Many of us are focusing on the tremendous relief it’ll be when the financial dam breaks and abundance begins to flow, even if it may only be a relative trickle in the beginning.
But for some people – financial wayshowers; that is, lightworkers who’ve agreed to work in the abundance chain – it’ll be a time of tremendous stress. For their sakes, I’d like to look a little more closely at stress. This is a conversation, a huddle with lightworker leaders.
In my view, stress arises when we enter a zone that transcends a simple preference, such as “I’d rather have A happen than B.” Stress arises when we enter an area where our need is important, urgent, or an emergency.
Stress arises when an outcome looms that seems to promise catastrophic results in an important area for us or our important others.
What we say at a time like that usually begins with something like “Oh, my God.” (I left my backpack on the bus. I just lost a bundle of money. I forgot my appointment.)
When stress hits, it manifests in whatever emotional system is weakest.
For me, that’s my frustration/anger complex. For others, stress may cause them to become childlike – clingy and dependent when they think they’re going to get what they want and angry and accusatory when they think they’re not. There are probably other ways people react to stress.
What I need to remind myself of first is that, when stress goes up, awareness goes down, and vice versa. Awareness increases and decreases inversely proportional to stress. That includes memory, vocabulary, discernment, etc.
The body tightens up. We go into survival mode. We turn on the auto-pilot. In the worst cases, like in a fire, someone could scream our name at us and we might not hear.
When I once found myself in a fire in a planetarium, a man was shouting at me from perhaps six feet away and I didn’t hear him. It was as if I awoke to him shouting at me.
In the face of stress, we become a stimulus-response machine, lacking discrimination and forgetting all that we’ve learned on how to handle the situation.
We feel ourselves only able to go forward. We have no reverse and no brakes.
It’s stress itself that has to be addressed, not the various elements and factors of the situation that are unique.
How do we break the self-perpetuating stress cycle?
One sneaky way to break the cycle is to break the problem down into as many discrete steps as possible, priorizing them, and then taking things one step at a time. Stress thrives on simplistic appraisals, fast action, and strong opinion. When we break things down into steps, we slow the process down. By deliberately making as many steps as possible, we counter the tendency to stress. It’s like driving a stake into the ground and tying yourself to it while stress wants to fly past us like the wind. No can do.
Andrea Scully has another. She points out that our stress goes down and may disappear the minute we see that we have alternatives. I’ll leave that to her to develop.
Another way to bring it down is to breathe deeply, rhythmically and continuously, until stress diminishes or releases. Why deep breathing? Because deep breathing forces us to release the bands of stress-induced muscular tension which are bringing down our awareness.
We cannot breathe deeply and keep our bodies tensed at the same time. Either we’ll have to revert to breathing shallowly so as not to disturb the holding patterns or we’ll choose to breathe deeply and be obliged to let go of the patterns.
The longer and deeper the breath, the less it can be controlled by the mind, which has a short attention span. Its shortness increases with stress, with the automatic tensing of the body. The longer and deeper the breath, the more the body hears the voice of the will in the breathing pattern and yields to it. The muscles relax and awareness increases again. Our discernment and a modicum of peace return.
I shouldn’t pass the above example by too lightly. It’s an instance of the will taking precedence over the wishes of what S.N. Godenka calls the “mind-body complex.” The mind-body wishes to tense up and the will, as expressed in the breath, denies that request.
One will win out in the end and the outcome is not predetermined. In fact with most of us, it’s the mind-body complex that wins out. But not with lightworkers.
Laughter also reduces stress. Andrea and I get to laughing on our calls because neither of us has a functioning memory. It makes for some pretty funny situations. Even if we combined both our memories, we’d still have none, zero, de nada.
Laughter makes my stress level go down immediately and stress thus vanquished doesn’t quickly return. In fact I was left in bliss this morning after laughing myself silly with Andrea. Laughter is an excellent stress-reduction strategy.
If we have the time and luxury of some quiet space, it works to meditate. Take our awareness and circle our body with it, resting it lightly for a few seconds on each area of the body that we can identify as stressed or tense.
Or we can simply choose stillness and let everything drop.
Or, my faviorite, we can draw up love from our heart on the in-breath and breathe it out to the world on our out-breath. That dissolves stress.
I say this, but I have as much need as anyone else to put these strategies into practice.
(Continued in Part 2.)