How have you been zapped today? By stress, worry, anxiety, judgment, frustration, losses, or limitations? Although these outcomes seem to have a pattern, you are not a specific target; random change and humanness are part of life. It is how you choose to view these robbers of personal energy—with acceptance or resistance—that determines your quality of life. Exploring a single word will help you co-exist with these responses. Do any of these situations sound familiar?
- You planned to go to an exercise class, got into your car, and discovered that your car battery was dead.
- A long-time friend forgot your birthday.
- You received a message from your doctor, asking you to return for a repeat mammogram or PSA test.
- You see the x-rays from your exceedingly painful wrist, confirming that you have advanced arthritis—a shock that you could do without.
- You want to make your wishes known about your health directive and will, yet your adult children have their own ideas about what is best for you.
And you thought that you were in control! You didn’t realize the extent to which energy zappers tighten your body by compromising your immune system; by increasing irritability, headaches, or insomnia; and by constricting the muscles that help you to breathe. Energy zappers affect your emotions, making you more susceptible to depression, restlessness, overeating, and drug or alcohol abuse. Yet, underlying all of these responses, and perhaps the greatest tragedy of all, is that they block you from experiencing your true nature of joy, love, calm, generosity and happiness.
Some of you may still be in doubt that energy zappers truly affect you; after all, you practice wellness: a balanced, organic diet; sleep; movement; and supportive relationships. You believe that you are strong, educated, and wise—denial has no chance. No, your responses to energy zappers are under control. Compared to the experiences of your friends, your quality of life is supreme—for the most part, you guess, perhaps not entirely. It may surprise you, but YOUR body—as well as everyone else’s—carries a tremendous amount of stress, worry, anxiety, judgment, frustration, loss, and limitation at any given time. Try this practice to evaluate just how your body is feeling from the inside-out. Take note of how you are feeling right now.
Begin: (You may ask someone to read this section as you listen and participate.)
- Tense your toes; scrunch them up tightly. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense only your R leg, bringing your thigh to your torso. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your L leg, again bringing your thigh to your torso. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Now, tense BOTH legs. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- AND, you thought you had no stress, worry, anxiety, judgment, frustration, loss, or limitation affecting your body.
- Tense your abdomen, chest, and stomach (pulling your navel to your spine). HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your R hand, making a fist. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your entire R arm, bringing your forearm in toward your chest. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your L hand, making a fist. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your entire L arm, bringing your forearm in toward your chest. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your shoulders up to your ears. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Tense your jaw, gritting your teeth. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- Close your eyes and frown; “purse” your lips. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
- NOW: Tighten your entire body at once. Feel all of your limbs and organs squeezing toward your midline. HOLD for 3-2-1. Release.
Ahhhhh, your body should feel comfortably relaxed. Compare what you feel like now with how you felt before you started this exercise. No doubt, you are more in tune with your body and realize that it has been in a state of tension. Visually, it appears as if you have successfully let go of much of that tension. Also remember that how your body feels directly affects your mind. As your body relaxes, your mind relaxes and is more open to expansive ideas. You return to your creative and positive self. This exercise has the same effect on you as if you had just returned from a mini-vacation. Some of you are even smiling.
You are ready to consider this question: Are you truly living with energy zappers or just pretending to be aware of them?
It would be wonderful if you could wave your magic wand and, POOF, these limiting responses would disappear, forever banished. In today’s society, if only there were a quick fix! That’s not the case, and probably for good reason. Time allows you to ask for guidance from your higher power, to see different viewpoints, and to find acceptance in situations. This is how you gain wisdom. Energy zappers are part of our humanness and are here to stay. They will never go away, regardless of how much effort you put into wishing, envisioning, or hoping things to be different. The most effective way to handle these responses is to co-exist with them and not let them consume you.
To understand stress, anxiety, judgment, confusion, or frustration, go back to the basics surrounding lack and see them through a child’s eyes. Go back a few years…well, maybe quite a few years.
Imagine that you have a sugar cone w/one scoop of Cookie Dough ice cream; you see another cone w/ two scoops. You think: Wait a minute, that isn’t fair—even if two scoops will give you a tummy ache. Without anyone else interceding, you become unreasonably frustrated because you can’t have what you want! You may even think that next time you want an ice cream cone, the ice cream will be gone, and you will be out of luck. That perception may lead to an underlying anxiety surrounding lack. You should have two scoops while the getting is good! These thoughts of frustration and anxiety become a part of your mindset or who you believe yourself to be.
Now imagine that you have an older sibling who laughs a lot and makes crazy faces; your neighbors always interact with your sibling. You, on the other hand, are more on the quiet side; these same neighbors say hello to you, yet that’s about it. You may perceive this as the neighbors not liking you and may try to mimic your sibling. Another reaction might be to create an imaginary world. Your mindset of judgment and confusion, based on this experience, becomes your reality, your story.
As you grow older, you think about perceptions over and over until you believe them into your reality. Returning to the ice cream experience of perceived lack: I never get enough ice cream. Now that I think about it, I never get enough of anything. And, remembering the experience of judgment and confusion: I guess I’ll just be by myself. Who needs friends anyway?
These perceptions are stories about you and your experiences, not who you truly are inside. When you understand that the stories of your ego are only perceptions of your reality, the truth of you emerges. Not having enough or not feeling like you are enough is about your perception of lack. When you’re feeling lack, find some way to feel more gratitude and appreciation in the situation. Gratefulness for what you already have and for your gifts balances your emotions. It’s hard to feel stress, anxiety, judgment, frustration, worry, losses, or limitations and be grateful at the same time. Should any of the energy zappers come your way, practice gratitude and feel how your outlook shifts. A bit of false perception melts away.
To understand worry, losses, and limitations, go back to the basics of fear. You are born with only two natural fears: the fear of startling noises and the fear of falling—all other fears are learned. Fears are stories told and retold by your internal voice (ego) or learned from outside influences (peers, parents, teachers, ministers, other adults).
An example of an internal voice: A newly-graduated high school senior: I get a pit in my stomach when I think of enrolling in the School of Engineering at college next year. I’d rather major in theater, but my dad is insistent, and he was an engineer. This dilemma causes feelings of unworthiness (a type of loss) and worry of family rejection.
And, an example of outside influences: Don’t go into the basement; there are monsters behind the stairs that grab your legs and cut them off. Hearing those words from a friend whose older sibling made up a scary story, you panic over the possibility of losing your legs and never go near the basement door. As an adult, perhaps a small recognition comes to mind as you remember childhood stories like this.
As an older child, teen, or “twenty something,” you encounter stress, anxiety, judgment, frustration, worry, losses, or limitations as part of being human. Most likely, you’ve had a few role models who’ve provided guidance and coping skills in these matters. At the same time, no doubt, you’ve also suffered. Suffering is universal. Most adults are still searching for productive ways to work with these limiting responses. Consider how ACCEPTANCE helps you to move forward in spite of energy zappers.
“Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it…this will miraculously transform your whole life.” ~Eckhart Tolle, author and the most spiritually influential person in the world, 2011.
“Acceptance is a letting-go process. You let go of your wishes and demands that life can be different. It’s a conscious choice.”~Gary Emery, Counselor
“Know that everything is in perfect order whether you understand it or not.” ~Valery Satterwhite, Information Technology Services
Through practicing acceptance, we have greater quality of life. Acceptance is not conformity, weakness, or waffling attitudes. It is a way to learn something about your feelings and approach to energy zapping situations. Do you exaggerate, underestimate, or deny all together? Next is to contemplate various perspectives of the situation, exploring a universal point of view and possible next steps. The final step is to accept, moving toward resolution.
Key points of acceptance promote more personal harmony as you live with energy zappers.
A= An attitude of gratitude (finding something worthy of authentic gratefulness)
C= Compassion for self and others (offering positive self-talk; wiggle room for others)
C= Contentment (appreciating what you already have)
E= Expanding love (extending love toward all energies)
P= Present Moment (consistently welcoming what the “now” brings)
T= Trust in a higher power (Knowing that a universal power is consistently working for your highest good)
Recall the earlier example of a family member wanting to share wishes regarding a health directive or will, yet who experienced some “push back” from adult children who had their own ideas about what was best. Practicing the points of acceptance could lead to more family harmony and an enhanced quality of life for all.
Health Directive/Will: Disagreement between wishes of family member vs. views of adult children about family member’s wishes
*1. Family member (Dad) shares wishes…
*2. Response of adult children…
*Disappointed; possibly angry, frustrated, feel they are “right”
*Wishes denied sensitivities of family members regarding death and dying
*We can’t possibly predict Dad’s thoughts or actions
*We can ignore, be silent, or resist Dad’s wishes. Is the resistance worth it?
*End-of-life should be positive, yet change or impermanence can sometimes
deliver a curve ball
*Whose life is it anyway?
*Attitude of gratitude for an actual end-of-life plan and transparent conversations
*Compassion for ourselves that it’s OK not to be in charge; compassion for Dad
that he is taking this opportunity to voice his wishes
*Contentment in that we appreciate the gift of peace-of-mind engendered by a
legal health directive and will
*Expanding love through understanding, patience, and celebration
*Present Moment is a gift that life is unfolding exactly as intended on my behalf,
Accepting what the moment brings to you, especially when you encounter energy zappers, can be challenging. Be sure to keep a light-hearted perspective, as in this quote:
“Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.” ~Roger C. Anderson, Ecologist
From a higher vantage: Acceptance is about co-existing with and celebrating “what is.” Staying in the moment, regardless of change and humanness, balances your thoughts and behaviors, promoting an enhanced quality of life.
©2017 Barbara L. Krause