Recently I completed some new workshop engagements in addition to my coaching and week-long programs. I am very grateful for the opportunity to stretch and learn but am also acutely aware of the stress I am feeling taking on this new work.
Indeed, I am feeling more stress than I care to admit to. Too often I find myself driven by feelings of "I don't know enough, not prepared enough, don't have enough time, don't have the right answers to their problems?" Translation? "I am not enough; I feel inadequate, anxious, afraid; I won't be able to do it right." (Although, a part of me knows with certainty I'll do just fine!)
It is interesting how we suffer the same feelings when we're not working? "not feeling good enough, feeling a lack of the skills, knowledge, experience, answers needed to career change." Unemployed or working; money or lack thereof; a relationship or not; we must somehow come to peace with this old ghost that so regularly haunts most of us. Louise Haye, author and internationally acclaimed healer proclaims, "I am not good enough, I am not worthy" is at the core of all humanity.
Rather than continually buy into the idea that the right job, education, experience, skills, relationship, income will make us feel OK; instead, it is helpful to acknowledge the feelings under these thoughts. If we can feel and acknowledge our fear, inadequacy, unworthiness, we can begin to see all the different ways we want to run from it; all the different things we grasp at to make us feel better.
Grasping at externals to allay our fears only drives us further and faster from our truth. Herein, are a few strategies that have helped me manage my stress and inadequacies lately.
Visit the Secret Garden
I discovered life-giving cues within "The Secret Garden." Yes, the one you read as a child by "Frances Hodgson Burnett." Recently I reread this delightful book and highly recommend it to you. You won't be disappointed.
Each night, I happily informed my family I was going to bed early, and slipped into to my "Secret Garden." Pressures, anxieties, fears of the day (and future) disappeared as I pushed aside the long, sweeping ivy covering the secret door and entered that hidden haven of peace, sweet fragrance and green growing things.
Children, who had been crippled physically, mentally and emotionally by a lack of love, constant negativity, and having everything their own way, slowly but surely became healed within the secret garden. The fresh air; working in the dirt; having a place of safety and beauty; learning to love all living things; and wonderful positive camaraderie caused the children to bloom as surely as the crocuses in springtime.
Couldn't we all do with our own "Secret Garden?" Finding, tending, minding, our own "Secret Garden" can give us solace and healing too. As they say in the "Secret Garden," "Where we tend roses; thistles cannot grow."
Even if we do not own a piece of dirt we can all create our own Secret Garden. How do we find the hidden key and secret door? We find the "buried" key to our garden by returning to our breath. One breath at a time we find our way into that haven of peace and safety within each of us.
Stay On YOur Knees
Each breath brings us back into the present moment. Being Wholly Present is being in the Holy Presence. We can take this even further by literally getting down on our knees to pray in yet, more earnestness.
I've been praying on my knees for "grace and ease" in my life and work lately. It seems to me my earnest prayers are always answered (though perhaps not how I imagined). My anxious burdens are lifted (at least for a time!) No doubt we would be best off just staying on our knees! I am not calling for religious converts here but rather suggesting simple, life-giving practices.
Another wonderful technique that continues to help me alleviate stress and fear is to listen to Bach. Or Mozart. Or Vivaldi. Try any classical music that suits you.
This timeless music shifts us into a different part of our brain and can ease us emotionally as well. Put on your favorite classical music and really bring all of your awareness to listening to the notes, instruments, melodies. See if you don't feel refreshed, lighter, more at peace.
Oh yes, and remember to trust and breathe!
Teresa Proudlove has been inspiring, supporting, and guiding over 3000 people upon their career and life work path for over fourteen years - with compassion and heart. Teresa's workshops and writing, offer a deeper understanding and respect for ourselves, for others, and for our lifework path. This entrepreneurial woman also owned and successfully operated two women's retail boutiques for ten years. For over twelve years, Teresa was a well-read newspaper columnist. Visit Teresa at http://www.yourlifework.com; listen to your inner guidance and navigate through life and work with more meaning, acceptance and peace.