On various occasions I jokingly tell my students that they are driving me to a state that only Dr. Phil himself would be able to re mediate. Actually this is how I say it, “Y’all are making me crazy, and I’m going to have to see Dr. Phil!” This statement was made so frequently that one time a student reported to me that he had, after my frequent endorsements of the good Dr.’s skills, in fact, watched Dr. Phil and found the show to be boring with a capital B. “All’s they do is talk for an hour, Mrs. B.” He went on to say, “That show is horrible, you could do something better with your time.” I cracked up. Actually, the entire class was thrown into fits of laughter. This kid talked a lot. For him to say Dr. Phil talked too much was irony in its purest form.
Last weekend I really needed some therapy. At the wise age of 30 plus 12, I have come to the realization that stress happens. And, the secret to being happy is how one deals with that stress. There were two choices: either I let the stress consume me, or I work within the resources life offers me. The old me would be consumed by the stress. The over 40 me knows that I only have 40 to 60 years left, so I better make good on the years that are left.
It is easy to think correctly, however following through can be an entirely different story. Trust me I know. My mind knows how to eat in a way that would help me get down to a size 8. My taste buds say that size 12 food is better. Thus far, the mind is not winning the argument.
I don’t know about you, but I can be the same way about stress. It is easy to say, don’t let things get to you, but it’s another to live it. Likewise, it’s easy as a person of faith to say, leave the burdens to God because he’ll take care of them, and it’s another to live that way. Knowing and living are two different concepts. It was time for me to live what I know to be true. I help my kids practice skills, before they apply them. It was time for me to do the same for myself.
Last weekend, I went with a group of teenagers to Dreamchasers Horse Rescue in New River. And who would have thought the phrases horse doo and group of teenagers would be in a story that explains how to gain healthy perspective, but here it is. The Dreamchasers Horse Rescue is open to volunteers. That means, cleaning up horse doo, feeding the horses, brushing the horses and as seen in the prior blogs taking care of other animals as well. The thing is, the animals that we were taking care of, had been in situations that would make a PETA person see beyond red. Normally horses are sensitive, these horses were ultra sensitive. Being calm at all times was the only way to be around them and not cause havoc. The horses didn’t mind raucous laughter, which does happen with 13 year olds. However, if there was any tension in demeanor, the horse didn’t want to have anything do with us. We learned pretty quick how to be calm.
In other words, I had to leave the stress to life and deal peacefully with whatever life dealt me to handle. This was the practicing what I knew to be true. After six hours, all the pressures were still there, but they weren’t stressors. They were things that I could accomplish if I organized them.
This week was, as my students would say, “beast.” I worked easily 60 hours. With the exception of my confession of going to bed by 9 p.m. on Friday night nobody would have really known. The old me would have treated the high pressure like a flu bug and withdrawn fearing that my stress was contagious. The new me saw my friends as relief from the pressure. They helped me through the moments with encouragement and laughter. The best part, the kids were scared of how calm I had become. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love easy days as much as the next person; but if I had to live this week over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.