Note: This is another post based on my strong feeling that September is way more like the start of a new year than January….
Have you noticed your heart rate go on the rise as you think about your schedule after Labour Day? Over the years, I have heard many people refer to the shift from summer to fall as being “stressful” so here are a few tips to help you experience a peaceful “new year” despite the changes and challenges that your fall schedule presents.
Tip #1: Your Fall Schedule Is Not Stressful – Your Thoughts Are
“Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
Many people talk about stress like it’s a crappy feeling that attacks and takes over their bodies and minds when certain “stressful” things happen to them like traffic jams, snow storms, a visit by the in-laws, etc. Right now, you might be wishing that summer doesn’t end because the fall is going to be “stressful”. There is a collective belief system that we observe things and then that very thing that we are observing creates stress. We are cutting out the middle man, so to speak because right after the observation and before the stress is our perception – the type of lenses we see it through and the thoughts we attach to it. Observation. Perception. Reaction. That’s the pathway to stress or the highway to heaven. When we label certain events and situations as “stressful” it’s like we’ve decided that stuff comes to us with a tag attached saying, “THIS IS STRESSFUL – BE STRESSED NOW.” Here comes the self-empowerment-like quality of this tip: everything, including your fall schedule, is actually NEUTRAL. For anything to be “stressful”, you first need to view it as that and create stressful thoughts about it – there’s the middle man we’ve been cutting out of the deal! Because stress can’t exist without stressful thoughts, experiencing a peaceful event or situation relies on your ability to have an awareness of the thoughts you are creating. With the neutrality of everything, stress and peace are an equal distance away. See if you can catch yourself creating a stressful thought and then shift to a new, peaceful thought. Change your thoughts, change your “new year”!
Tip #2: Stress Cannot Live Where There Is Gratitude
After reading my first tip, you may have been left longing for an example of a peaceful thought so allow me to pretend to be all things to you for a moment and come to your rescue. Saying THANK YOU is a peaceful thought. As my favourite yoga teacher, Emily, says near the end of our class…CHOOSE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. When challenges come your way that you typically perceive as “stressful”, notice those thoughts and shift into feeling blessed that you have this to deal with this challenge in the first place. This may seem odd at first, but all the things that we freak out about are also evidence that we have/had something or someone in our life so precious that we see it as important enough to get so worked up about. Wow. There’s many things that don’t get my attention in a day, so a list of “stressors” can actually be flipped into a gratitude list….a list that reveals the true abundance in your life. For example, I just bought a loft here in Toronto and moved in quite recently. As many of my friends and acquaintances have said to me over the last few months, moving is “stressful”, but when I stand back and focus on the big-ass blessing it is to own anything never mind real estate in Toronto, it’s hard to see the move as anything but friggin’ outstanding. Here I am having to deal with moving and getting settled into a loft that I own in Toronto…with that focus on abundance sure makes it hard for the I‘m-so-stressed-with-this-move act to continue. What are your examples of flipping stressors into a gratitude list? The mere thought of getting the kids into a normal routine this September got you frazzled? Look at you with kids that have the physical and mental capabilities to be educated! Feeling stressed about your schedule at work now that everyone is going to be back from holidays? Look at your with your job and the money it brings you! And so on…
I’m sure you have heard this gratitude stuff more than just a few times, but hell, it works sisters and brothers. Go ahead and try to CHOOSE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE and be stressed at the same time.
Tip #3: Focus On YOUR Business Only (or Practice Non-Interference)
I had this stress-busting A-HA moment when I heard Oprah interview Byron Katie on her XM Radio show, The Soul Series. Byron said that much of our stressful thoughts and hence, suffering, comes from being involved in other people’s business. Dr. Wayne Dyer speaks of this as well as practicing non-interference which means allowing life to unfold and allowing people to simply live out the situations/events that are edging them further along in their evolution. Keep in mind that you and I and everyone else we know are having this human experience to learn lessons through EXPERIENCE.
Imagine the many stressful thoughts that would fade away by sticking to your own business. As Byron puts it, there are three areas of business – yours, other people’s, and the universe’s. You can change up the last one anyway you want, but it’s that unseen force that plays a powerful part in what transpires in our lives. Think of these three areas of business like potential “stress zones” and by simply focusing only on your business, you are removing two of the three potential “stress zones” in your life. You will be left with the much simpler challenge of creating peaceful thoughts about your own life! Woo-hoo!!! You are most likely going to interact with all kinds of other humans in both professional and personal situations this “new year” so be aware that interference is a form of arguing with what is and trying to influence other souls’ human experience. Consider choosing to allow the humans in your life to make mistakes, feel pain, and be lost. Consider having the faith that what the universe is doing is perfect. Be peaceful this new year by stepping away and letting people and the universe do their thing…besides, I have never found that I feel any better once I’ve started to interfere…have you?