Do you get stressed about stress? Are you worried that you are so worried all the time? Are you anxious that you experience so much anxiety?
I’m here to remind you not to increase your stress by getting stressed about it. Negative emotions are part of the human experience. Its okay to feel anxious some times. A little anxiety can drive us to action.
…..here’s a Buddhist-based story (I’ve changed it so women warriors can relate*)…
Raising the bow to her cheek, her hand shook. The 100th time at the archery range and still every draw had to be thought through.
“First, straighten the wrist, twist arm in, drop the shoulder and lock it tight. Use those lats I didn’t know I had”, Ashley ticks off the first instruction in her mental checklist.
“Second, feet just over shoulder width, legs steady, core tight.”
Her checklist shatters as a searing pain burns through her right shoulder, the bow hits the ground a quarter heartbeat before Ashley herself crumples cradling her arm. Tears burn her eyes and she sobs.
People rush to her, a wide-eyed newbie is mumbling, “I’m sorry! I’m sooo sorry! It just slipped! I don’t know what happened!!” The girls’ voice is trembling with fear and anxiety.
Someone clears a path to Ashley and trumps her attention, “Let me take a look,” he says with calm authority. The sobs continue as he inspects her arm.
She hears the click of a metal box opening, her eyes shut tight she winces in pain and barely hears his instructions. WHY DOES THIS SHIT ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!!!!!! the screaming in her head is broken only by her own sobs.
“… barely a scratch, you’ll be just fine. You can continue shooting if you’d like…”
DOESN’T MATTER WHERE I AM, IF SOMETHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN, I’M SURELY THE TARGET! Sobs of frustration and annoyance rack her body. The physical pain has abated, just a slight pulsing remains to remind her of the incident.
But now the trauma has sunk deeper, past the skin and into her heart.
Ashley was stung by two arrows, the first was a nick of bad luck, and nothing to do with her.
The second arrow was shot by Ashley herself: launched from her mind sinking deep into her heart adding yet another layer to the scars she’s nursed there for most of her life.
The first arrow is life being it’s chaotic and complex self. Sometimes things just happen that we have little or no control over.
The second arrow is entirely our choice; it is how we respond to the first arrow.
And sadly, a third arrow exists… the poor girl who made a mistake is now traumatized. Her new passion in archery has been crushed by a mistake she won’t soon forgive herself for.
When the first arrow strikes, lay down your bow, treat your wound and carry on with a smile, or suffering will always be yours and your feelings of frustration will continuously be vindicated.
*Story created by Jennifer Houghton, Written by Bruce W. Spurr