. Weird right? I know.
Stress has always been difficult to describe, but like pornography – you know it when you see it..or feel it I guess.
In fact, Dr. Hans Selye, who pioneered stress research during the 1930’s, described it as, “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” So there you have it.
Change + Response = Stress
I know. it’s a really simple equation given the havoc stress causes in our lives. It can’t be this basic, but it is. Acute stress is simply our response to change. This can be a physical, mental or emotional change. It can be positive or negative, actual or perceived. But it is still simply a change.
Now, I’m not a mathematician, but this really is the easiest way to illustrate the power we have over stress in our lives.
Change is given. It is going to happen, and as long as we are alive, we are going to experience change. But we can manage our response to change.
So, is this where the journey to peace begins? Let’s see!
I was born in stress. Literally. I entered the world with the umbilical cord wrapped so tightly around my neck, the capillaries in my eyes burst. And once stress had its hold on me, it didn’t want to let go.
I was an incredibly stressed out kid. From swelling up like a basketball at 6 months (food allergies) to throwing my lunch box at my 3rd-grade teacher, I was always in some level of distress. And of course, this thing called adulting comes with its own issues.
Yet, through it all, I remained a rather happy, optimistic, curious person with the ability to see the world with new eyes every day.
Honestly, it has been my saving grace.
So What’s Going on Here
I have tried a variety of healthy stress management techniques: meditation, yoga, mindfulness, aromatherapy, pranayama breathing, nutritional supplements and many others. They provided some relief, yet there was always something missing.
That missing piece was knowledge. I *used * these techniques, but I never really believed I could escape the nefarious clutches of stress.
Until I started to understand stress objectively as part of cause & effect relationship. (No evil intent at all!)
UnStress My Life
So here we are, exploring my relationship with stress and changing it for the better. I will be revisiting the stress management techniques mentioned above and many more to provide basic tutorials on each as well as showing myself using them in times of distress.
Because everyone knows it is a much more challenging to use these techniques when you feel like running around screaming!
Most of all, I want to have a great time learning about myself, others and contributing to universal harmony.
I read somewhere that January is really a practice month and that the year officially starts in February. So, since January is almost over…yeah, I’m going with that.
It was suggested that I make 2016 my year of discipline — to bring to fruition the various talents, goals, and projects that have been incubating in my head. I accept.
While it may seem like I’m off to a late start, I’m not. I had some mental sorting to do. But through this process, I discovered that writing will help get it out of my head and make it easier to track my *actual* progress. So I write.
Discipline vs. Stress
I’ve always viewed stress as an external force. But I am learning that much of what I consider “stress” in very much within my control. It depends very much on my input/output.
Mental & Spiritual– People tend to think negatively, so I’ve started a program of meditation and affirmations. Also, I am more conscience of what I send out into the universe. It listens and responds in-kind.
Physical – I’m changing what I eat. If it makes me feel crappy, it’s off the menu! I’ve also reignited my passion for yoga. I feel stronger every day!!
Financial – Money has always been a difficult subject for me, but I am determined to work passed this issue using all the tools at my disposal.
So there you have it. I don’t expect to have it all figured out by December, but I will make significant strides. And of course, I will have a lot of fun along the way!!