stress pudding

Yesterday I almost drowned in a sea of paper.

I was at my desk plodding through mounds of work when, all of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. Literally. I was struck breathless by stress.

You have to know that I’ve been floating along this year on a calm sea of cold-chilling, chocolate-pudding happiness. Even in the moments that I knew the water beneath me was deep, I was blissfully swimming along, making progress while ignoring the circling sharks.

And then, yesterday, I got caught in some weird undertow and was suddenly swallowing gallons of water, spitting and spurting, my eyeballs bulging, arms flailing all in the name of stress.

Everyone knows that flailing when you are drowning just makes things worse. But when you’re drowning, you bug out; all rational thought goes out the window.

Yesterday, I was flailing. I sat at my desk, rummaging aimlessly through piles of paper, talking to myself, gasping for air. Until I finally admitted to myself that I was overwhelmed.

As soon as I confessed to myself that I was, indeed, stressed, a life-raft arrived.

My friends.

Friends who just listened. Friends who gave me long hugs. Friends who reminded me that I dont have to do everything myself. Friends who told me to go home and take a nap.

I count on my friends all of the time to help me put things into perspective. They help me remember how to swim around sharks and to stop every now and then for a breather.

I am no good to anyone when I’m drowning. So that pile of papers? A great reminder that I need to nurture myself. I need to do right by my self. I need to listen to my body when it tells me it’s tired, listen to my soul. I need to care for my self with the same gusto with which I care for others.

Yesterday was a bummer.


Today I took the time to thank each of the friends that helped me through yesterday. Spending that moment with each of them made my today even better. Today I put music on in my office and rocked out while I made my way through the piles. I asked for help with what felt like too much and let go of everything having to be just so. I laughed. A lot.

I talked about what was contributing to my stress and the processing with friends helped me move through the muck back into a space of calm.

Today, thanks to my friends, I was swimming in the chocolate pudding with long, even strokes.

Mmmmmmmm chocolate pudding.


bring on the hamster bubble!

I want one of those hamster bubbles.

You know the kind you can stick a hamster in and then watch it run around furiously on it’s little tiny legs while the bubble rolls around the room?

I want one. (Except mine is invisible and I’m not trapped in it and everyone around me isn’t laughing at how ridiculous I look.)

I want an invisible forcefield between me and all of the negative energy swirling around out there in the universe.

Not germs, I can handle germs, but some shield between me and those folks that just can’t seem to find the good in anything. My hamster bubble would only be penetrated by good energy. All of that other stuff…the nastiness, the disappointments, the dissatisfaction that everyone is dealing with and projecting out on to others…none of that can get in. I will just roll around all day in positive-bubble-wonderland.

I get that sometimes people need to whine and complain and just generally kvetch about this and that to get things off their chests. I’m a counselor, after all, it’s my job to help people work through those moments.  The world is crazy right now. Everywhere we turn there is tragedy, poverty, conflict, oppression.  The weather is all sorts of strange and the economy is terrible; everyone is completely stressed out in all sorts of ways.  Negativity is floating all around us, engulfing us; on the news, at work, on the road, in the world.

In this stressed-out, crazy world, it’s hard to find refuge from all of the rough-stuff and we end up taking it out on each other. We forget to say hello. We neglect to say thank you. We vent ad nauseum. We get caught up in all of the ugly stuff because sometimes it’s easier to see than the good.

I’m not throwing stones; while my glass is generally half-full, I have plenty of those nasty moments myself.

I get snarky and tired and hungry and hurt and disappointed and I take that out on other people. I hint that I need someone to give me the sympathetic face while I moan about my aching back or  beg for someone to snuggle me quickly to remind me that things will look up soon. I vent and bitch and moan and need someone to give me advice on how to solve a problem that’s nagging at me. I often need a friend to give me a fierce “snap out of it!” when I’m really on a whiney bender.

We all have our moments when we’re stuck in the rut, even those of us positive, optimistic, lemonade-out-of-lemons folks that rock the rose-colored glasses.  Life isn’t perfect and pretending that it is would be painful. I thank my lucky stars ten times a day for my family and friends and confidantes who indulge me with their time and their sympathy and their words of wisdom when I’m in the rut.

But at the end of the day, even when it’s been a really bad day, life is just easier when we can find the good in it.

And though it’s not perfect, in fact, it’s often incredibly hard, overall, life is pretty amazing. And if I allow myself to be consumed by all that is wrong, when I focus my energy on all that isn’t working, I fail to see all that is working, all that is good, all that I CAN do.

The positive energy can get sucked out of a space in the blink of an eye.

I can do that. I can suck the life out of a room when I’m in a bad mood.

We all can.

And, holy smokes, that’s a lot of power.

When I stop and think about the amount of people I interact with on a daily basis and remember that everyone I’m connecting with is getting some of my energy, for better or worse; that’s a lot of responsibility. And since the giant hamster bubble is probably not going to happen, I have to take care of my energy all on my own. I owe it to myself. I owe it to everyone that I interact with.

After all, in this crazy world, there are no invisible forcefields.

All we’ve really got is each other.  How cool is that?!

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