I’ve been taking some steps to increase my resilience to stress recently. I have had to or suffer!
Life has been challenging and one of my worst fears is threatening to come true…no work for the winter months.
A big project I thought was secured, the client is now unsure about, saying he can’t afford it, asking for discounts which I gave him, and may not go ahead. I will find out today.
The consequences of it not happening are pretty scary. No work for the men. No money to pay my bills. I feel afraid when contemplating this. And yet it hasn’t happened yet. The client may very well give us the go ahead today and then there is no reason to feel this fear. So I wait for his answer.
But even if it does go ahead the potential for fearful thoughts to dominate is still present. ‘What if the weather stops us’ what if the client doesn’t pay us’ what if what if what if….
I have resumed my mindfulness practise. This is helping enormously with recognising stressful thoughts before they manage to grab a hold of me. I just recognise- breath-let go. I could easily be tormented nearly constantly imaging the disastrous effects of what may happen.
But that is always an option no matter what our circumstances. I could be wealthy and financially secure and still be tormented by thoughts of catastrophe, say of illness or something. It could be anything. The mind is like a monkey, I see that it’s important to orientate inside and use the refuge of safety that is available to me.
That refuge is being aware of what is actually happening right now. This very second I am breathing in and out. I feel the weight of the body on this seat. I hear the traffic outside rumbling by.
I bought an audio book by Thich Nhat the Vietnamese Zen monk. I play it all day, in the house and in the car driving around. It is reminding me about staying present. Breathing. Walking mindfully. I listen to a guided meditation every night by Tara Brach.
I’ve been benefitting from nature walks, two a day when the weather allows. It helps me to remain present and grounded in my body as I navigate the winter mud underfoot and view the trees and reflections on the river. I breath in and out.
This stress and the anxious thoughts are waiting to pounce any time. No work, no money, men out of work at Xmas, failure, debt…….
I breath in and out. Stay with what is real. These adversities have not actually happened, and they are not happening right now. So will I spend my time in agony that they may happen? Or look after myself right now in this moment.
How to look after oneself? To love oneself as you would your own child?
I ask what makes me happy? What small step can I do right now or this day and this week to increase my wellbeing and reduce my stress?
Right now. There’s no work to do at the moment so I can go for a walk in the local park and savour the beauty of the trees and the birds and the water. I enjoy the wellbeing that gentle exercise brings to my body. I appreciate my body and it feels good to take care of it.
I can organise my paperwork and that will increase my wellbeing and I will experience a reduction in chaos.
I am eating a very healthy diet and I am not over eating. I stopped drinking so much a couple of weeks ago. I had a few drinks at a dinner party and a glass of wine, but leaning on a few drinks each night I just cut out as a habit. I don’t like it and don’t want to do it. It doesn’t even occur to me to go and buy it now. I am surprised how easy it is to just cut unhealthy habits out when I actually want to.
As I sit here I notice the fear is present. I notice where it sits in my body. It’s in my throat and my chest. I am not trying to get rid of that fear, I am embracing it with love. And compassion. Compassion towards myself for managing to run a business on my own with employees. I encourage myself by reflecting on what I am doing well.
I breath in, I breath out.
Hello fear, I hear you. Breath in and breath out. The pain is present. It doesn’t have to overwhelm me. If I don’t allow mental formations to elaborate on the feeling of threat. I do not need to spend time imagining how I will cope with no work over winter.this very moment we have work. The threat has not become a reality. If it does I know I will survive it. I will make a plan. Past experience has shown that I have survived and managed successfully all manner of adverse experiences.
Having a business is a bit like being on a roller coaster. You have successes and failures and you have to learn to ride both. I have learned that I am not a ‘victim’ of circumstances, I am a rider of circumstances and I can look after myself, whatever is going on with external happenings.
I breath in and breath out, and give myself a physical hug.
A picture from yesterday’s walk