Oh my, how lovely you have all been sharing your experiences of stress and how you manage it (eating a pint of ice cream or taking seroquel were my favourite suggestions), and giving me wise words of encouragement.
I am glad to report that I am back to my usual chirpy self: the sun is flooding into the apartment, the patio doors are open and I can see the swans gliding elegantly on the canal; my neighbour has just bought me round a plant and a bottle of wine (at 8.30 am!), and I am sipping coffee and writing – life feels good again.
But I am not naive – I know I have not suddenly transformed into a Zen Goddess. And although I am glad I am not a crazy woman this week, I am taking last week as a warning sign and as a reminder to keep working on being a more relaxed person (for my husband’s sake if nothing else – poor sod).
And I often find it is when I have a ‘wobble’ that I learn the most. It is when I pick myself up, reflect on what happened and look at something in a new way that I move forward. I haven’t suddenly got all the answers (sorry if that is what you were hoping for) but I have reminded myself that I have made serious changes to my patterns of thinking to get to this place of wellness and if I can do that in other areas of my life, I can do it about stress.
I had a coaching session a couple of weeks ago and one of the aims of the session was to explore how can I work with the Type A in me, how can I make her a good part of me and not a dangerous part of me?
‘I don’t want to let go of her’ I said, sounding like a sulky teenager. ‘She is the part of me that makes things happen, I want to keep hold of that drive and determination.’
Kelly gently guided me to imagine a more balanced version of that person (that word balance haunts me); nudged me to see that I would still be me if I let go of this part of me.
She also recommended I watched The Peaceful Warrior. The film – based on the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior – is about a young, arrogant, talented gymnast, who gets good grades, all the hot girls and is training for the Olympics. But whilst on the outside Dan seems to have it all, inside this is not the case. He meets a mysterious stranger – who he refers to as Socrates – who ends up becoming his mentor, showing him a different way to live. This becomes even more challenging when Dan has a serious motor bike accident which threatens his whole way of life. But with the help of ‘Socrates’ he learns to let go of the person he thought he was and start living in a completely different way. (I know it is sounding a little on the cheesy side but…)
It was just what my spirit needed – apparently, a little cheese on a Saturday afternoon is a good thing. And I hope you Type As are sitting down for this part: to be a Peaceful Warrior you have to let go of control. *and breathe*
And it gets worse – apparently, life is a mystery and you will never understand it. The good news, however, is a sense of humour is also essential to being a Peaceful Warrior (oh, this I can do). And you have to accept that change WILL happen – I think I accept that, so JUST control to work on then.
There was also a focus on how it is the journey that is important, not the destination (I know this is King of Cheese himself). I do kind of buy into this but I think the journey is better if you know where you are going – yes, work in progress.
Kelly said to me in our session ‘it’s about letting go, letting go of who you think you should be, letting go of control, letting go of your attachment to the outcome of your goals. If you become attached to the outcome, you believe you will only be happy WHEN… WHEN you have a six-pack, WHEN the apartment is finished, WHEN you are a successful writer, WHEN…’
So this is it people, I am letting go… you can now refer to me as Karen ‘The Peaceful Warrior’.