In my last Core Wisdom Sharing I promised to talk a little more about stress and, dare I say, the ‘benefits of stress’. Little did I know my own life would provide me the fodder to share from direct experience so soon. Funny how these things work out!
So it’s holiday time again. Now, if you can draw to mind one of the many scary comedy movies you’ve seen about ‘going on holidays’, it will help as a back drop to my story.
Each time we head off on our trip to the farm for holidays I tell myself that I must NOT go crazy and get exhausted while getting ready to go away…… I’m sure you have all said the same thing. As I sat down behind the wheel of my car to embark on my 12 hour drive to the farm, I realised that I had ‘done it to myself yet again!’
Now, I’ve learnt that I’m not able to drive the 12 hours by myself and that we need to break up the trip. I headed off, with my two children, the two dogs and a car piled high with luggage. The trip itself went smoothly enough, the B&B that we stayed in along the way was warm and welcoming. The following day began well and it was only on that last 50km part of the trip that my concentration was pushed to the limit. We pulled into one of the towns along our way, stopped and enjoyed throwing some rocks into the ocean. We jumped up and down to get the oxygen and blood flowing ….. almost there!
We arrived at the farm, the dogs jumped out and ran down the drive way, we had made it safely, yeah me …. Super Mum does it again! Now, when we stay at the farm we are lucky enough to have our own little place (the old workman’s cottage). Usually my family are able to clean it up for us, and we just swan in and unpack. This time was different and they weren’t able to do it.
We walked in and well let’s just say that the mice had had the run of the place for 6 months and had made themselves at home. Wish we had a cat! Thankfully the mice had all left, but needless to say they had left many, many ‘calling cards’. The kids looked around and suggested immediately that we just stay somewhere, anywhere else….. please! I said something lame like …. “well, we haven’t used our bodies for the 12 hours in the car, it will be good to get them moving”. My children roll their eyes at me, and after some more resistance, we got into the job of cleaning … vacuuming, disinfecting, you name it, we did it.
5 hours later and the house was clean. Both the kids were exhausted and were sitting on the lounge. I knew that if I stopped, that would be it ….. one last job, we’ve got to make the beds. “Come on, you’ve got to help me!” As my son helped me make his bed he said “You know what Mum, I have a bit of a sense of achievement”. I straightened up, my arms, legs and lower back aching and I gave him a weak smile, “that’s great buddy”, is all I managed.
It was true though, we definitely had achieved a lot. My son had personally done some things he’d never done before. We had pushed through and worked as a team to get it done.
This story goes on a bit…. going to create dinner and finding that the mice had visited every dish in the kitchen! Off for a 30 min drive to buy take away pizza from a local town. Then being woken up after 2 hours of sleep to clean up vomit ….. at which point I thought, thank goodness we are on holidays, it’s going to take me a couple of days to get over this!
I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve had a little giggle at my expense, perhaps this reminds you of a trip you’ve taken. We all know stress comes in many forms. This of course was just a short-term stress to be endured. Others can be huge and exist for months on end; loss of a job, sickness or loss of a loved one, fighting amongst colleagues or family, the list goes on and on.
The more I think about stress, the more I realise that it’s all about our point of perception. Some people are able to look at a situation and see a challenge or an opportunity while others see an obstacle. Demartini suggests that our greatest ‘personal growth’ occurs on ‘the boundary of support and challenge’, meaning we grow as individuals when we have a balance of both supportive and challenging situations (and people) in our life. It is understood that when we are put under challenging conditions and we succeed (or not) then our sense of self changes. Perhaps we force ourselves to do something out of our comfort zone, ultimately increasing our self-esteem as a consequence.
It’s interesting to consider how similar events impact us all so differently and how that links with our point of perception. Why do some people fall apart while others grow stronger when pushed by stress? The truth is that it has to do with the internal environment of the person, rather than the external environment around the person.
Hawkins explains it best:
The real source of “stress” is actually internal; it is not external, as people would like to believe. The readiness to react with fear, for instance, depends on how much fear is already present within to be triggered by a stimulus. The more fear we have on the inside, the more our perception of the world is changed to a fearful, guarded expectancy.
- To the fearful person, this world is a terrifying place
- To the angry person, this world is a chaos of frustration and vexation (irritation)
- To the guilty person, it is a world of temptation and sin, which they see everywhere.
To a peaceful and resilient person, this world is filled with challenges that can be embarked upon, overcome and perhaps even enjoyed.
The key then is shifting the internal environment. Releasing that which holds you in fear, anger or guilt etc.. When I work with clients on these issues we use an integrated and holistic approach, I’d love to share this approach with you.
Ps. We have had a great holiday, beach, camping, fishing, farm work. Well worth the journey and the mouse ‘calling cards’!
- Demartini, JF. 2010. Inspired Destiny – Living a Fulfilling and Purposeful Life. Hay House, Inc.
- Hawkins, D.R. 2012. Letting go- The pathway of Surrender. Hay House, Inc.