Dealing with Stress

I've been thinking a lot about the impact stress can have on us and how unconsciousness can intensify that impact. I had an experience awhile ago, that I believe exemplifies these thoughts.

Many months ago, I was in a very stressful job situation that was taking a toll on me emotionally, physically, and mentally. Although I loved the job I was doing, the demands of that job were more than one person could realistically attend to. Sound familiar? During that time, I found myself becoming increasingly more reactive, judgmental, and not surprisingly, stressed. I found myself meditating less and falling into old patterns of behavior (i.e., not taking time for myself in silence, becoming more disorganized, exercising less, eating worse, etc. etc. etc.)

I've been a regular meditater for years, but gradually reduced my practice as my stress level increased with this new job stress. As I became more stressed, I meditated less, and the stress began to impact me even more; a vicious cycle that brought disharmony into my life.

Eventually I got to a point in my mental state that I realized I needed to make some sort of change. That change came in signing up for an 8 week meditation workshop. I felt I needed the added discipline and structure to motivate me into a more regular practice again. My experience there added more vibrancy and balance to my life than I realized was possible at the time. Meeting together every week with the same people to cultivate presence was empowering and life affirming.

After only a few weeks I found that I was able to catch the critical voice inside my head much more quickly and with a degree of compassion that was lacking in the weeks prior. Slowly, I began to react to the stress around me less and instead begin to respond . By the time the eight weeks were over, I found that I felt an increased sense of control over my mind and energy.

It was toward the end of the workshop that I realized that I stopped resisting my present situation and began accepting it. This felt incredibly freeing amongst the then chaos at my job. Despite the work load and demands, my energy still shifted, and I began to feel more "in-flow" with life.

What makes this experience so much more powerful was that around that same time that I felt in "flow", a co-worker approached me telling me that she was resigning. I wished her luck and didn't really think much of it. A few days passed and I was sitting outside alone, enjoying the subtle gusts of wind and vibrant blues of the sky, when a flash of insight came to me: "You have to apply for her job!"

Something inside me felt very strongly about this and I decided to give it a go. Long story short, I got the job, which was a considerable promotion and a perfect fit for me.

I share this experience as reminder for myself (and to positively contribute to any readers along the way) of the importance of ongoing practice and at the power of attending to the needs of our body, mind and spirit. When we neglect aspects of each, I believe we fall out of flow with life and the external world begins to make small impressions on the internal parts of ourselves that maintain peace.

The more we are in flow, the more we are able to connect with our purpose. As a result, the universe will support us and it will be easier for us to notice the signs it is giving us to go deeper into our purpose and/or the greater purpose of the whole.

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Lotus Flower Breaking the Surface by Yun Shouping

My Intention with this Blog
My purpose with this blog is to communicate with other people all over the world about spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness. When you think about it, aren't all those things all about life anyway? So really, this blog is about one approach to life. I think we can learn from each other, and this online world can be a great outlet for connection and sharing. I also hope that this blog will be an avenue for others to learn and connect in the same way I am seeking to connect and learn from others.

I decided to start writing in this public forum, my thoughts, impressions and insights into mindfulness, meditation and the general path of spirituality. I think that the more of us come together and bring awareness and presence into the world, the more we are contributing to the greater whole. I certainly think the world needs our help in cutting through our Ego-driven tendencies!

What is mindfulness to me? What is it to you?
Mindfulness to me means being aware of the moment in such a way that our actions, thoughts, and energy transmit compassion and acceptance into the Self and the world around us. It is being able to break free from our past and preoccupation with the future in such a way that we respond to our world from a place of pure awareness and ultimately, Love. At the deepest level, it is about connecting to something deeper...

There are a variety of definitions I have come across and would love to hear yours!

Please share!

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