You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘stress’ tag.

FullSizeRender-3My cellphone was right on time.  Yup, I set the alarm clock to start ringing at 530AM.  A short two night respite in the country had come to an end.

Now, meetings, appointments, errands and projects waited for me back in the city.  On our campus people would be buzzing with activity.  This was an “all hands on deck” kind of event as we celebrated our new campus.

Sometimes I stack my calendar with day after day filled with activities.  This was one of those weeks.  Nevertheless, in the middle of the week I creatively squeezed two nights in the country.

Yes, it just means that I order myself to relax.  “Now, relax!  Start to unwind quickly before time runs out!  Hurry up!”  It’s comical, unrealistic yet the reality of the life l live.

My routine to get to reenter the faced paced life of my role at the seminary was about to kick in again.  I expressed my gratitude to my hosts, loaded my gear and drove out the gate of their fabulous ranch.  My sleepiness was tugging at my eyelids.

Down the country road for a short distance blended me on to a State Highway.  Traffic was non-existent.  Fog shrouded the landscape and turned everything into a monotone.

My radio kept me company.  Memories of the last few days played out in my mind.  Then, a morning hope became my entertainment.

The distant Texas sky exploded out of the low-lying fog.  A monotone world was shattered with splendid vibrant colors.  Our sun with its signature blazing ball was creeping over the horizon.

Now, it was show time for the Creator.  He put this drama into motion when He made this world.  The physics, the astronomy, the aesthetics, the life, the sensation are knitted together for a daily spectacular show for anyone to enjoy.

A sunrise wipes away the fear of what the day will bring.  There is a power and size in His presence all too magnificent to ignore.  We at least naturally grin and the pleasure and reminder of His display that He is still in charge.

We humans worry too much and trust too little.  He still invites us to warm up under His generous grace and relax with a touch of His mercy.  Step more lively into the day as He welcomes us into His care.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

Advertisements

IMG_0841-1Stress is a modern-day downer.  It creeps into everyone’s life.  At first it is subtle and only modest in occupying our routine.

That’s why it’s a beast.  Slowly, incrementally this small influence grows into a controlling behemoth.  The rheostat keeps turning up the heat and before you know it we have been overwhelmed.

Busy people snap.  We fold under the constant pressure.  Our health is compromised and our well-being slides into the realms of darkness.

Wise living means that we manage our stress.  We can never get rid of it.  It is a part of living to those who live to make a difference.

Fishing helps me cope.  There are very few activities that I totally rest my mind from the heavy responsibilities on my daily plate. Some how this activity takes my soul to another place where I can recuperate, rejuvenate and restore.

Karl invited me to enjoy his ranch.  I planned it into my schedule with delight.  That kindness was one that I gladly welcomed.

This visitation was marked on my calendar and I protected it with administrative dexterity.  Deftly I redirected other appointments and demanding issues around those dates.  My smile grew wider as those days drew closer.

Finally, with my duties complete I drove West.  My gear was neatly stowed in my pickup truck bed.  The scenery of the civilization melted behind me.  Now, the country engulfed me.

The next morning Gary and Klark picked me up in an ATV.  We talked fishing all the way down to the lake.  Strategy, tackle, technique and ideas flourished.  The only noticeable thing missing were any promises. There is a reason why this activity is called “fishing” and NOT “catching”.

When we stopped on the shore, it was involuntary to pause.  The view was captivating.  Mirrored on the stone stilled lake water was the skyline of jade green trees, sparkling blue sky and lazy puffy cumulus clouds.

Stress-slaying relaxation was taking over.  The kind of smile that emerges at such a moment is soulish. Deep within a revived spirit sings.

My tackle box offered many options.  Scanning with experienced eyes I remembered that my quarry from a distant state had found a black and white rattletrap tantalizingly appetizing.  Trying to read the waters I chose to retrieve my offering along a submerged tree.

The pull and tussle were familiar.  An arching throbbing fishing rod tip was electrifying.  Finally, after the catch the release showed domination and gratitude. Ah, so relaxing.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

FullSizeRender-1Yes, I was thinking about work when my friend was driving me around for a tour of his longhorn cattle.  When he pointed out a feature of his beasts, I could tell that he was proud of them.  Moving in and out of his conversation was something I do all of the time.  Some call it multi-tasking.

The bright sun made me squint.  Turning my head away and raising an open hand to block the almost painful splashes of light gave me pause.  These massive animals suddenly captured all of my attention.

One of them stood up.  It was huge!  We drove our ATV right next to it and she turned her head to take in what she already sensed was near.  The massive horns deftly avoided hitting anything or hurting anyone.

She shifted her position, unfazed by the presence of human beings.  For now she looked around for some other position to take and then laid down again.  Her cud was keeping her casual and completely relaxed.

That was what arrested my busy mind.  She was totally and completely relaxed.  There did not seem to be a care in the world that would make her alert, nervous, anxious or concerned.

She had a calf that was exploring the world.  It was only days old.  Maybe Mama was recuperating from giving birth or maybe she took the down time that she was due.

Who knows what cows are thinking?

I was surprised by the conversation going on in my head.  But it dawned on me that I had not been thinking about work for the last several moments.  Her relaxation was having an impact on me.  I liked it.

Several other cattle were taking her lead.  They too had found a comfortable place in the pasture to lie down.  Their blood pressure levels seemed to be as casual as hers.

I was enjoying the warmth of the sun.  Easy moods seemed to multiply for me.  In that pleasant Texas morning it was easy to “chill” and take in the ease of being alive and stress-free for the moment.

A slow pace, relaxed atmosphere, simple style and basic comforts of the area were all that I needed.  Some how the busy face paced life back in the city melted away.  Who knows what cows are thinking?  I do.  They are thinking about nothing at all.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

Christmas 2014 105Step away from the pressure.  When life becomes complicated and confusing, make sure that you get away from those issues just for a moment.  Refresh your soul and you will last longer at whatever you are doing.

When our field trip stopped at the end of the road, we were transported to a place where we could rest, relax and release.  Each of us stepped out of our vehicles and quietly smiled.  It was natural reaction to close our eyes and breath in and exhale with a deliberate effort.

The view into Simi Valley, California was wonderful.  Sunny skies enveloped us in our destination.  Off in the valley we could see enough trees and foliage to sense that life was here and tugging at our hearts to sooth our stressful lives.

There was the distance rumble of heavy equipment.  Hard working men were building something.  Vehicles off on a road far away looked like ants on a journey to a particular destination.

Men had built houses in the landscape.  Farmers had planted crops that were growing.  Others had small orchards with fruit that had long been harvested.

The ribbon of man-made roads woven in between parcels of land.  They determined the route of busy drivers going from place to place.  Engineers in part followed the contours of the land for these pathways of commerce.

In the bigger picture the rendezvous between sky and land was a standout.  The skies were grey, purple and white.  They shaded the distant mountains with their lavender hue.

On the earth green captured the lion’s share of the vistas.  Light green decorated the pastures.  Dark green colored the forests and trees.

The details did not occupy my mind.  It was the big picture.  Everyone of the humans running around in that portrait were filled with troubles, stress and problems.

Individual difficulties seem to be diluted to insignificance from so far away.  That thought gave me more reason to pause in a new world.  It was a moment but a moment well lived.

Tranquility is a rare commodity in our busy lives.  For some life is unbearably brutal.  Others it is so filled with responsibility and stress that two lives cannot bear the pressure let alone one.

But, when moments afford themselves and we can decompress, a rejuvenated life can go back and tackle the challenges that will still be there.  Find a place to breath deeply.  Then, return there often and enjoy His design for rest.

photo credit: brucefong photography

Categories

Advertisements