We have grown accustomed to have stress rule our lives. Many mistakenly believe stress is natural. Some think being under stress is a sign of an active, productive life. i was taught that, if you are not feeling stressed or struggling to accomplish something, then you are wasting time. Actor Robert De Niro depicted this thought when he said,

“You will have time to rest when you are dead.”

I love De Niro, but I believe this is a pretty stupid thought.    

Negative and positive stress

Perhaps I am reading something negative into De Niro’s quote, after all, not all stress is bad for you. Some stress is positive, like training to improve a skill or add to one’s knowledge. Venturing to learn something new can cause some anxiety but feeling pressure to experience new things can be very rewarding. The same goes for doing something you always wanted to do. This also applies to pushing ourselves to finish a project we love doing.

Positive stress is natural, like having a deadline to meet, or watching one of your kids learn to drive. One cannot live life without stress.

But we make it negative when we pressure ourselves with worry about what people will think of us, or because we want to control outcomes. We can drive ourselves from our center by spending all of our energy on these pursuits during our time awake. We make stress negative by our willful motive  to force things to happen.

Things happen in their own perfect timing 

I also grew up believing successful people willed their fate. Now I wish I had not spent decades of my life on this senseless pursuit, for I could have used this energy trying to force things more constructively. A good example was my reluctance to take vacations thinking it would take away from the opportunity to shine in front of my superiors. Had I not been so blinded by my desire to impress, I could have relaxed and enjoyed my life, career and children much more than I did.

When I reflect on my life, it is obvious many things beyond my control affected the things that happened. The only thing I controlled was my behavior and the choices I made. Yet, I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to force outcomes. I was like a sailor who thought I controlled the wind and not the other way around.

Stop being a blockhead

Even with good stress you must get out of the way. There is a perfect timing to things. You cannot do much about it except to be ready to make decisions when they come up. Understanding things work out on their own lets you enjoy the moment and keeps you calm. Let go of control and concentrate only on what you can personally do in the present.

Getting out of the driver’s seat means you understand a Higher Consciousness is in charge and you stop trying to control future events.

Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with much joy and contentment.

Photo by David Emrich on Unsplash