Thursday, March 28, 2013

Challenges and Stress

I have a new priority: learning to manage stress so that I can feel better.  This is more important to me than achievement or appearance.

I just want to feel peaceful in my heart, and relaxed.  This is how I want to live.

There is one simple solution to this, which is release.  Letting go is the answer.  But I don't remember to do this until my head is spinning out of control and I'm faced with the consequences of emotional disturbance and recovery.  It's a cycle for me.  There's no flat water to float along effortlessly.  Sometimes I have to face the rapids.

Do you ever do this:  when thinking of the weeks ahead, fondly imagine how relaxing it will be to enjoy days of brighter sunlight, long hikes or a fast trail run in the woods followed by a simple meal and a good book?  Days of enjoying the energy of family and evenings snuggled up on the couch?  Perhaps I will look back on my life and remember that I did take time to do all of those satisfying, rewarding things that brought me peace and comfort.  Then again, maybe those memories will get buried under the more exciting times, and I'll remember the highlights of the stressful experience and forget the anxiety.  Perhaps a little stress and excitement is good for a person, but in getting to know myself and my patterns, I realize that I'm not really managing stress very effectively.  It comes out all wrong. More often than I'm willing to admit, it happens that someone who I love either feels neglected or hurt.

I know that I am capable of taking on big challenges, but at what cost?

Recently I accepted a large order for another school musical.  The list of items is staring back at me on a bright yellow paper.  I have three weeks.  It is big.

Three intense weeks.

In my head I am practicing intention, visualizing the project completed on schedule.  This is so important, probably the most important thing I do when I need to finish a big project.  I look at the end result in my mind, every single day.  I see it all laid out in entirety, and know with certainty that it will be achieved.  But what I often forget to do is to visualize myself working and managing life and family in a peaceful manner while I'm working.  I forget to imagine how I will work through distractions and problems and every single detour that crops up.  Navigation is not my strongest skill.   Whenever I begin a project, the project is on my mind all the time, until it's done and I'm released.  When I've completed a set of ten ears, my brain keeps saying, "40 more to go!"

It never lets me rest.

So I look driven.  I act driven.  People sometimes feel like they are in my way.

It's all fear.  This stress is all about those fears "what if I don't have enough time, money, energy, strength...patience."

Maybe I should turn down the work and just go on doing what I was thinking of doing this month, spring cleaning, fitness training, schooling, reading, writing, sitting in my swing chair.

Then again, maybe this project won't be as difficult or as stressful as I'm imagining it to be. Because this time I have more experience and a child who is much older than when I started out in business.

I will probably be absent here for a little while, until I get to a breathing point once again!

I'm curious to know what methods you use to manage stress in your life.  What has worked best when you have a growing list and things just keep popping up?  I'm heading into some rapids and wishing for a glassy lake of calm.

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