Sitting in the GP office yesterday morning where a poster on the wall said “Stress! One in five of us will experience it.” And here I am – feeling like a fool… experiencing it…
So, a couple of weeks off to relax and take stock, trying to get back into good habits of maintenance and taking advice about high blood pressure, stress in the workplace and, frankly, wondering how on Earth I forgot to relax. But that’s the way it goes – the wheel buckles when you stop paying attention and smack right into a pothole! But it also buckles more slowly (but just as surely) when you don’t take a few minutes to check the spokes are tight and in good condition.
And the reasons for my stress? Just the usual according to the poster. Banging my head against a brick wall, trying to change things that aren’t in my control and holding on when I should be letting go – stuck on a treadmill of frustration and unrealised wishful thinking when what I really need to do is remember what my Buddhist teachers have told me – stop trying so hard! I was reading Bodhipaksa’s blog about acceptance on the Wildmind website and he told a story of a man who wanted to become a master sword maker:
“How long will it take?” he asked.
“About five years,“ the Master answered.
“And what if I try really hard?”
The Master looked at him and replied “About ten years.”
The problem arises, of course, when you are trying to change things that are stuck fast. As a social worker, I really should take more heed of the old light bulb joke:
Q: How many social workers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. But only if the light bulb really wants to change!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
If they want to change, they will. Meanwhile, there is a choice. It’s time to restore some balance and get back onto my own path – practicing the Metta Bhavana and walking with my dog and a healthy snack along the road less travelled.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
– The Road not taken. Robert Frost, 1920