Your Mood is Your Medicine

“Stress and Have-To’s”

Posted: February 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

It’s 5:48 am. Theoretically I could sleep for another hour, or do yoga, which is my plan since I’m already awake. Realizing my nine year old son is already downstairs I sneak down to make sure he hasn’t gotten up early just to play video games. And to once again ask why he’s up so freakin’ early. As soon as I get to the bottom of the steps my four year old pops out of her room. Crap.  ”Go back to bed” I tell her “It’s too early to be up.”  Of course I’m really thinking about how tired and grumpy she’ll be when I pick her up from school after I’ve been at work and am too tuckered out to resist the “mommy can I’s?”

So, starting my day without yoga or quite enough sleep, and wishing for things to be well, other than they are- is what we normally call “stress.”  I recently found out that in Chinese, the closest thing they have to “stress” is what some Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners call Liver Qi stagnation- in more common terms this translates as “unfulfilled desires.”  Which is really kind of interesting because well, my life with children and probably your life with work or loved ones or food or whatever is loaded with “unfulfilled desires.”  ( If not, please email me privately and I’ll set up some classes for you to teach on “stress management :)

So after a conversation with another acupuncturist friend, joking about our various unfulfilled desires, I began to think about what I could do, besides have an acupuncture treatment and eat a rather um, austere, diet to absolve the numerous ramifications in my body of these unfulfilled desires.  Especially because being as yet not financially flush, so to speak (we’ll talk later about how come we don’t teach each other the actual finances of raising children.)  I couldn’t figure out how to take a quarterly mommy vacation along with three family vacations and a couple couple’s retreats.  As though that would actually solve the dilemmas.

Because I had dishes to do, I decided to start with saying “I love to do the dishes,” trading in my “have to.”  And as it felt a little insincere, I began to think about how I might love doing the dishes- maybe as a way of loving myself, because I love it when my house feels clean (which it rarely ever does), and realized that by doing the dishes I was actually fulfilling one of my unfulfilled desires! And furthermore, not creating any more upset in my body (i.e. “stress,” blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, emotional eating ;) about wishing someone else would do the dishes or go back to bed or whatever have you unfulfilled desires I could create by fighting against the flow of what is already in front of me.

Surprisingly I felt less tired that afternoon than I usually do, and I realized that I had saved a ton of energy that day by not fighting internally about how tired or frustrated she (my daughter), I or anyone else might be.

Of course, it was not, as my grandmother liked to say “A one- walk dog.”  Like anything else this practice will take well, Practice.  And practice makes… well, almost.

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