This much I know...

...and believe me there are days when I don't know much at all, but this is something I can write about with certainty:

Our level of daily stress in this life is in direct correlation to how we choose to react to it. Just look at the news for a second...wait, don't do that! We're working on lowering stress at the moment!  (The lopsided media is another blog post for another day)  I can only write from my heart, and I can only write convincingly about what I truly know and have experienced.  And I know about stress. I know about a level of stress that can kill, or at the very least make you sick in heart, mind and body. Yep...I know about all of this intimately...and so do you.  But here's the thing: Living a low-stress life is a choice. It's very easy to say our level of stress comes from outward events, places, things, people. We are very reactionary as humans. This is normal, this is how we decipher situations and make choices about how to act. But it's the first knee-jerk response that I'm trying to overcome in my own personal experience.  How are you doing with it?

I think it's a skill worth acquiring that allows one to react in a dispassionate way when someone throws a ball at us and expects us to drop everything and catch it. It's a skill I am doing my best to cultivate. It is an absolute guarantee there will be something every single day of our life that can, and will, cause us to feel stress. My particular stress can come from being a single mother. I take my role as "Mother", "Caregiver", "Provider" very seriously.....yes, many hats we wear as single moms, and dads. But I want you to know right now, my dearies, just how extraordinary and exceptional you are in raising a child right. And by right, I mean to be present mentally, to have the energy to handle their lives, their needs, their wants, their right to have a safe and loving and stable home. It is an extraordinary thing to give this to a child, and still be able to handle all that is going on in one's own life, and at the same time.

Now, just for kicks, let's throw into the mix someone who likes to live in their own little world and is largely clueless about about what it takes for you to raise your darling and precious child. Let's just say that sometimes there is a disconnect as to what it means to be supportive, respectful, or even cognizant of the fact that to add just one more thing...or attitude, insult, opinion...whatever it is, onto a mother's (or father's) already full plate is something that is not greeted with open arms. Let's just say.

Now what? I've pictured myself many times as Scarlett O' Hara, rising from the ground, dirt in my hand, raising my fist to the heavens vowing that I will never be put upon again! And I can do the Southern accent perfectly!  But here's another thing...I don't want to live that way, and neither do you. I don't want to have to pull myself up, all hot and sweaty out of despair, and vow that I will overcome whatever obstacles are thrown in my path. I want to be able to traipse lightly and gracefully over them!  I don't want a furrowed brow, it's unbecoming. Just know, the obstacles/annoyances are going to be there, they're going to keep coming in small ways, and in some big ways too, everyday. That's the very human side of life. It ebbs and flows and gets stuck from time to time. But, I for one, want to be elegant in how I handle the ups and downs. Now, here comes the choice part...

It's an inside job, babe. Always has been.  *And again, if you're a man reading this, and if the shoe is on the other foot, then please, please know I am with you on this. There are some absolutley wonderful, evolved men/fathers out there. Bless you one and all. Thank you for the service you do, for the love and care you give your children when you are with them. Thank you for the respect and kindness shown to their mother, whether you are together as a couple, or not. Thank you for your reverence of the Feminine.  You are a needed, and I thank you.* 

But back to the inside job thing:

Personally, my life flows beautifully when I prepare myself daily for the ebb and flow of this life. I take nothing for granted. Nothing. So in preparing for my day I make it a point (almost always...I am a work in progress here) to take the time to center myself. I send out thoughts of compassion for an imperfect world populated by imperfect people, people I will no doubt come across today. So, do we expect the best and prepare for the worst? No, not exactly, I say expect the best and then act as if that's what you'll get. It keeps you smiling and open to possibility. But I've also seen the need to hone my ability to let the ball drop when it's thrown at me. People will put unfair amounts of pressure on you, if you allow it. Sometimes you simply must take a stand and speak up. Set your boundaries, and reinforce them everyday. "This is sacred ground". "This is a line you will not cross"...and draw your sword, if need be.  But here's the final thing, for me at least:

I will not allow my thoughts to damn a single living human being no matter what they throw at me. I will practice intention (and speaking up when needed), and I will trust the Universe to provide for me an answer to the problem that has just been created. I have to laugh some days though, because the Universe is showing me I can handle all this stuff by giving me more of it!  Again, it's a choice how I process it, how I choose to respond.  We're always given the opportunity to act from a place of love, or, from a place of fear.  I have been shown that if I keep my thoughts fluid, gentle, expectant, then I will indeed find my way through the mire of human foibles that can cause me to stumble.  I will be given the words to say, the reaction that is appropriate, the unyielding trust that everything will work out...and for everyone's highest good. And just because I can get pissed off over something doesn't mean it's not there to serve me ultimately. I have found it's purpose is to show me that I have the ability to handle it!  Things are not put in our path to make us frustrated, they're there to help us transcend them. It's a loving Universe that shines a bright light on the things we no longer need. The things, people, places, that are holding us back, making us afraid, making us feel weak.  They show up so we can transcend them.  And until a lesson is learned, it will keep showing up and repeating itself in one form, or another.

What is the level of stress you are dealing with today? Can you take it down a notch? Can you drop that hot potato you're holding?  Could you take a few minutes and practice a "stillpoint" in your day? That's as easy as just breathing in and out away from everyone for a few minutes.  Can you trust there is something far greater at work in your life than all the nonsense that's going on around you at the moment?  It's an inside job, babe.  Always has been. Remember this when tempted to point the finger of blame.  And while that can be disconcerting, it keeps us responsible for the quality of our lives, and it also shows us we do have choices. We can create a peaceful atmosphere in our life. Act, don't react. Subtle shifts make all the difference...but don't hesitate to sidestep that ball that's being thrown at you.  Just let it drop.....they'll get over it.  When you can no longer be sucked into the drama, it has a way of lessening. This is what I know, for what it's worth.  Take what makes sense here and use it, and if nothing resonates with you, I thank you for stopping by.

Peace on your heart.

Until next time...

Cindy

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