The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, July 07, 2014

Stress and the 30-day

In life, they pay you for how much stress you can take without cracking.  One of the participants in the Challenge mentioned that stress is increasing in his life as he hits his 14th Day.  Some thoughts:

1) 100% predictable that you will hit stress points.  Moving from one level to the next in your life requires energy, and piercing any veil of illusion frees it...and some of that energy will spin you.  The better balanced you are, the easier it is to “roll with it” and in fact you can actually measure your balance or lack thereof by the amount of dizziness or stress you feel.

2) It isn’t stress that hurts you, its “strain”.   Stress is just the amount of pressure you’re under, while “strain” is the degree to which that stress warps you out of true.

3) Psychological stress causes physical effects.  The good news is that physical motion controls psychological stress as well.  The Triad of “Breath, Movement, and Structure” is one way to look at this: if you breathe as if powerful, move as if relaxed and hold your posture as if confident, you will begin to feel that way.   There’s more: your facial expression, your self-talk and the things you say aloud, the things you focus on, ALL influence stress level. How you use your body, what you focus on.  

4) Your “Morning Ritual” branches into the “Ancient Child” (connection with core aliveness and deep values, self-healing) and the “Five Minute Miracle” (five sixty-second `breathing breaks’ during the day).  That means that, ideally, you begin your day by getting in touch with your instincts and values, then take that energy into your day.  You move your body, connect with your belief that today can be better than tomorrow (Heck, sing “Tomorrow” from “Annie” if that works for you!), fill yourself with gratitude, seek that same feeling in connection to your daily and future goals, then reinforce your confidence that you can and should do these things, and have all the ability you need.  Then at least three more times during the day (the ‘Ancient Child’ can be 5MM #1, the “Morning Ritual” #2) you check your breathing.   IF YOU BREATHE AS IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT, YOU BEGIN TO FEEL THAT WAY.

5) Infusing all of this is the Secret Formula: Goals (did you connect with your childhood dreams and deathbed values?) X Faith (do you see that you’ve already accomplished wonderful things?  And have the internal resources to accomplish more?) X Action (do you see what you need to do TODAY to take another step toward your goals?) X Gratitude (are you happy for another day to seek, to strive, to live, to love?).

Can you see how all these things are wrapped together?

6) Have you chosen physical motion that is nurturing, invigorating, and will take you to your destination?  Yoga, Tai Chi, a good calisthenic program, Sun Salutations, Five Tibetans, Joint recovery, FlowFit...the possibilities are almost endless.  TWENTY MINUTES OUT OF EVERY DAY BELONGS TO YOU. If you think not, check to be sure you are taking your Five Minute Miracle.  If you aren’t, and think it is because you lack time, YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF.

7) Separate what you “need” from what you “want.”  OMG, is this important.  Our “wants” are endless.  Our “needs” are relatively simple and sane.  The inability to do this relates to an imbalance of the Child and Adult personalities, and can be addressed with the “Ancient Child”.

Which takes us back to the beginning.   Are you grasping the shape of this?  The way the different pieces fit together?  The redundancy built in?  The infinite uses and applications?  I hope so...this is your life, and you deserve to create one filled with passion and joy, contribution and growth.

Life is not a dress rehearsal.  And you’ll be taking a bow all too soon.



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