by Sherri A. Phibbs
November 18, 2017
Nature teaches, nature heals. Powerful words, but what does that truly look like, and honestly, how do you make it work for you?
If you've been reading self-help books, blogs or watching how to videos, you may have noticed there is always a "secret". A special, little known method, product, or teaching that works miracles and is only available for the next three days. Honestly, how do you get passed all the hype and get to what truly works?
That was my constant irritant while I was living on the fiery edge of burnout for so very long. And paying for things that didn't work? That ranked right up there as a close second.
Each time I tried something and it didn't work, I felt like a failure. I felt worse than I did before, for having spent the money, for being fooled. So, when I did find something TRUE, it was precious, the shimmer of gold in a vast wash of gravel.
In this article, I'd like to share with you 5 Golden Truths and a corresponding step you can take for making stress work for you rather than against you. Truths I learned first hand from my own struggles with stress management.
GOLDEN TRUTH #1: IT'S ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE.
Even when things look the darkest, you always have a choice. You've heard of the human fight or flight response? I'd like to add in another F word. No, not that one. :-) I'd like to add freeze.
You can definitely do nothing, freeze. Either unable or unwilling to make a choice or a change; and so, by non-action, actually choosing to stay exactly where you are. Maybe out of fear of making a mistake, not knowing the right path, or maybe, just plain old confusion. Things just are. You may not even be aware it can change. You don't know what you don't know. Take a stress level test.
You can choose flight; and leave the situation, the career, the location. Removing the largest stressor from your life, but also knowing that we often take our problems with us.
You can choose to fight, to act, making changes to your environment or your habits, to help ease the effects of stress on your body, mind, spirit and soul.
Stress is a natural part of living, a signal to our bodies that a change is needed. Until you, or someone else, initiates action, things remain the same. Act or be acted upon. It's always your choice.
Do a personal check in - what change can be made that sustains health, mine and those around me (as personal responsibility is always walking hand-in-hand with the power of choice)? You may know you need to do something, and you may recognize that you don't really know what. So...
"All humanity is divided into three classes: those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move!"
- Benjamin Franklin
Most folks are about as happy as they make up
their minds to be.
– Abraham Lincoln
GOLDEN TRUTH #2: ALL CHOICES ARE "RIGHT"
You will either have an easy lesson or a hard one, depending on what you chose.
For example, paying for methods, products and teachings that don't work. Then feeling bad. Hard lesson. But it led me to following where I was naturally attracted, which led to joy, meaningfulness and a renewed sense of passion in my life. It can in yours, too.
There's a funny thing about choices. They tend to come back around if we mess it up the first time. So, go ahead make mistakes, learn, make more mistakes, your ability to choose will only improve. As we age, we tend to be less forgiving of our own mistakes, thinking we should know better. Suspend judgement, and explore something new with the joy of a child.
“Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Sword
GOLDEN TRUTH #3: NOTHING BEATS LEARNING FIRST HAND
You can learn from other's experience, but there is truly something about doing it yourself, kinesthetic learning, hands-on muscle memory, that really allows a life skill to become a part of your consciousness, a part of who you are.
You can read and research all the methods, products and teachings out there, but until you genuinely apply something in your own life, you truly won't know whether it works for you or not. Hence, the struggle to determine what to try, and the pain of failure.
This is the natural hands-on learning process begun from your first breath, your first tumble while practicing sit, the first fall letting go of an adult's hand. Why attach so much significance to one element of an ongoing process?
You've had a few bumps and bruises, some more startling than others. You learned something. Something about yourself. Now, as an adult, maybe mid-life or later, you may feel that failure should be in the past. Not at all! Welcome to the higher education portion of your learning curve. This is where all those lessons you missed the first time round, start reappearing for a second go at you.
Do you have all the possible tools available to you already in your toolbox? Have you practiced using them? Are they seamlessly integrated into your daily life? I didn't, but I found them. You can, too. Get out there and explore, hands-on.
Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.
- Morihei Ueshiba, Athlete
GOLDEN RULE #4: IT MUST BE FUN AND EASY
If it doesn't surprise and delight you, what's the point? Life is meant to be truly lived, but sometimes it's hard. If the tool doesn't feed your soul, bring colour and light into your life, why bother?
Tools that are a chore, do not bring you joy and peace! They don't sustain your body, mind, spirit, and soul. Follow what naturally attracts you, what feels meaningful. Trust what your body is telling you. Your senses don't lie to you, they are a survival mechanism and will guide you to what sustains you, if you let them.
The burning question in my mind while living with high stress was how do I get passed the - work isn't supposed to be fun, it's work - mentality. And, the mindset that - if it's fun, it must be frivolous and ineffective; and therefore, bring censure from others. Only the serious, current, socially-accepted norms, right?
Not what I've discovered, hands-on. Fun brings laughter. Laughter breeds joy, and joy beats stress. Where is your fun? Are there tools, a plan? A way to integrate what you experience into your daily life, so you can experience the benefits whenever and wherever you need it?
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time. – Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer
GOLDEN RULE #5: PASSION IS ESSENTIAL
Living a life where meeting the standards of family, friends, community, society, often means burying your true self deep within can have a dampening effect on passion. Living with the labels, the titles, expectations, the self-imposed masks that hide your perfect light? Depressing. A loss of self can be both a symptom and a cause of stress.
Whatever you choose to do, explore, or integrate into your life, make sure it sets your soul on fire with passion. Knowing if you do boring, mundane, and mind-numbing; you will be boring, mundane, and mind-numbing. Knowing that passion is the glue that holds you in that all important NOW moment. That moment where all the mistakes, learning and lessons that brought you to this point; and all the worries about what could still happen, genuinely fall away. And, there you stand. In the NOW. Make sure it's filled with the gratitude of being, of living. With passion.
There’s nothing in the middle of the
road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.
– Jim Hightower, Radio Commentator and Author
Know that the choice is always yours. That you will make mistakes, it's natural. Don't beat yourself up for them, that's not healthy. Let other people's opinions guide you, but know that they are just that, opinions. Find out for yourself when you feel naturally drawn in a certain direction. What works for you, may not work for others, and vice versa. Follow your fun. Passionately, and with commitment.
What works for me? Nature-assisted stress relief, and the intelligently designed training program I developed to speed my own healing, my own stress management. When I started taking on clients, it worked for them also. It can for you, too.
Sharing Nature connection experiences and an understanding of how Nature teaches -- insights and ramblings of a naturally creative two-legged Nature Being.
Providing You With a Quick Peek at What Connection to Nature Looks Like or
How Connecting to Nature Can Free Your Life or
HOW TO RELIEVE STRESS WITH NATURE
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