See Through The Stress

Today you’re at the supermarket, in a bit of a hurry, and as you rush into the express checkout lane, you notice that the person in front of you has 21, no 22, items — isn’t it 15 items or less!?

You feel the tendrils of anger reaching up into your neck as the physical tension increases.

Your mind races: “How could they be so inconsiderate?” “How rude!” “This always happens to me.” “My day was going so well too.” “If I could only tell that guy where to go, I’d show him.”

As you finally get through the line, you’re still seething, glaring and mumbling something to yourself as you walk to your car.

How much longer do you hold on to this rage? How many times to you go over the story — the injustice of it all!! — before letting it go or forgetting about it?

The more interesting question is, where did all that frustration come from in the first place?

Is a person who has a few too many items in the express lane at the supermarket really worth all that hemming and hawing? The increase in blood pressure? The incessant nagging thoughts of “WTF??” The day ruined?

Probably not.

And if you deem it ain’t worth it, then what? How do you turn this awareness into seeing the situation as it is, and, after this, action? Practice.

The greater truth surfaces when we allow ourselves to relax into situations like the one above.

The line is just a line. It’s not stressful, it’s not UN-stressful, it’s just a line at the supermarket. We are the ones who label it, categorize it, compare it to the last time we were there and deem it “good” or “bad” or “boring” or….you get the point.

As we get better at accepting things simply as they are, we automatically begin to feel less tension, both mentally and physically.

When we realize that we create the context for our day-to-day reality on a moment-by-moment basis, there is a huge opportunity. A break in the clouds. A chance to choose less stress.

Over time, these chances present themselves more often. The clouds are passing, the sun shines brightly, we can breathe easy. And the line is no problem.

Quick Meditation Tip

Meditation is simply about allowing our focus to be 100% in the body. We start with the breath as the gateway, and then allow ourselves to relax. There is a peace and stillness about this from the very beginning. And even when thoughts come dancing, we let them go and come back to breathing. Again and again. So simple. Maybe not easy, but very simple.

Mindful Homework

Stand in that line this week – at school, in traffic, at the checkout, the bank – and just be there. How relaxed and fully “there” can you allow yourself to be? Notice your tendency to want to distract yourself. With thoughts, your cellphone, tabloids. Fight the impulse for distraction. Watch your swirling thoughts, and let them go. You can stand there, no problem. Just breathing and enjoying the simplicity of it all.

Quote From Adam

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
– Douglas Pagels

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