STRESS, some theories

Stress.  An interesting phenomenon.  Transparent, yet physical.  Ubiquitous.  Contagious.  It’s all mind rolled into an uncomfortable mass, teeming and writhing in the gut — a deranged tuber.

My fifth grade teacher was once a missionary in Central America.  There was a man, she recalled, who was frighteningly skeletal and continued to shrink, daily.  When he finally went to the doctor for a diagnosis, he opened his mouth and a tape worm fluttered from it.  I didn’t eat meat for weeks.  I also periodically remember this – this being one of the worst visuals of my life – to liken it to whatever is bothering me at the moment.  In this case, it is stress, the insatiable parasite who eats us  from the inside out.

You might visit a doctor, an acupuncturist, a college student, and hear the word tossed around.  Stress.  A formidable foe.  The root of all evil.  But I’ve come to realize that acknowledging its existence is not the first step to recovery.  Pretending like I’m the reincarnation of Gandhi doesn’t help either.  In fact, the more I type this with the intention of offering an ultimate solution, the more pronounced it seems to become.  I must focus on other things.  I must quietly mine for peace.

It seems like stress, or the absence of it, has lately become a fixation of mine.  It has become the ultimate virtue to me — to not have it.  And it is a virtue.  It does do the body good to not worry about things you cannot change within the hour.   But then comes the moment when my voice starts to raise.  Separating from my body, I watch myself insist on proving how not stressed I am.  My head begins to spin in an effort to balance my conflicting emotions.   My laugh is a cough, fooling no one.  Meanwhile, the gluttonous tapeworm eats and eats…

In the morning, every morning, the day begins with this:

This step also includes some unconscious waiting, depending on how you prefer your tea, and what tea you are brewing.  2-3 minutes, in the instance of this twilight ti kuan yin.

In case you’re wondering if I could be a bigger douche for mentioning what tea I am brewing, I can sure try.  But seriously, the minutes and temperature?  Totally makes a difference.

It makes a difference when you’re inhaling it, when  the warmth of it hugs you just right.

Friend, as it turns out, stress is no good.  It is always only yours, unique to you.  And clearly, everyone else is stressing in their own way too.  I suppose I’ll try to find no more shame in it.  To do my best, to starve it.  With tea.  A good night’s rest.  Colin Firth’s six-video Pride and Prejudice?  There is also bit of solace in the bird bowls.  Maybe we can share stratagems, next time we meet?

I actually have a few more projects I’ve been slightly consumed with.  Can’t wait to show them to you.  Until then?  Have a wonderfully sweet week.

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