Last week, I went off the rails. My workload has surged in the last few weeks, and I typically use those phases to pause, prioritize & calibrate my time, and work that plan. My life experience has taught me that I have two options: I can either stress out as a result of commitment load or I can center myself and create a path that allows for both progress and inner steadiness.

Last week, I jumped off the “flow” wagon and into the mud puddle of stress. Sticky mud, that stress state. Throughout my 25 year career, I have learned to mask my stress; making it look much smoother than it feels. I can hold this state until I arrive at the threshold of my home at the end of the day; at which point, I unravel just a bit. It reminds me of when a small child goes to school; keeping it together all day and then falling apart in fatigue and overwhelm the moment they get home.

Many of us are quite masterful at this masking, and our reason for doing so is a topic of another post. However, once we feel our stress in whatever way it shows up for us, we again have a choice: we can continue to roll in that mud or accept the invitation our stress response presents.

As I begin to remove limb by limb from the mud puddle, I do so by taking my seat on my meditation cushion, following my breath even though my mind would rather chase the task, and softening the places in my body where stress calcifies or tightens: chest, jaw, mind.

I remember that I can abandon my seat and get back on the wheel at any moment as for me, feeling like I have choice is important. However, I then gently encourage myself to stay.

Stay until the tension melts. Stay until I sense space in my mind. Stay until I feel nurtured. Stay until I remember that I am not what I do but who I AM.