Friday, July 29, 2011

Some Thoughts about Stress

"Stress is when your [heart] says NO, but your mouth says YES." 

--Unknown, on a gas station reader board 

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.” 

--Natalie Goldberg 

I have been feeling a little stressed out this week. There is a lot going on in our little corner of the world, most of it good stuff, but still it has left me feeling like I just don't have enough hours in the day to get it all done!

The Universe, in its infinite wisdom, sent me these two quotes this week to help me think about the stress I am feeling. 

The first came from the reader board at our local gas station. Usually their quotes are more "punny" than deep, but this one struck me as somewhat profound and I asked myself, "What am I saying YES to, that I would like to say NO to?"

As I thought about it I realized that I am happy to be doing everything I am doing. It is not WHAT I am doing that is stressing me out, but HOW. I am trying to do everything to other people's expectations as I perceive them and to the standards of my perfectionist self. 

Instead of staying in the moment, taking things as they come and doing the best I can in that moment, I am making lists and laying out plans and creating the future in my head and then trying to live up to the perfect fantasy future I have created as if it were pre-ordained instead of just one possibility. And this is where my stress is coming from.

Thus I am eternally grateful for the second quote, which put me quite neatly in my place: "Nothing is that important. Just lie down.

So I did. For ten minutes. And when I got up I picked up my laptop and did the next thing to the best of my ability in that moment. Thanks for reading it.

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