From a Discussion on Shilpan’s guest post. (now offline)
Hans Selye was an early researcher into stress. He defined 2 types – distress and eustress. The second of course a positive stress like falling in love. Both can have similar biological responses but one tends to be a motivator, the other a demotivator, as you observe. Stress has a tendency to trigger the fight or flight (or freeze) response which shuts down digestion and the forebrain, the place where we are more conscious and have more problem solving skills. As you observe, stress thus reduces our ability to deal with what confronts us.
A lot of it has to do with response. How we choose to respond. Articles like this help bring us awareness of the dynamics, using tools like journaling and presence. Another way we can look at stress is resistance, hence the characteristics you describe. The steps you suggest allow us to allow, to come to terms with what is.
Your point about clutter is also key. External clutter is a sign of internal chaos and decluttering can help. Outer healing inner. But its also good to recognize that some people use clutter as an emotional barrier. They use it to emphasize the Aloofness aspect but in effect, are in Aloofness to how they feel. These can be very unhappy people. People who need to read your post.
Its worth noting Creative Lee Silber’s observation that some creative people like ‘all away’ (put away) and some like ‘all out’. Right brain thinkers are more lateral and may like to organize things in a visual space, seen. This apprent clutter is a reflection of their non-linear organization. This is not the same thing as the clutter of expressed emotional disorder. The creative will know were things are and surround themselves with things of personal value and interest. The emotional junkie will surround themselves with chaos, meaningless distractions, and, well, trash. I also know someone who is a creative and emotionally chaotic, so all things are possible. Picture a house and yard with both aspects. (laughs)
We experience stress when we feel we loose control. Its also useful to see that this arises in our perspective. We seem to lose control or gain control. This sense of control or not control is all about our story of the world. I screwed up. This can’t be happening. I did it. etc. It is the ego that experiences stress because it is the ego that feels it must control. Stress arises when the world doesn’t sync with our story about it.
What is even more powerful for releasing stress is stepping out of the idea that there is anything that needs to be controlled. Do the birds or flowers worry about that? If we can step into the sense of being OK with what is, as Eckhart Tolle speaks, we eventually step out of stress altogether. In a deeper sense, stress arises from fighting what is.
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t make changes and improve our life. Just that if we’re caught in the drama of our illusory control, the only change we’re making is in our view of the illusion. Ultimately, Shilpan’s 5 steps will walk us out of the illusion altogether. Then stress will be like a line drawn on the water rather than on rock.