Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine

My plate is really full right now. I'm super busy with a number of projects on the go that I need to manage and stay on top of so the job(s) gets done. It's very easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed during this kind of activity and I do.

I do not enjoy the work that I do when I go into stress mode. What's the point in working if I'm not having a good time? Am I not supposed to be enjoying my life? I'm self-employed, which means, one could argue, that I am deliberately choosing to be overwhelmed!

Often I am. I think I need to be busy because if I'm not busy then it must mean I'm lazy. It's this kind of thinking that led to an attack of shingles a few years ago.

Shingles are of the same virus as the chicken pox and herpes. The virus lives dormant in the nervous system. People who are elderly, who have compromised immune systems or who are under an unusual amount of stress get shingles.

I'm young ("Relatively", says the doctor -- guess that's what happens after you peak at 35) and my immune system is good so I guess I fall into the last category... STRESS!

Once I learned that shingles can come back I made a promise to myself to let go of my need to PUSH myself to ridiculous limits and I've been pretty vigilant about that ever since. I have not had another eruption of the painful blisters.

BUT I'm not perfect and I still end up hitting the wall sometimes, though never as hard as the last time. We do get better!

When I feel like I'm heading for that place of overwhelm I know what I need to do: STOP.

Just stop. In the moment, wherever I am, whatever I am doing, just stop. Stop and breathe. Stop and let go. Stop and re-focus on what is important. Being here, now. Being in my life. Enjoying my life. Stop, remember this and return with strength.

There is a film called "Sunshine" with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz about the fate of a Hungarian Jewish family throughout the 20th century. It's an epic picture, made in the late 90's and almost 3 hours long. I remember few details. One, however, sticks in my mind.

The matriarch of the family, played by Jennifer Ehle, is a formidable woman and one who refuses, unlike her children, to hide her Jewishness. The last line of the film is given to her, in a voice-over by Fiennes. He tells us that his mother knew the secret to life and because of that, her own life was rich and full and she lived without shame or regret.

She knew how to breathe freely.

I often remember this line when I am madly running around trying to get things done, thinking that the key to life is accomplishing stuff and being recognized for it.

No, that is not it at all.

Inspiring Message of the Day: The secret to life is breathing freely. That is all I have to do.

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