Life can feel like a pressure cooker of expectations. Many times these expectations have been placed on us by non other than ourselves. Take this blog for example. I’ve felt pressure and stress to post as much as possible and gain as many followers and likes as possible. I was failing if I didn’t. What was the point if I didn’t succeed in becoming a “successful” blogger with a book deal and a perfect website. I’d love those things of course, and to achieve them I naturally need to put in time and effort. But what about enjoying the journey? What about enjoying the creative process just for itself and letting go of the pressure and worry of not “succeeding”. Looking at it from another angle, aren’t I already succeeding by spending time doing something I enjoy, by creating posts and engaging my creative energy. Isn’t that enough? Should that be enough? then, why is it so often not enough?
Is being under pressure a 21st Century affliction? I don’t think so. There was always pressure in centuries past – simply to stay alive, to feed oneself, not to die of the plague or be killed by some invading army. The difference nowadays is that there is pressure everywhere you look. My blog has to be successful. My marriage has to be perfect. My house has to be decluttered, clean and beautiful. My children have to be successful in school. I have to compost. Someone’s sick. Someone else needs some TLC. My nails are a mess. What’s for dinner. There’s no loo roll. The dog pooped under the piano. There’s not enough money. The earth is getting too hot. I forgot to pay the electric bill. You see what I mean?
We – or at least I, have forgotten to slow down and smell the roses. I’ve forgotten to enjoy the sound of words coming together in my head to form a story and instead I fret that it will never be published. I’ve forgotten to stand still and watch the snow flakes dance in the wind and instead I focus on my fear of driving on icy roads. I’ve forgotten the delight of swirling a piece of luscious chocolate in my mouth, relishing the taste and feel of it and instead worry about the calories I’m consuming. So much pleasure – swept away by self imposed pressures that matter to no one but myself. Too much hurry, too much worry and not a pause to stop and smell the roses.
Pressure is the enemy of breath. Breath is the antidote to pressure. Try it. Inhale peace, exhale pressure. Feel the hustle and bustle of daily life and worries that run in a loop in our brains loosen their grip. Then prioritize. Then do. Then feel better.
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