What do you do when the pathway becomes thorny? When the underbrush is too thick to pass?
Do you keep pushing, tensing, bracing yourself against the pain, hoping that the end is near? Or do you practice an easier way?
Our organizations praise hard work. Long hours are applauded. Productivity is a buzzword.
And even before we got into these demanding roles, school was similar.
We all had the teacher who was notorious for assigning three hours of homework each night.
“No pain, no gain,” we hear so often, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” the cry goes.
There is nothing wrong with a dedicated work ethic. It is essential for success.
But as we grew up, we weren’t necessarily taught to balance this puritan work ethic with anything else but more work.
Our culture is hellbent on harder, faster, better, stronger, and certain perceptions flow from this fact.
We think we have to struggle to make it. We must struggle to succeed, and to show that we care!
Since it’s been like this most of our lives, it’s our default setting.
A default setting of striving – because who would choose to work themselves into the ground?
There is another way.
A way that allows us to respond to the demands of our work without overdoing it, and also respond to the need for play.
It is balanced. It is one foot in each world. It is the middle way.
To arrive at the middle way, though, takes courage.
It takes courage to stop rushing around. It takes bravery to slow down.
To face the anxiety that propels you ever forward, looking to tomorrow to provide the comfort that today seemingly lacks.
When we surrender, releasing the pent up frustration and relaxing the rigidity, we let go into the flow.
Things become easier. We can smile. Even if there’s more work to do.
Stress Release Tip
The practice of surrender is the practice of letting go. We can actually let go of stress, release the tension and relax. Try this right now: take a slow, deep in-breath, allowing your abdomen to expand. Hold for 3 seconds. Now release this breath slowly, while also letting go of any tension that you are aware of. Just let go. Your shoulders drop, the muscles in your face, arms and hands relax, your feet are firmly on the ground. Just fall into the support of the chair beneath you. Letting go of physical tension, our mental tension loosens also.
During your day, notice where you are unconsciously tensing up, and then note what lead to that telltale muscle tension. Were you consumed by the demands of your work? Gripping the steering wheel in traffic after it came to a dead stop? Mulling over that last phone call? Do you even know? With each breath you can renew your awareness of how you are holding your body, and come back to the present moment. The more often we commune with the breath, inquiring of each moment, “What am I really doing?” the more available we become to our ever-unfolding life.
Quote From Adam
“Awareness without love is too cold. Love without awareness is too hot. The middle way is slowly showing itself as we wear out all extremes…”
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