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Reversing the cycle of chronic stress

Before you cross-over

Image courtesy of Tanja Heffner

One day, you wake up in the morning feeling so tired, drained and empty that you cannot even say if you have slept at all, whether the life that lies ahead of you is real and if you are actually within your body. Your mind is shooting more thoughts that you can possibly process and the energy it takes to assemble your spirit and move your body seems out of reach. And there is so much to do!

I call this moment the cross-over point in life where we really wish we had listened before to the warnings of our body. Unfortunately, many of us don’t and we keep going. Some of us even push further that point because coming back to a place of balance is rightly so far away that we cannot possibly imagine pausing to gather ourselves and start anew. There is so much to do!

As you know, there’s a “button” within each one of us which activates our Fight or Flight or Freeze response (FFF) and chronic stress is really the experience of having this button ON for a long time. That’s a major disorder for our systems.

Stress is the kick that we need to gather all our effort into saving our buts from REAL danger: fight back, run away or play dead (FFF). This message to our system is an emergency that runs over every other normal functioning of the body. When the danger is gone, the mind should typically turn the button OFF and the parasympathetic nervous system takes over to chill us down. That’s survival. 

With chronic stress, we go against nature. Something within us takes control and asks us to stay in danger mode even though it goes against our survival.

Isn’t it quite natural to ask why? Why would we ask ourselves to stay in danger mode and risk our lives?

Of course, we naturally think of external factors as a reason: lay-off, unemployment, divorce, loss of a dear friend or family member, illness…

But then, we see that different people have different relationships to the same event and we look for a deeper cause than an external factor. 

What about: feelings of betrayal, inadequacy, boredom, hopelessness, helplessness…

Following the thread of chronic stress inside the meanders of the psyche, in many different life situations, I have come to realise that: 

we burn ourselves out because we feel stuck in a situation which we feel is IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE

We cannot take a step left or right, we cannot define a path or a bridge, we cannot envision ourselves without the story that keep us stuck to the FFF ON button. And we roam around like hungry ghosts  or looping like a broken computer program. Meanwhile, our bodies get depleted, our vibration lowers to that of depression, our immune system collapses and our soul disconnects from our physical body.

I have experienced all of this and really, I would like to say that we don’t have to get there to turn the button OFF. And if you are, like me, a stubborn soul who wishes to experience it all, then please let me tell you that no matter how far you go in the darkness, you really can come back. Maybe not alone and ideally with a trusted experienced coach who knows the way.

So let’s get to what really matters: turning upside down your belief that you are stuck into regaining your power. It’s actually quite simple, as simple as a space and an apostrophe. Literally.

IMPOSSIBLE becomes IM POSSIBLE 

IM POSSIBLE becomes I’M POSSIBLE

It is very simple and at the same time it’s really hard work. Especially if you are at the stage of crossing-over into burn-out. I would love to tell you the opposite: that you can regain your full on vitality and soul alignment in a 3 step program that takes 30′ or a webinar. But I don’t know one that works this way.

Instead, I know that when you are in such a phase in your life, you don’t want to just try things out and trust something that is not going to work because you are simply beyond the end of your rope! I can also guarantee that you will need support from various angles: a great body therapist that will help your body find its way back to chill; a great coach who will hold space for you and guide your inner exploration; possibly other therapists who will help you release the blockages from your mental and energetic bodies…

And here are also 3 suggestions to get you to that space and apostrophe.

IMPOSSIBLE becomes IM POSSIBLE

IM POSSIBLE becomes IM POSSIBLE

  1. Turning your belief upside down that what is impossible is actually, in the spectrum of possibility is a matter of mind mapping. Starting with “I am stuck” or whatever expression of your blockage is more meaningful to you, you map all the beliefs that stem out of your condition in a beautiful mind map on a large sheet of paper. Once you are done, you contemplate this map and allow yourself to experience how real it is for you with live examples, yucky feelings (always include feelings that you actually feel because the body never lies), stories… and notice how the map is woven. This is your life of limitation and chronic stress. Are you ready to step away from it? If you are, draw with a thicker pen a large bubble around this map and express in loud voice: “I am ready to draw the line and step away from this story“. 
  2. Maintaining the focus on possibility rather than impossibility is a matter of focus. Here is where it becomes hard and where it’s a good idea to have a trusted someone to do the work with. Focusing on the possibility that you can create a life outside of that bubble requires perseverance and trust; but your mind will quite naturally want to take you back within that old bubble. That’s where you create the SPACE. IMPOSSIBLE to IM POSSIBLE. This space is the most important space in your life. It is the space between your mind and yourself, your true self. It is the space between whatever story of limitation you are living out there and your true creative potential. This space is a matter of focus: the more you nourish it, the more it is likely to become and stay spacious.  
  3. Turning that possibility towards yourself is a matter of self-appreciation.  As you work each day to create that SPACE, you start seeing life from a different angle. You start thinking in possibilities rather than dooming probabilities. You start wondering: “what if….I could really dare to…” and you start calling in the energy of miracles. That’s where you need the APOSTROPHE: the kick, the wild smile, the impulse into love. What will block there is the belief that you are not good enough, not worthy of a wonderful life, not capable to create it… And this is where you need to be stubbornly, unapologetically and selfishly in love with yourself. Not the fake self, not what you think you should be, not who the inner voices tell you to be but who you genuinely are. Bringing that apostrophe into your life is my deepest wish for all of us. This is where we enter into the magic of who we are as the person we have always intended to be: creative, limitless, powerful, beautiful, resourceful and damn charming!  When you reach that point, you are hooked in the miraculous journey of self-exploration and you are radiating with such glow, I can’t wait to see it!

These suggestions are not an exercise you do on the corner of a post-it note before jumping into the next meeting. They are really meant to take yourself seriously. Nobody else than yourself will take your hand to firmly ask you to return to the state of relaxation and flow which is really our natural state and that we need to rediscover to start stepping-away from the story of stress as a social condition we so strongly believe in. 

You are the one taking the step and reaching for help when you need it.

My dream is that you take that space and own that apostrophe for yourself. Because when you embody your amazing self and deeply reconnect to who you are with your unique talents and expression, your wonderful vulnerability and creative expression, you are so inspiring! I am really looking forward to meeting that genuine person you are.

If only that, remember that anything you really believe is IMPOSSIBLE could be a space and an apostrophe away from the boundless possibility that you truly are.

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