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By Justine Buckley
I had a beautiful piece planned for this newsletter about being curious. However... a morning of cleaning up dog vomit off the carpet, organising four kids on school holidays, ringing the insurance company after my car was backed into and a million other incidents to irritate and stress me out all happened in the last few hours before sitting down to write just now. Oh... and I've also got a time limit of two hours to complete this piece (feel the pressure amping up?)
Familiar picture? I'm talking about experiencing agitation... rushing... emotions threatening to overwhelm... thoughts spiraling out of control... feeling time pressured...
Let me sum up and call all this going on as STRESS or SUFFERING.
How does this picture usually end for you? I know how it usually ends for me! It is so easy to get totally swept away and become a 'stress princess' (as my kids call it, also known as a meltdown). Why? For the simple reason that we rarely practice stopping and noticing that we are involved in making choice after choice. Doko talks wonderfully about this in his courses. He refers to these moments of choice as being at a crossroad. We can make a choice that leads to more stress... or one that leads to ending that stress.
Surprisingly, we can escalate or de-escalate quite rapidly, though it may not appear like this is possible. Take my morning's example... I could literally feel stress building internally. It was rising like a skyscraper getting bigger and taller and blocking out the sun so that it was hard to see any light over its shoulder. My world was becoming 'skyscraper stress'. This is a crossroad. Do I Panic? Rush? Get angry at the world because a skyscraper is blocking the sun?
Thankfully, I made a good choice. I just sat down on some metaphorical grass by my metaphorical skyscraper. This is stopping, stopping EVERYTHING - doing nothing but sitting and meeting the facts of our present experience. In my case, it was acknowledging and accepting stress princess and her stress skyscraper.
How did this help? As I sat down and fully acknowledged and accepted the state I was in, the skyscraper tumbled down all by itself. It actually wasn't as substantial and solid as it appeared to be. And there was the sun! It was there all along. With stopping comes awareness and with awareness comes the power to choose. No awareness, no choice. With awareness, things change naturally.
So try sitting down and acknowledging stress is present next time your stress princess is heading for a meltdown. Awareness and choice won't be as far away as you thought.
Lots of love