Its fascinating, and a bit sad, to find the space to observe the stress levels of others. People get worked up over all sorts of seemingly trivial topics. The traffic is heavy, the sun isn’t shining, the sun is too hot, my coffee isn’t right, why can’t that person in front of me just walk a bit quicker or exit the ferry faster? People are feeling these frustrations on a regular basis and sometimes you can see it on their faces and often they can be heard expressing their disdain to everyone within ear shot. While its painful to witness, it can also be painful to absorb. If you’re an empathetic human, you can quite easily feel the pain and stress of others.
I’ve found that when I’m surrounded by stress, its incredibly helpful to know if the stress is mine, or if it belongs to others. On a typical day, almost 99% of the stress I encounter isn’t mine at all! This simple recognition can be powerful. I find myself acknowledging the stress, empathising with the owner of that stress, and then quickly celebrating that I don’t own it. I literally tell myself ‘that’s not my stress’. Because if we stop noting that most stress isn’t ours, we can easily become overwhelmed by the negative energy that surrounds us and spiral downwards.
Lately, I’ve started to conjure up a playful image along with my words that helps to bring me back to my natural state of JOY. And that’s the notion of being a stress trampoline. Yes, you might bounce down on me with your heaviness and leave an imprint, but I’m a source of bounce and will launch your stress back into a space of levity. Hopefully, I can bring you with me.
Yesterday I experienced an unexpected gift. I was catching the Manly Fast Ferry into the city and had paid my fare and was queuing to board the vessel. Things were at a stand still and the crew weren’t letting anyone board. Folks waiting in the queue started to get a bit restless as the minutes ticked by and still no movement. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one my favourite dock crew motioning me towards him. I reversed through the line of passengers to connect with him. He let me know the ferry was experiencing engine trouble and probably wouldn’t be leaving the dock anytime soon. He also said if I very quickly scooted over to the next dock I could catch the Big Ferry into the city and would only be delayed by 15 minutes.
On a typical day this would be a kind and thoughtful gift. But on this day it was a perfectly timed miracle since I was heading into the city for an interview and any further delay would have made my first impression one of unorganised lateness! Thrilled to switch docks I was quickly on my way when John shouted behind me “And since you’ve already paid I’ll make sure to give you a few free trips!”
JOY is definitely the headline when things unfold with such synchronicity in life. Stay open and connected to the people around you . . . you never know when they might just deliver a miracle.
I’m feeling inspired by the lovely words of the divine Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So how are people left feeling in your wake? Are they inspired, filled with laughter, knowing they’ve been fully heard or even just curious? Go ahead, sprinkle some of your JOY today . . .
As I sat at the edge of the ocean today, listening to a meditation about anxiety, they introduced the notion of remembering when you have anxious feelings that many people the world over are experiencing similar feelings. I’ve always liked these themes of interconnectedness and my mind readily settled into the space. But apparently my mood wasn’t satisfied with looking at anxious feelings. Instead I started to think about other feelings and emotions and the fact that they are all being shared simultaneously with millions of people around the world. JOY was the shining example I was drawn to and I started to think about a twinkling light growing brighter and brighter with each person’s uplifting experience. Mid this ‘warm and fuzzy’ meditation train – I heard piercing levels of shrieking coming from the ocean. My eyes flew open and I truly didn’t know what to expect. What unfolded was a brand new appreciate for JOY.
The Surfers Healing Australia had set up camp next door and were interacting with an Autism Awareness group. Talented surfers were giving autistic kids tandem rides on waves that left them bubbling with so much JOY their laughter and delight were flooding the beach. Their squeals of excitement were matched with various exuberant dance moves and spontaneous high fives. These erupted from the kids, the surfers and random bystanders like me.
What a gift . . . to truly share something in your life that brings you pure JOY! These surfers and these kids both had a magical experience today. I was just lucky enough to be on the edge of that growing light. What layer of JOY can you share today?