Stress — Let’s Deal with It, Really!: Some Simple Thoughts

(Mike DePung — Post 197)

Stress! Big topic these days. Stress — what do I really know about it? Wait, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s killing me, and I don’t even know how it’s happening. Now, I feel sick.

Okay, I’m making a point. Yes, professionals discuss many fine points of the phenomenon, but most folks, common everyday people like me, only know some things stress us out. However, as I thought of this last night and this morning, I realized the premise is wrong — no big news, I suppose, but certainly the inexact use of language does not help in any way to resolve stress or use it to our advantage.

Things don’t stress us out. People, places, events, circumstances, don’t cause me stress. I do that; I am the source, the cause, the mover and the stress shaker. All these elements are benign, for the most part, until Ego grabs ahold of something and makes us start reacting.

I’m not even sure how to technically categorize stress. I have seen different versions, but I want to only consider two kinds of stress and one solution: good stress, bad stress, and knowing and following Heart.

Good stress pushes me to complete responsibilities. Let me be unequivocally clear here: ego will make you responsible to everyone for their approval or rebuke or some other reason. True responsibility begins with self-awakening and self-awareness. Core Self establishes the terms of responsibility for you, no one else, if we know Self. If not, almost anyone else will step in to fill the void.

Therefore, good stress results from factors that don’t challenge life purpose because Heart motivates the action. This good stress would include those little daily necessities of life we can complete and then forge ahead with our life purpose goals of the day. Usually, we have feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction upon completing these, because whether directly or indirectly, they contribute to expressing core Self.

On the other hand, bad stress expresses ego concerns and produces feelings of guilt and anxiety if not done. Bad stress usually has little or nothing to do with core Self. In fact, stress can be put to a test: do the factors stressing you out have to do directly with your life purpose? Anything creating stress that is not in harmony with your personal truth represents Ego seeking to take the place, to usurp Heart and all those dreams, visions, missions, and goals which express life purpose, the one you co-created.

Oh, wait, you didn’t co-create a life purpose? Well, then, there’s your problem and the point of this mini-treatment of stress. If you have not awakened to and identified your core Self, your truth, and determined how to live in expression of love to yourself and the world, Ego will have a field day making you feel responsible to anybody and everybody, or maybe even worse, nobody.

A self-awakened individual will feel many responsibilities and act responsibly towards fellow human beings; however, the stresses resulting from that create significance, fulfillment, and peace and joy and love. Okay, gets a little sappy in one way, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Especially money, which seems to form the basis of most of my unhealthy stress.

Why this for me? Because I have not fully replaced my income I made when I taught, I am tempted to forsake writing. My work right now as a writer of discovery of self involves somewhere around sixty hours a week, and I haven’t made a penny from it. I will, but in the meantime, the ego urge is to keep trying to find a full-time job. And I feel the stress of ego and possible disappointment about leaving writing dreams unfulfilled. (Not gonna do it.)

Oh, I know some people think writing can coexist with a full-time job, and that is true for many things. A job in education, however, requires the same degree of emotional investment for me that my writing does, and I’m intense in many ways but not that intense. My Heart urges me, commands me, to write — if I am to live my truth and fulfill my purpose.

What is a comparable stress for you? Identify it. Write it down. Way, way, way beyond that, though, spend time listening to your heart.

What is your truth?

Who are you, really?

What word could represent you in that truth, be an auxiliary name for you? (Mine is Discovery!)

With that as a characteristic, what life purpose will express You? (Co-creation with Spirit, Heart)

What form will that take for the immediate future? (Vision)

What actions will you need to take to make this a reality? (Mission)

What will you do this week on a work basis to create this? (Goals)

Anything not consistent with the above answers? Discard it, walk away from it, battle it, whatever needs to be done, because it will create stress, unhealthy, dream-killing, and maybe body-killing stress. Not worth it, my friend.

Ego sees dreams, visions, and all those good things as risks and seeks to keep us safe. Why risks? Because society norms say be a good little student, be a good little worker, get a good little spouse…you get it. Ego says conform. Non-conformity is a risk, but that is where the Heart operates, because you are not me or anybody else.

But You, your core, essential Self is worth risk and will always seek expression. If we don’t give creation to that expression, we will live immensely more stressful, disappointing lives. I count it a privilege if in any way I have helped you to think about You. You and I, We are worth thinking about from our Heart, risking and reveling in non-conformity, and enjoying the fruit of personal responsibility, healthy stress, and giving substance to our dreams.