Stress in the mind, body and spirit behaves much like a trapped animal.
It’s content at first. It doesn’t even realize it’s trapped. It will nibble on your positive thoughts. It will burrow its way under your shoulder blade and take a nap. It will take shit on your joy.
But then, it starts to want out, and it doesn’t remember how it got in, or maybe the entryway it used before is closed now, so it starts to get a little bit more destructive. In it’s panic to escape, it starts digging around and won’t let you sleep. It makes your heart race and your breath shallow.
If you don’t know what you’re dealing with, this is when you get scared and start googling your symptoms. This then makes you MORE scared. You’re sure you have a boa constrictor in the attic, or cancer rather than some stress about work, or old worn out coping mechanisms from a dysfunctional family, or some past trauma.
Of maybe you DO know what it is, and it’s a thing you’re just not willing to deal with. It scares you. Is your fear of the mouse, spider, squirrel completely disproportionate and irrational- well… yes, but that’s the thing… you’d rather move out of your house than face it, so you do. You run from it by distracting your mind with with junk tv, you distract your body with some sex or maybe even drugs, you distract your spirit by feeding it ritual and practices.
Ot maybe it doesn’t scare you, it just embarrasses you. You can’t believe this thing has gotten in your being. You know you don’t have the resources to deal with it yourself, but you’re too embarrassed to ask for help. You don’t trust those pest control people, and what will the neighbors think when they see their van parked in your drive?
I’m here to tell you I have absolutely been in every one of those scenarios. But here’s another. Having recognized there’s something trapped in my being, I’m not scared. I’m not running. I’m not embarrassed. I’m ANGRY. And I WILL have victory over this thing. I won’t be satisfied until it’s DEAD. I start crashing around trying to kill the wasp and break my coffee cup in the process. I find that stress under my shoulder blade and attack it with stretching to the point that I’m twice as sore the next day than I was the day before. I go after the thing and it bites me, OR I scare IT so deeply that it burrows itself still deeper into my mind, body, spirit where it hides and does even deeper damage or dies and rots and starts to stink.
Having been granted a little wisdom through self-inquiry and meditation, I’ve finally determined to at least ATTEMPT to handle my stress differently from here on out.
I’m going to recognize that whatever is trapped inside me wants out.
I’m going to cooperate with it to help it get out rather than determining to battle it and kill it.
I’m going to cut off its food supply and open all the doors between it and the exits and work bit by bit to calmly flush or lure it toward the exit, taking care to never drive it deeper into myself.
If I tire in my efforts to help it all the way out, I will compartmentalize it. I will shut all the doors around it but the exits and take some rest. Afterall, It might just wander out while I’m away, but when I return, I will check to be sure. I’m not interested in pretending I don’t have a problem if I do.
I will give myself a reasonable deadline for dealing with the pest myself, and if I have not emancipated myself from it and it from me by that deadline, I will enlist the help of another embodied person (See God’s been helping me the whole time, duh, of course I called my best friend immediately.)