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  • Writer's pictureJill Brocklehurst

Under Pressure

“ 'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word

And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night

And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves”

~ David Bowie & Freddie Mercury

In the early spring, I purchased a sport watch. It has been an interesting journey as I compare my perceptions with the measured data. It kinda reminds me of the “Stories versus Facts” conversation… but that isn’t what I want to talk about today.

The particular challenge I am currently up against is the recharging of my ‘Body Battery’. Although I get an average of 8 - 8.5 hours of sleep (which, in my mind, seems great), the quality of of my sleep is lacking. This is weird to me, because I am one of those people whose head hits the pillow hard and I black out until morning.

What the statistics are showing me, however, is a high percentage of time spent in the REM sleep stage, which I attribute to dreaming and talking in my sleep. Apparently, I actually don’t recover enough during sleep because of a high level of stress. This seems so crazy. Even my increased doses of relaxing herbs haven't made any difference.

This morning, my body battery started at 52% and I am already down to 37% with the recommendation, “Your battery is a little low for this time of day. Try to find some moments to relax and recharge.”

During my morning meditation and journalling practice, I decided to pull a card from one of my Tarot decks for reflection (Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen). OMG, if I didn’t grab the ‘Stress’ card. It states that, “Perfectionists create stress, with the thought that without us nothing succeeds – especially the way we want!” Hmmm, sounds familiar to the controller I can be.

My frustration lies in my habitual monkey-mind that plays with ‘the wheel of worry’. I believe I am not alone in this… that many of us can be our own worst enemies by constantly expecting ‘more’ of ourselves. One morning this week, I awoke at 3 am, my mind racing with worries about our incomplete taxes and the looming tax deadline. "What a mess”. “How can I move this forward faster?” “All the extra time spent by our accountant, what is this going to cost?” We already have so many large bills to pay.” My anxiety spiralled, making sleep more difficult for me.

Interestingly… my head got stuck on a song this past week… “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. The ear worm was unstoppable and then, while shopping, it was playing in the store!

I woke up feeling the pressure, the weight of the world I put on myself, and for no reason…

“Pressure: pushing down on me

Pressing down on you, no man ask for

Under pressure that burns a building down

Splits a family in two

Puts people on streets”

And the answer? Love.

Author, Kristin Neff, writes in her book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, “Remember that if you really want to motivate yourself, love is more powerful than fear.” 

And the Beatles remind us, “All you need is love.”

Who we are is brilliant just the way we are. The Osho-Zen-Tarot card ‘Stress’ recommends this affirmation:

“I am not separate from the whole, and there is no need to seek and search for any destiny on my own. Things are happening, the world is moving – call it (Life)…it is doing things. They are happening of their own accord. There is no need for me to make any struggle, any effort; there is no need for me to fight for anything. I can relax and be.”

Relax, and be Love. This is the gift we can give to ourselves always, especially when we feel as if we are under pressure. When we approach ourselves and our circumstances with love rather than judgment, we create space to breathe. 

Perhaps self-compassion is one of my moments of relaxation and recharge. I believe gentle acceptance helps problems feel less daunting so that the way forward becomes clearer. Only time will tell. The sport watch experiment continues.


Listen to more words of inspiration:

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