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Reacting, Relating And Responding To Stress
“When something is falling apart sometimes it’s for the best so that the new that you have prayed for has room to enter your life.” -Doreen Virtue
Just when you thought you had everything in place as planned, along comes a major change in your life such as, loss of a job, a relationship breakup, loss of a loved one, or responsibility as caregiver of a parent or child is thrust upon you. Of course, these kinds of changes are absolutely frightening and we all go through them. Not to mention the all to frequent unexpected traffic jams, or slow-moving lines at checkout stands, or even changes that you know are coming such as, Daylight Savings Time, can be stress producing events. What we can say about change is whether we’re paying attention or not, it is always happening.
The question I am inviting us to look at is, how do you navigate through these moments that suck in your life? Do you stress, worry, or become anxious? Do you lose YOU? Meaning do you lose your sense of self? Someone has said, “It doesn’t matter whether the glass is half full or half empty…YOU are the one pouring the water.” In other words, it’s your reaction or response to change that determines your experience.
As we know, the basic categories of response to distress are fight, flight, and freeze. The good news is, instead of wasting energy by catastrophizing which tends to be the typical initial response, there are strategies that can help reduce and calm you down in all phases of stressful circumstances. As I shared in part 1 of this post, my husband, Pres, and I found that our experience of major loss and what we had perceived as chaos, turned out to be an opportunity for a quantum leap of growth and spiritual understanding.
Sweet Surrender And Acceptance
the 1989 Loma Prieta 6.9 earthquake occurred wiping out most of our remaining furnishings. At this point we stopped desperately trying to hold on to what we had envisioned as the path to serving in the ministry. I surrendered my blame, shame and circumstances and in the spirit of acceptance we released ourselves and our plans to our Creator. We mentally and emotionally moved into the energetic space of becoming unattached to the outcome, affirming and trusting that the highest and best good would be expressed in our lives.
From Frazzled To Refreshed
Ahhh! Even though not much had changed outwardly, it felt like a heavy burden had been lifted off my heart and shoulders. The sense of freedom and experience of deep inner peace empowered us to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Even though technically we were homeless, our focus on loss shifted to what we had gained…peace of mind and the awareness that we still had family and each other. Gradually, we began to see that our lives had been shaken, redirected and relocated to the place on our life path where we were meant to be physically, mentally and spiritually. The amazing part of this story is, we eventually were able to fulfill the desires of our heart to serve full-time in the ministry, albeit without the strain and struggle of our previous efforts. (Details to be shared in another post)
I love the phrase “Peace is our home address,” that Martha Beck, PhD, offers. She continues to say, “All prayers are answered, but you have
to go home (stillness, peace) to receive them. They can’t be delivered in anxiety, worry, fear, and suffering.” Wow! Embracing Byron Katie’s position that all suffering is resisting what is, gives impetus to finding other ways of dealing with the inevitable changes that we face in life. Through the spiritual practices of meditation, positive declarations, affirmations, humor, shifting your focus and listening to and more deeply trusting your inner guidance, you begin to see what you might have labeled as chaos, actually containing a precious gift.
Developing Resilience In Times of Change
Lighten Up. Get proper sleep and rest. Selectively view media programs. Eat healthily and exercise. Regularly deep breathe. Listen to uplifting music. Enjoy nature. Develop a sense of humor and learn to laugh.
Meditate. Develop and/or deepen meditation as a practice.The word resilience contains the letters of silence. Scripture encourages us to be still and know God. Meditation allows you to access the still place of your Source within and gives you the opportunity to nurture the unacknowledged and unloved aspects of yourself. It opens you to your Christ Self and sharpens your intuition. It has been said, If you don’t go within, you go without.
Practice Gratitude. Write down at least 5 things daily for which you are grateful. Practice managing the thoughts of scarcity and lack by being thankful for all that you have. When you express gratitude for what you have, you are opening the door to receive more good. Pay attention. Journal on the evidences of good that begin showing up.
Become the Source. Change your focus. Find someone who has a need and give toward what is needed without expectation of return from them. Watch your overall happiness factor dramatically go up as your focus shifts from what you don’t have to feelings of generosity.
Rethink Your Beliefs. Look closely at the beliefs that may be holding you back (Click on Menu above – Life Changing Video – Carlton Pearson’s Rethinking Beliefs ). Clear your mind-field of fear and judgment and replace with life affirming beliefs of hope, positivity and possibility. Trust the process.
Embrace and Bless Your Situation. Observe your self talk. Avoid labels like, loser, and failure. Speak to the God power that is within you and acknowledge your divinity. Embrace and love yourself. Reclaim who YOU truly are. Bless those who appear to be prospering.
Trust Your Inner Guidance. Remember you are on a journey and each circumstance initiates an occasion to discover an inner hidden treasure. What may look like breakdown is an opportunity for a breakthrough to something greater that is seeking to emerge as you.
Excerpts of the 23rd Psalm from Walter Starke’s book “It’s All God” offer an illuminating version for navigating through chaos and stress. I trust you will find it useful in anchoring your remembrance that right where you are, God is, and this too shall pass.
“The Lord “is now my Shepherd, so even in chaos I will not want for anything. I have been created to lie down in green pastures…and led to a stillness.” Spirit restores my soul [and illuminates my consciousness with understanding]. It leads me in the right direction because God is the only power. I will fear no evil because I can lean on the Spirit, and It prepares a table before me in the presence of fear and doubt and I will live forever in the house of Spirit [stillness, peace].” Amen. (bracketed words added) (Click on Menu above – Life Changing Video to View Starke’s Made In God’s Image)
Hmmm! I guess it is true that we teach what we want to learn. During the course of writing this 2nd post on Embracing Moments That Suck, my toilet overflowed and flooded the bathroom and part of the bedroom which will require all of the furniture to be moved out.This is week three since the incident occurred, and It looks like it’s going to take several more weeks to replace the tile and carpet. Except for some occasional episodes of stress, so far my housemate and I have been doing pretty good navigating through this disruption. Although it’s another one of those opportunities to walk my talk, I notice I’m sleeping a lot. 🙂 I’ll update you on how well I managed my stress levels when the work is completed.
As always, in this posts there are, videos, affirmations, and meditations to support you on your journey to empowerment. (Click on your expand button to access the menu) Meanwhile, I would love to read your comments on how you manage and embrace those low points in your life when things don’t go as planned.
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