“Following your own deepest wisdom may be the best way of all to live.”
To befriend life fully, you need to start by accepting yourself. Consider for a minute any part of your life that causes you some stress. What can you do to lessen that stress? One way I try to do this and a way I try to coach the students I serve is to treat the stress as a friend.
I know that on the surface that may sound a bit nutty. But sometimes when we look at those things that bother us as being in our lives to teach us something, aspects of the stress start to melt away. To do this, I think it’s very useful to personify things. You see me doing this pretty much every week with the reading assignment. I regularly ask you to consider the book or a part of the book as a friend that has something important to tell you.
Try this in other parts of your life, both those that seem challenging and those that seem easy. A good place to start practicing this is with the weather. See each day’s weather as a friend who has come to have a cup of tea with you. Be a gracious host. Sit your friend down. Serve her (and yourself) your favorite tea. Offer a piece of coffee cake. Be open to what she has to tell you.
So I suggest you reflect on your week befriending life by personifying it. What kind of friend did you find? What kind of friend did you let in? What kind of friend have you been? These questions can be either simple or hard to answer. Make them simple, allow answers to surface. Then accept the answers as news being delivered by a good and trusted friend, be she bringing “good news” or “bad news.”
This is one way to befriend life.
Link to Book: “My Grandfather’s Blessings”
Just had coffee with my good friend, The Summer Program 2013. Every year 350 high students, college staff members, faculty and guest artists come together for 1 week of intense training and then 3 weeks of conservatory style artistic study and celebration. Ultimately as the Director, I am responsible for the safety and well being of all of them, including myself. Last year we had a large number of medical and psychological issues among the students. I allowed it to stress me beyond the limits. I have a great support team. And my good friend Summer Program just reminded me that I can depend on them. That it is okay for me to have coffee with the Summer Program anytime. That I have great intuition and I am allowed to trust my other dear friend, Intuition, to guide me and remain more in the moment rather than trying to take control.
Note to self: have coffee soon with my buddies Fear and Control Freak as they are the ones who pull me out of the moment and block my intuition completely when it gets really tough.
Wow, I like this personification tool. Thanks Andy!! Carrie
Thanks for sharing, Carrie. I like this tool too!
I love the idea of personifying stress. I can be so much gentler and kinder with another person than to myself and especially with my stressed self.
A dear friend of mine gave a similar tip. We both deal with depression and her too was not to fight it, but to just sit with it. We expend much energy fighting and criticizing our emotions. My dear friend, a former professor of mine, even suggested having “a depression chair,” a place to accept what you are feeling. This idea has made me laugh through tears. Maybe it will help one of you as well. (I am still working through the class, and thought others might be as well.) Blessings.
Thank you so much Brooke for your kind words of support to me. And also for your sharing this post about stress. I sometimes get very “stressed out” and the older I get, the worse it seems to be as I feel overwhelmed by all the “work” I take onto my shoulders when I don’t really want to.
I will now try your friend’s suggestion. The next time I am stressed, I am going to sit in my “STRESSED-OUT” chair and go for a ride. I imagine I will scream and yell and curse and vent all my frustrations until I can let go of the dread about the chores I have taken on and accept that that is who I am and I might as well peck away at one little chore at a time, until I feel better. What a great idea to help let go of whatever it is that overwhelms me. I have so enjoyed both your and Carrie’s participation in this class. I am sending a hug to you both.
Thank you, Linda. It makes me feel good to read that my sharing was helpful to you in some way! I was glad to see your response tonight. Rest well and a hug back to you.