Stress, Anxiety and Basic Trust PART TWO: Coming to Terms with the Fates and Furies
In Part One on this subject, I looked at the connection between stress and our relationship to our own deepest being, the Self. In this post, I examine the way that stress plays out in our daily lives, and some possible ways in which we can reduce the impact of stress.
In these economically stress-laden times, it’s possible to feel ourselves getting more and more drawn into fear. The economic news plays right into one area of sensitivity that nearly everyone has: the money complex. Money, wealth, prosperity, “having enough” — these are all very emotionally laden concepts and symbols. The continual diet of dark economic news that we are subjected to recently plays right into our deepest fears about our security, and for many people conjures up feelings and traumas that have their deep roots in the family of origin.
Touchstones In the Midst of Stress
1. Are you keeping up your connections with friends, and people you love and cherish? Do you need to renew your contacts with people who care about you?
Staying involved with friends and people who are close to you is a great way to feel connected and grounded, and to keep your focus. Isolation can lead to increased obsession with worry and fear. Are you staying in touch with the people who matter to you? Are you enjoying their company? Are you making the distinction between superficial contact with others and being deeply in touch with those who love you.
2. Are you staying connected to ultimate things?
What about your ultimate values? For most of us there is something that is of fundamental importance in life, whether you call it God, Goddess, the Self, the Ground of Being or Truth. Whatever symbols are meaningful to you, connecting with them can give a sense of value and stability to life. For many people, the sense that there is a destiny for me, something which is seeking to emerge in my life — which will emerge in my life — is a source of hope and strength in the face of anxiety.
3. What about connecting to your physical self?
Whether it is through exercise, yoga, or some form of body work, connecting with and experiencing your body can bring reduced overall tension and fatigue in your body. This is certainly true, but even more importantly, experience of the body can help me feel real and substantial. It can even help me feel like I have a home in the universe, that I belonghere. In the face of the sense of financial threat, which some on the religious right are even prepared to characterize as the judgment of an angry and wrathful father God, connection with the body can bring awareness of our connection and rootedness in the Great Mother. We can share a sense that our life is a participation in what Matthew Fox has called the “original blessing” of the universe, rather than a sense of condemnation and festering guilt and fear.
4. How are you relating to your creative and imaginal self?
In the midst of our current lives, the greater Self is seeking to come into realization. The ways it does this usually have to do with different kinds of awareness, and differentapproaches to our inner life and to the outer world than we habitually use. If we can work with those different ways of experiencing, it can help greatly with feeling grounded and feeling real. Many people find that working with clay, painting, making music dancing or other creative and imaginative “ways” or methods can bring a sense of rootedness and reality to their lives. Also, it can be of great value to engage in active imagination, but I do not recommend that you use this technique without the assistance of someone who has been thoroughly trained in Jungian analysis.
My very best wishes to each of you on your individual journeys to wholeness,
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© 2009 Brian Collinson