When I pay attention, I clearly see the arresting ways God works in my life. Often people I meet in my programs (or elsewhere) give me such profound, relevant messages I know the hand of God is at work and it is to my peril to ignore such directives. Two such recent encounters helped release me from the bondage of undue stress.
In a recent workshop I facilitated I spoke with one woman at the day's end who looked sorely overwhelmed. As we spoke she began listing all she had to do today; all she had accomplished yesterday; and the endless list still needing to be done.
As I gently queried this bright, enthused woman she began to see she was doing too much. What really had to be done today? After a very full, all-day workshop could she just go home and give herself some down time and trust she'd accomplish what really needed to be done in good time? My parting words to her that night were "Easy does it."
As she left, I saw the gift she had given me. Hadn't I just been feeling overwhelmed with new work I had taken on, plus a host of other life decisions all seeming to demand my attention NOW?
What Really Needs to be Done Today?
Like this woman, I too was doing more in one day than necessary plus, worrying about all the future tasks to be done. As Jesus admonished us in the Beatitudes "Do not borrow trouble from tomorrow..."
If you are feeling pressured, overwhelmed and stressed ? it is time to stop and ask, "What really needs to be done today?" Also, "How much energy am I wasting worrying about the future?" We need to allow what we have done to be enough and to trust we have the time we need.
Unmanaged Stress Kills
Another client not long ago drove home the importance of managing stress in our lives. I approached this person one day after the program as he seemed withdrawn and resistant.
Sadly, this remarkably gifted man had lost all confidence in his talents to pursue a possible dream in design (although others remarked on the genius he'd applied to his own home). Near tears, he also revealed how he had nearly died from a chronic debilitating disease caused by extreme stress.
With chilling clarity, this man's demise and hopelessness showed me the dangers of eroding oneself with excessive worry, stress and self-doubt (which as humans we all slip into from time to time.) Loudly, this message spoke to me of the importance of managing stress, giving ourselves much needed breaks, trusting in the timing of things, and being on our own side.
Pressuring ourselves to do more or worrying about what must be done does not alleviate the underlying feelings of inadequacy and fear. Rather than pushing ourselves to do more or allowing negative self-talk to erode us can we instead sit a bit with ourselves?
Sit a Bit
This can be a challenge because often it is exactly these scary feelings and thoughts we are trying to escape! Try sitting and breathing and accepting this wholly human condition. Let us give our precious selves some kindness and compassion when these driven, crazy-making moments arise.
Breathing? Letting go? Trusting in a perfect timing?
As we sit with ourselves we need to do so without expectations. We don't have to get it right or achieve some special state. We simply practice kindness toward ourselves and acknowledge our uncomfortable or painful feelings.
Herein, old habits begin to dissolve of their own accord. Also, from this place we can more clearly make decision about what our true priorities are and put first things first.
In an interview with Mahatma Ghandi; Ghandi said he meditated two hours each day. The interviewer asked, "What do you do when you are too busy to meditate?" Gandhi replied, "Mediate four hours a day." Clearly, taking the time to sit with ourselves is a priority especially when we are far too busy or stressed to do so!
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.