Category Archives: Stress

Beware the Distraction Principle

I don’t know if it is true for you, but whenever I do not want to face up to something, I get super busy. The problem with being distracted by too many to-dos is that what is truly happening to me physically, psychically and/or emotionally is that swept under the rug only to emerge later—usually in a crisis situation. I began to notice this right after our oldest boy, my step-son, passed away from injuries he accrued during a motorcycle accident. My family and I were stunned at first—immobilized. Then shortly after the memorial service I found I was filling up every minute of my day with errands, projects and impossible deadlines–anything to keep me from experiencing the full impact of what had just occurred.

Loss often does bring forth a sense of zest—a period of over-activity as a way to bring more “life” into an existence that feels like death warmed over. And this is all well and good unless it keeps one not attending to their sorrow. Luckily, I recognized what was happening early on and did what I needed to do—nothing. I purposefully went on long walks, meditated and listened to orchestral music with my eyes closed. I built an altar in Ryan’s honor filled with flowers, seashells, poems, photos and remnants of past gifts he had given me. I keened, I rocked and swayed to the music of my tears, I prayed for his soul. But mostly I had whispered conversations with him, asking that he say hello to all my previously deceased friends and family and give me the strength and inner peace to live with his loss.

Even now some nine months later I have the overwhelming sense that I have taken on too much. And when I do, I immediately stop what I am doing, have a heart to heart talk with Ryan, and wait until I am in a quiet place in my heart—where I can make sense of the pull of being overly busy to the point of distraction and unease. I sing, I dance, I go for walks—anything to bring myself to a place of stillness, groundedness, centering.

Soul of My Voice

I am pleased to announce that my newest book, Soul of My Voice, is now available at Lulu.com. Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This text was written as a workbook/journal to accompany my first book, Soul of Voice published in 2016. However, Soul of My Voice is just as effective as a stand alone book, chuck full of essays, poems, quotes, photos, writing prompts and mandalas. Happy reading (and writing, and coloring, etc.)!!

Sleep, Stress, and the Impossible To-Do List


I have often heard it said that the faster a person goes, the faster they have to go. In other words, business is addicting. So much so, that the more a person accomplishes in a single day, the more the feel compelled to accomplish the next day. And the next and the next! I personally have had the experience of feeling emotionally happy if I complete my To-Do list like crap if I don’t. Talk about self-imposed stress!

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Yet I know that I am not the only person to deal with this “Busy is Best” epidemic. As an American I have been schooled to think that action is everything—progress, achievement, a sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, the faster I go, the faster my mind goes. And when my day is being dictated by what To-Do list item needs to be met next, my mind never seems to have a chance to rest, relish the present moment, or reflect. My thoughts feel as if they are spinning dervishly like a top—afraid if I stop “doing” I’ll lose my edge and drop.

The price one pays for running at this racing clip is collected at night when one cannot get to sleep nor stay asleep. Insomnia sets in and the risk of becoming ill or seriously in danger of depleting one’s immune system sneaks up on us and wields a mighty blow. Then to keep going we succumb to sucking down coffee, ingesting sugary foods, and relying on nicotine to supplant the edge that is slowly but surely disappearing from us.insomnia2

And then at the end of the day to wind down we often resort to too much TV, too many video games, and too many hours surfing the internet. Now we can’t sleep no matter how hard we try. What’s worse is we think have a sleeping disorder, which we do symptomatically speaking, but what we really have is a To-Do list of the first order.

insomniaMy suggestion is three-fold. First, get rid of your To-Do list, or at the very least shorten it. Second, find time to supplant business with relaxation—like a bubble bath, a walk in nature, meditation or a short nap. Finally, take time out before going to bed at night to slowly prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Stay away from chemical stimulants as well as technology and media influences so that your body as well as your mind have a chance to slow down before you attempt to close your eyes. I know it will not be easy at first to follow this recipe for we are already addicted to the speediness of our day. However, I promise you in the long run you will have an even more productive day as a result as well as a more restful and healthy sleep.