Stress

ADDICTION FROM A SHAMANIC VIEWPOINT

It is becoming clearer to many that addiction is a disease or illness, not a choice we consciously make that we should be punished for. God knows we punish ourselves and suffer enough in this life without “society” and law makers punishing us further simply because we are not well. A very long time ago I read that all disease could be seen as dis-ease i.e. not being at ease or at peace with ourselves. So is addiction to anything actually really just dis-ease? The roots of which lay in learned behaviour?

Addiction is, from my perception, certainly a symptom of a far deeper cause than that which lays on the behavioural, psychological and physiological surface.  Western medicine primarily always looks at symptoms and what can be seen, attempts to treat that solely usually with chemicals or surgery and rarely does it look for causes that to the naked or microscopic eye are unseen. Yet when we find and heal cause within ourselves of physical symptoms, dis-ease, or behaviour we do not find acceptable, would like to not be experiencing or are subconsciously participating in, the symptoms just simply no longer exist. From birth we are taught to seek outside ourselves for what we need to make us feel good – love, encouragement, nurturing, guidance, cuddles, belief in ourselves etc.

As the child of an alcoholic step-father and cigarette smoking mother their addictions became learned behaviour for me so it stood to reason that as they were the two main ways in which I was shown adults behaved and coped with whatever they were trying to cope with, that I would naturally follow in their footsteps. As a teenager from about 14 onwards after a rape situation occurred I began to consume cigarettes. Not long after when I left home due to the situation I was living in there, I began to consume alcohol and drugs to the point I damn near killed myself. Surviving on little food, drugs, cigarettes, coffee and alcohol was not at all healthy, nor was it a good mix, reducing my weight so dramatically after six months, the only clothes I could wear were size 16 children’s clothing and I was so unwell that not even my own mother recognised me.

I didn’t feel that anyone cared about me, so why should I care? What did it really matter whether I lived or not? All I wanted to do was have a good time and feel better. I did not want, at all, to feel the pain and sadness of not feeling loved, cared for, cared about or understood, of being hit, yelled at, controlled, nor the fear of the alcoholic induced, often physical, arguments and abuse I had been living with since about 6 years of age on a regular and totally unpredictable basis.

To say I, like so many people in this world, grew up in a dysfunctional environment is putting it mildly. My consumption of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes lessened for a short while after another whose love for me quite literally saved my life by showing me they were the only person in my life who did care which gave me the gift of hope and I once again started ingesting regular meals.   I then slid back into copious ingesting of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes whenever I got the opportunity to do so after I was involved in a fatal car accident at 17 in which the young man I had been living with for six months was killed. Back in those days there was no counselling available like there is now.

There was also no funeral and no grave for this young man who lost his life to a drunk driver at only 23 years of age. I was seriously injured and it took a good six months for me to learn how to walk again. The only words I heard at the time from my step-father were “Write down how much pain you are in each day so we can get more money.” The only people in my family who even said they were sorry I had been injured and this young man had died was my mother and one of my step-brothers.   For everyone else in my immediate circle it seemed to me to be a case of suck it up buttercup and just get on with your life.

Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol became my friends, they numbed me from feeling all that was going on inside me. They distracted me and they became my “pain killers”, my “feel good medicine” of choice because I simply had no knowledge of other coping skills I could utilise. The catch being, as all addicts know, is that once we start down this path our brains and our bodies tell us we need more and more “feel good medicine” and “pain killers” to maintain that feel good state of being, to actually cope and survive, to not feel all that pain, anger, grief and sadness living within us that is so very real and raw and it is a very slippery slope we travel until eventually we either kill our bodies or our lives fall apart so badly we hit rock bottom.

We have two choices if we actually do survive and hit rock bottom, continue as we have done and physically die, or trawl the depths and start to bounce back from what feels like the bottomless black hole we have been sucked into that also very much feels like a literal hell or nightmare there often seems to be no escaping from.   Thankfully I was one who chose to trawl the depths and bounce back when in 1992 at 28 I was again faced with my own impending physical death.

What I came to understand as I started to walk the path of the Shaman which was a path that at the time I had no clue I was even walking, was that I, like so many other folk in this world, was actually experiencing what in Shamanic terms is known as Soul loss.

Soul loss can best be described as us becoming like the walking dead, merely surviving, not living and thriving as was intended, simply because who we truly are is not fully present in our bodies.  Parts of us that have not wanted to feel grief, trauma, fear, shock, loss or pain have fragmented off into the subconscious abyss and in very simple terms it is like we are not fully at home in our bodies when we are ingesting substances or distracting ourselves with addictive behaviours or by external means in order to make us feel better or not feel our pain. It is literally like we have huge energetic holes in us, great gaping wounds that we defend, need others to fill, or don’t want to feel the pain of because they are so raw and we are so very vulnerable.

These energetic holes we have, we attempt to fill with external substances or means which consequentially then just make our bodies and our minds very sick indeed. We behave in ways not previously known to us once we start on the road of addiction and it is also not behaviour that those close to us know from us as being “normal”. How many times does the drunken or high person just not seem to be themselves? It is like we become totally different people, often aggressive, angry, totally uncaring and hurtful towards others simply because we are hurting and we just don’t give a damn. We become harmful to ourselves and others and we often have absolutely no memory the next day of our behaviour.

Our behaviour however is NOT us, it is a symptom or cover up if you like hiding whatever we have experienced or been conditioned to believe. How many times does the drunken or drugged person lash out in Jekyll and Hyde fashion?   You never really know what to expect but you just know that who you know that person to be is no longer present in the body in front of you.   This is because we are definitely NOT ourselves at all. Who we truly are is no longer contained in our bodies. What primarily happens with ingesting alcohol and drugs is that when who we truly are checks out of our bodies it’s like an empty house and other “darker” energies with perhaps not so good intentions take over.   This may seem like a very strange and far-fetched concept to many but perhaps for those who have lived it, seen it in others, you will know precisely what I am referring to.

So… how do we heal these gaps and holes we try to fill by external means? How do we stop this happening? How do we change our behaviour? How do we become fully present in our bodies and become whole, well and healthy again?   There is only one way I personally found and that was firstly to make a decision I didn’t want to be that way any longer given that I was so out of control at times, often very re-active, aggressive, defensive, angry, miserable, depressed and more times than not, suicidal.

I did not do the whole re-hab thing, nor did I do AA or have any other types of support in place similar to those, I just said enough when I was faced with my own impending physical death, for the fear of death at 28, which I no longer carry, put the wind up me, literally, and I prayed like I had never prayed in my life prior to be free of it all and to feel nothing but peace, love and acceptance within me.

What ensued was 10 solid years of feeling ever so much grief, trauma, pain, confusion and sadness as I firstly turned to alternative therapies to help heal my body because all the doctors I saw over a six month period all said there was nothing wrong with me – here have some Prozac, meanwhile my body was shutting down more and more each day.   I uncovered and discovered all my physical symptoms were due to constant abuse and unfelt emotions, which I also discovered did not just come from this lifetime but past lifetime experiences as well, all of which had resulted in symptoms associated with having a blocked small intestine and kidneys that were barely working.

I trusted all I was drawn to and underwent attunement to Reiki/Seichim, learnt how to work with my dreams, attended many courses, began walking, meditations and yoga, ate better, studied for two Diplomas in Counselling, one Holistic, one standard that also included some alternative modalities. I read all I could get my hands on, discovering along the way many fragmented parts of me, along with many gifts and skills I never even knew existed within me. Gradually my addictions abated but always there is work to be done.

Physical pains were always linked in with emotional pain, the true cause and source of which came to me either via dreaming or during meditations (which is really the same state of consciousness) and it truly was only in the fully feeling of ALL the emotions that bubbled up from within me and by integrating/re-membering i.e. bringing into being, the fragmented parts of me I re-connected with in The Dreaming, that eventually there was peace. I came to see that time did not exist as we know it to exist, that past definitely has an impact on the present until we heal it by fully feeling it and releasing it (shutting the door on it and just saying past is past, forget it and get on with your life, simply does not work) and that the emotions which came with memories or in the dreaming, meditations etc., were just energy passing through.

Rather than numbing those emotions, once felt and released, with each and every process of integration and release, a strength, love, acceptance, understanding and peace began filling me up like nothing I had ever experienced before. There is an old saying you may have heard of – The cup must be emptied before it can be filled.   This was certainly the case for me and I began to live by the motto which Jamie Sams brought into the world “To feel is to heal.”

Emotional pain is the LAST thing any of us want to feel – we do everything we can to avoid it yet it is only in feeling it, that we truly do heal it and are free of it. Was it easy work?   Definitely not.   Was it lonely work? It certainly was. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. For I learnt the hard way that no matter what I chose to ingest that was external to me, no matter how much I sought love and acceptance externally from others, no matter what I did to feel “better”, and no matter how “strong” I had been to just carry on Columbus and survive it all, the real strength came when I turned fully inward to find, eventually, all I needed was already inside me for me the love, peace, wisdom, knowing and acceptance I was seeking only came when I paid attention to what my dreams and daily life were showing me and what my memories and emotions were telling me about myself and about life. As I uncovered who I truly was I also discovered there would never be a need again for me to re-cover my Self.

To free ourselves from addiction is a huge undertaking as there is so much in this world we can become attached and addicted to. It is however achievable if we have the courage, faith and trust needed to turn inward, face our fears, grief, pain and trauma, feel it all fully and be free of it once and for all. Many of us are so busy telling our stories, which whilst important, does not enable us to actually feel the emotion contained in those stories for our stories come from our heads.

No-one can do this work for us, it is something we all must do for ourselves for it is only in doing for Self that we become more Self-aware, more Self responsible, heal and become more Self empowered. It is not at all selfish to do this work for it brings about self-centeredness, balance, peace, love, acceptance, respect for all life and an awareness of our wholeness with all life, like nothing else we have ever experienced can, all of which is then reflected back to us in the world.

The choice whether we do this work or not is entirely ours to make. We can keep going as we have been or we can quite literally turn our whole world and reality around by coming from the inside out and in doing so move out of the nightmare of externalism, blame, victim mentality, attack, defence and addiction.

Much love and peace to all.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright. C. O’Connor.

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#Cheryl O’Connor.
#Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.
* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis #Meditation.

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MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL

One of the most powerful words any of us can ever learn to use when we are communicating with others, besides no, is I.

For some folk that may seem an odd thing to say as it could be read that I am referring to being selfish – far from it.  There is a massive difference between being selfish and being self-centred and self-empowered.

What I have noticed consistently in my life, as I have observed interactions occurring between myself and others and between others, is that whenever “you” statements occur in a conversation as in “you have”, “you do”, “you do not”, “you are”, “you need to”, “you should” or “you must” etc., we are not coming from a space of Self-centred response, empowerment, love, peace or balance.

Ten times out of ten we are actually in the midst of a totally non thought about re-action (re-acting out an old subconscious behavioural pattern) as we busily, rudely, loudly and usually quite angrily fly off the handle and into another, not at all aware that we are projecting our own shadow and that which we do not see, or perhaps don’t want to see, hear or take responsibility for, within ourselves or about ourselves, onto another.

Whenever I hear “you” this or that, either from another or coming out of my own mouth or head in an attacking way my warning system rings a very loud alarm that screams like the robot from Lost in Space – Warning, Warning, Warning, Danger Will Robinson, Danger and the word “projection” blasts into my awareness. (Yes I know I am showing my age.)

One of the greatest challenges I personally face every single day are my own reality checks I feel compelled to make in relation to what I put out for others to read or not read, their choice, in terms of posters or articles.  If I personally am not living the truth of what I am putting out in my interactions behind the scenes – I want to know about it because often the folk closest to me in my life see me clearer than I can see myself.

I therefore have several folk who help me keep a check on that because I have specifically asked them to point that kind of thing out to me as it is so very easy to create words that others can resonate with, relate to, be motivated or inspired by but if my interactions with others behind the scenes of those posters or articles are not congruent with the words I am putting out, they hold no value to me, or you, the reader, whatsoever.

They would just be hollow meaningless hypocritical jibber jabber at the core. They would have no depth, truth or substance and would not be coming from a space of integrity, they would just be nothing but noise created to add to an already often very noisy world wide web full of information, opinions, stories, perceptions, re-actions and responses.

When we become self-aware enough to stop using “you” and come instead from a space of Self-centred peace, a desire to understand, response and love, in a balanced way and therefore state instead “I think”, “I feel”, “it appears to me”, “I am”, “from my perception”, “for me” etc., we ARE taking full responsibility for whatever is going on for us, within us, emotionally or cognitively. We are NOT projecting our own “stuff” onto anyone else, nor are we are blaming others for our own experience.   We are also not coming from a space of attack or defence, but a state of Self-aware empowered response.

Often when folk attack, for whatever reasons they are justifying in their own heads with whatever story they have created for themselves and fully believe, it is not only hurtful, it can sometimes be downright spiteful or misleading and it can often get very ugly very quickly, for the one attacked, quite rightly, feels a need to defend, explain, justify, attack back etc., and the result then often is a situation where more misunderstanding occurs due to intensifying energy building up and going back and forth in defence/attack/attack/defence style a bit like a tennis volley that just gets louder, more re-active and quicker as it gains momentum.

If we automatically re-act and attack or re-act to an attack and put ourselves in a situation upon being attacked where we do defend, justify and attack back we are just feeding a fire – yet when we remain silent that fire has no oxygen as such to keep it burning. It usually just dies down, for it runs out of the fuel (energy) needed to feed it and keep it burning and in the dying down you or I, or the person who was coming from the space of “you”, can, if they choose to, take a look at themselves in the mirror they were projecting themselves onto that is now non-responsive and just reflecting themselves back to themselves fully for them to clearly see and hear themselves.   This then becomes a huge gift for the attacking or blaming person to take a long hard look at their own projections, insecurities, justifications, stories, fears and emotional re-actions should they choose to do so.

A very useful thing I work on keeping in mind, which I have been working on for years and no it doesn’t always happen in all situations, is to NOT respond automatically to anything at all when I am feeling a strong emotional re-action to what has been projected with a “you” attack or via an emotional re-action I myself may have that I am projecting. I’ve found it is far more revealing when I stop and ask myself – What is this REALLY about? Why am I feeling this way? With every answer that comes to me I question it further and further until I find the gift in it for me to learn from.  I have also often found that those answers will come by way of a sleeping dream.

I always find there is a nugget of truth and a gift I am able to see in the mirror hanging on the wall in front of me who, from my perception, has been attacking me or who I have subconsciously been projecting my own stuff onto. Sometimes that nugget of truth has been an article such as this one, a poster I have created or that I have realised I needed to create better boundaries, respect my Self more, see clearer the wounds another is carrying, or the truth about another their projections are revealing.  Sometimes I need to take a closer look at my own wounds, distance myself from folk until they do look at their stuff and come back later or work through my own stuff alone, see how my words or actions have impacted on another or if need be walk totally away from another for this life time so they can deal with their own stuff that I no longer have the time, patience or energy to deal with if I am constantly met with rudeness and barriers when trying to sort an issue out.

This non-reactive business and learning to come from a space of response rather than automatic re-action has taken me a LOT of years’ work to get more of a handle on as up until not so long ago the not so peaceful warrior in me would come to the fore if warranted with a sword and shred an attacker to pieces verbally in one form or another.  That part of me has been known to be quite lethal and often folk have not known what’s hit them when I do allow that part of me to emerge and take flight when I feel I have been pushed too far or another has pushed someone else too far who I care about.

Perhaps as I am getting older I am actually getting wiser and whilst I have known for a long time how very much I enjoy peace and quiet without all the drama of youth and re-active projections coming from myself or at me from people of all ages, I am seeing another dimension to that old phrase – Silence is golden.  In so many situations I am seeing silence holds way more power, peace, learning and gifts than bringing out my warrior’s sword via an emotionally re-active tongue or mind,  expressed in person or via a keyboard.

My grandmother, bless her, in her attempts to get me to see this truth over the years I was growing up whilst she was still alive, when I would be ranting and raving about something or the other would often say to me – You’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar Cheryl.   Funny thing about that was she wasn’t always known for her diplomacy and tact and vinegar was often her unconsciously chosen medicine to dish out to others if she felt it was warranted.

I think though, whilst I have and never will qualify for the role of a diplomat, for a spade is a spade to me, not a bloodied pitch fork wrapped up in a bow, and I have an inbuilt tendency to just say it how I see it,  I finally understand exactly what she was saying.

For me at the moment vinegar has its place in my pantry and may still at times be necessary to use but I am finding more and more that honey experienced in Self-Centred, Self Aware and Self Empowered silence and peace is far sweeter, more fruitful and makes life way more enjoyable, palatable and digestible.
Cheers, Cheryl.  

Copyright. C. O’Connor.

Grab your free copy of my Dreamwork Booklet at http://bit.ly/CheocoNews when you sign up for my monthly Newsletter.

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* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.
* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis #Meditation.

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THE HEALING POWER OF THE BREATH

When our bodies become stressed due to pressure we feel is placed upon us or when we become anxious about anything the body produces adrenalin from the adrenal glands located near the kidneys. This adrenalin makes our hearts pump harder and faster to push blood to our larger muscles because adrenalin is naturally produced by the body for situations where we are faced with either a fight or flight for our lives scenario.

Whilst this is occurring our breathing becomes shallow which does not allow enough oxygen into our bodies. Lack of breath to the body can result in panic attacks, fatigue, further anxiety, emotional distress, depression, muscle tension, headaches and may also exacerbate the symptoms of people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The normal function of the breath is to bring oxygen which is life force energy into our bodies so that not only do we receive oxygen to stay alive but also so that we can exhale any toxins contained within the body in the form of carbon dioxide. A person can survive for a time without water or food but they cannot survive without oxygen.

It is therefore vital to our health and well-being that we remember to breathe in times of anxiety or stress. Bringing oxygen into the body where pain exists also assists that pain to lessen. As a baby and small child this came natural to all of us as watch any baby or young child and you will see they do not breathe into their chests but into their abdomens.

With our busy lives many of us have forgotten how to breathe deeply into our abdomens and instead only breath into our chests, which results in irregular or rapid breathing and that in turn heightens our stress or our anxiety and emotional distress. As less oxygen is available to our blood there is also less time available for our toxic carbon dioxide to be exhaled which can lead to us feeling very tired, lethargic and also depressed.

THE BENEFITS OF CYCLIC DEEP BREATHING ARE:-

  1. It increases the circulation of the lymphatic system which in turn speeds up recover and assists with our internal garbage disposal system.
  2. It aids our immune systems by giving us more energy to allow our bodies to regenerate, detoxify and self-heal.
  3. It assists to balance both the left and right sides of our brains, whilst also calming our nervous systems which in turn decreases our anxiety and the stress-related disorders many of us suffer due to our busy lifestyles and interactions with other people which we may find upsetting or stressful.
  4. Deep breathing can be used in any situation and requires no supportive tools to achieve it. All that is required is remembering to use this technique whenever you are feeling stressed, anxious or fearful.
  5. The time required to complete cyclic deep breathing exercises is minimal.

LIMITATIONS:-

 Should you be someone who is suffering from asthma or any other breathing condition the method of cyclic breathing may exacerbate your condition and it is therefore not recommended that you use it.

WHAT IS CYCLIC BREATHING?

Cyclic breathing is a technique used to calm both body and mind whenever anxiety, stress or fear are present.

It is done in rounds whereby you follow the sequence outlined herein in this example of what is known as Hoóponopono Breathing :-

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, both feet on the floor and place your hands either palms down in your lap or on your abdomen.
  2. Breathe as you normally would and be aware of your inflowing and outflowing breath.
  3. Start to breathe in to the count of seven.
  4. Hold your breath to the count of seven.
  5. Breathe out to the count of seven.
  6. Hold your breath to the count of seven.

This constitutes one round and the round should be repeated seven times.

Variations of this which can occur where counting is concerned can be:-

Breathe in to the count of three.

  1. Hold for three.
  2. Breathe out for three.
  3. Hold for three.

or:

Breathe in to the count of three.

  1. Hold for three.
  2. Breathe out for five.
  3. Hold for five.

Your counting should be slow and you should regulate your breath accordingly to your counting. For these additional ways of achieving cyclic deep breathing repeat the rounds until you feel calm.

You will find with practice that breathing deeply into your abdomen over time becomes normal to you once again as it did when you were a small child or baby. You should feel the rise and fall of your abdomen as you do the rounds.

To assist you with achieving this on a regular basis I recommend you do it three times a day, or more often if and when required. The more you practice it and get yourself into a regular rhythm with it the sooner it will become your normal way of breathing. Most new behavioural patterns take a while to develop into an unconscious habit. I have read that it takes our brains up to 21 days to form a new habit which requires no thought for us to do. I would however recommend you make a concerted effort to do it for a month on a regular basis.

 

Breath for WordPress Blog

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.  Images sourced from the internet – creators unknown.

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‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
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KILLER STRESS

Image

It seems fairly acceptable in our society these days to accept stress as “normal”. Technology designed to make life easier has in fact made life busier with a constant flow of information, requests and demands on our time and things to attend to all run by numbers on a calendar, in a bank account or on a clock that our thoughts about them react to.

More and more automated voice options on phones that don’t get you where you need to be to actually speak to a human being does not add relief to our stress levels as they provide less and less customer service along with more and more frustration. We have less time to grow and cook good food and less time with loved ones because we are all so “busy”.

Whereas once upon a time you wrote a letter, wandered down to the post box and posted it, it was received and you then waited for a reply these days as soon as an email arrives there is an inclination to attend to it almost immediately in order to continue on with what you are doing or to attend to some “urgent” matter that has suddenly arisen. It seems too that being more and more productive is constantly pushed by bosses in the name of profit and greed. Combined with that the volume of information available these days on the internet can be and often is quite overwhelming.

Where once upon a time you only heard local or national news now you are bombarded with news about disasters, insanities and atrocities from all over the planet wherever you go which generally speaking you are helpless to do a damn thing about other than to either feel empathy for those involved, have a re-action to which is usually either anger or sadness and be ever so grateful for your own situation in a country such as Australia. Or you can always just turn it all off.

The push for more and more productivity, more and more profit driven greed is massive though and as the planet’s health is affected by it, so too is ours. If we have a day where we simply can just take in no more information, where all we want to do is just roll the rock over the cave entrance and hibernate, stay in our jim jams and sloth about simply because we just cannot be bothered with any of it or we feel like we just cannot do anything more without some shutdown time, our conditioning is, generally speaking to think we are lazy or are being self-indulgent. In recent days even our government here in Oz has decided it’s a damn good thing if people born after a certain year now continue working until they are 70 before they will be able to receive any government assistance by way of a pension.

When folk get snappy at others it is usually because they are rushing around frantically with a million things in their heads all screaming for attention, they are not present at all. They are in fact either living in the past in their heads or living in the future and so the reason usually given for a snappy or rude attitude and tone of voice is in many situations tied in with stress.

We, as humans, are not computers where buttons can just be pushed and information is rapidly processed, yet by many and perhaps even ourselves we have become conditioned to expect we can. However even the best computers need de-fragging and deletion of old files when they start to run slowly. Many people too are so busy talking about all their dramas and stresses or whinging and gossiping about other folk there is simply no space or time for self-reflection or introspection. As for self-nurturing well that is just something many don’t have “time” for.

A typical day for most of us (not exactly in this order but you will get the gist of it) is being rapidly brought out of sleep by a screaming “alarm”, so we are “alarmed” before we even get out of bed, a frantic rush out the door to get to where we need to be trying to make sure we have all we need, a day being bombarded with “stuff” by much and many, a frantic rush to get children where they need to be (if we have them), a frantic rush home to do whatever needs doing that night and then a run around situation on a weekend just to get ready for the following week. Folk work incredibly long hours to maintain jobs many really are not even happy doing, to either just survive or to pay off debt they have acquired to buy “stuff” they are usually so busy working to pay for they don’t get much time to enjoy the “stuff”, nor do they get much time to spend with those in their lives who they love and care about.

It all seems like total insanity to me and always has done even though I too have participated in it for several decades.

At some point in our evolution we have gone from a day that consisted of a natural rhythm of waking up at sunrise, washing and gathering our food for the day, making things we needed, not wanted (there is a massive difference) all of which nature provided us with the resources to do, spending time with our “tribe”, cooking, laughing, planting, caring for each other, telling stories, making music, harvesting crops and living a very simple but way more fulfilling life to my way of thinking than we all presently have and then going to sleep not too long after the sun went down. What we call “stress” has been part of humanity forever for it actually comes from the fight or flight response we all contain.

When “stressed” the adrenal glands create adrenalin which then makes our hearts pump faster and harder so that blood can be moved to our big muscles in order that we have enough oomph to either fight, literally for our very lives, or take flight rapidly to save our lives. We also breathe rather shallowly when stressed so not as much oxygen is available to pump our blood. The whole purpose of “stress” and the impact it has on our bodies is purely about survival and was designed to last for only a very short time to keep us safe. I became aware recently that it is seen to be a 15 minute maximum scenario.

So, what happens when we are “stressed” constantly – high blood pressure happens, sore throats happen if we are not speaking our truth, anxiety happens, nervous disorders happen, lack of sleep happens, headaches happen, muscles ache and so many other horrid impacts to our body, emotions and minds happens and whilst we all know stress isn’t healthy for us and we tout it is a killer – it is indeed very much a killer by nature of the human body when experienced on an ongoing basis. It is very often the case that unless or until it makes us really sick we just carry on Columbus with it as a constant companion.

I am speaking from hard learnt experience here and often it is the case that you really don’t realise just how stressed you were until you move into a space of not being stressed. For a time it is actually a really weird feeling to not be stressed, to not be racing around like a lunatic and to not be constantly achieving or producing. Many people when they start experiencing stress symptoms like digestive disorders and other apparent signs like I have mentioned above have the inbuilt conditioning to go see a doctor and get some pills so they can “carry on”. The pills they take have possible “side effects” which aren’t really things that happen on the side and are in fact effects and whilst yes for some pharmaceuticals are the answer for more and more of us they are fast not becoming the answer. The western medical system is a whole other topic and for some it works, for some it doesn’t. This article is not about that particular system for better or for worse or about my giving anyone advice. Essentially though what I have learned is that whenever we aren’t feeling well it is always a sign that the body wants and NEEDS rest and that in all situations where my own body is concerned there is a blockage of energy that needs releasing.

So what causes stress? Quite simply our own thinking causes the bulk of our stress. As an example I once was travelling to the city to work, the train was delayed due to an electrical failure totally out of rail employee’s control. They took action to get the fault repaired, they called for buses to take stranded passengers to where they needed to go and they informed all passengers what was going on.

There were well over a couple of hundred folk who this electrical fault impacted on. There was quite simply nothing more the rail employees could do about any of it and people just needed to ring their employers, inform them they would be late and wait for the buses. Most were fine with that but several became so anxious and extremely rude, loud, aggressive and obnoxious towards the rail employees simply because things hadn’t gone according to their plan that morning and so yes now they would be late for work. Their thoughts about whatever they were now going to be late for and perhaps how their own bosses would re-act to them being late were a trigger that created such a scene many fellow commuters were embarrassed by their behaviour and it led to many feeling and expressing empathy for the railway employees.

There is a story in Women Who Run With The Wolves. You can find it on page 328. If you don’t have a copy of this incredible and always life changing book of many stories for those who have read it, I do suggest you track down a copy, you will not regret it. I’ve had my copy since the early 90s and I still find such a lot of information, wisdom and inspiration within its pages.

The story I am referring to is called The Three Gold Hairs. It fits extremely well into the scenario of stress in our “modern world” and its impact on us. We actually become the old and withered dying man in that story as more and more stress envelops us until there comes a time where we simply cannot go on any longer with the pressure of the work “force” sucking away at us and impacting on us as we stagger through the dark forest with stress as our companion, primarily due to this whole work till you drop, constantly achieve and produce mentality that has become the norm for so many of us. We are really beings not doings and whilst yes there are things we need to do it appears to me we become healthier, more alive, more patient, more accepting and more energised when we do what we love to do, not what we feel or think we have to do.

It is a very necessary part of the feminine nature of life regardless of the sexual gender of our bodies to stop, to rest, to restore, to sleep, to dream and to nurture ourselves and to not allow our thoughts or the energy of others to create stress which engulfs us, for we are a bit like freshly baked juicy apple pies – steaming hot out of the oven and all will want a piece of us – just remember to always leave some for yourself and to bake yourself a new pie before you run out.

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

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