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Sometimes, when we hear someone say "stress," our skin begins to tingle. Imagine the Wicked Witch of the West repeating this onomatopoetic word with her half-snarl, half-smile and arched eyebrows. She wriggles her gnarly green fingers at you. "Stressssss, stresssss, stresssss," she says, her upper lip curled and touching the tip of her unmistakeable aquiline nose.
I'm not talking about Elphaba, the likeable, redeemable heroine in Broadway's Wicked. I'm referring to Judy G's nemesis--the Wicked Witch probably responsible for snagging the brain, heart and courage from respectable men now known as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion...the Witch whose shade of 1939 Technicolor seasickness makes me cringe...the Witch who could probably beat ET in her rage-induced bicycle ride through the clouds. Just when you think she melted, she's freakishly back to life like a regenerated earthworm. Forget Dorothy. She wants to make YOUR trip down the Yellow Brick Road a living hell.
In case you're not good at deciphering symbols/metaphors, the Wicked Witch = stress/mean people/unpleasant daily events that try to sneak in and mar our mood. The Yellow Brick Road is, well, the path down which we travel in life.
Too deep for you? Fine. I'll shut up.
In simple terms, sometimes when we think we've learned to banish stress, it somehow bounces back into our lives. We think we're having a good day when suddenly something goes wrong. We think we know something and we read something ELSE that tells us "we're misinformed."
People make comments about the way we live our lives and we flip out and take it personally. At work or at school, we're expected to do a million things at once, and often, to "get it done YESTERDAY." We turn on the television and read the news but get depressed after 15 minutes of robberies, shootings, and stories about poverty, abuse, and people who are just plain ticked off at the way our society runs. If only we could click our heels during tough times and find ourselves in the Bahamas (or perhaps just the mall). But it's not always that easy.
So...how do we silence all the outside voices (and sometimes the crazy ones inside our heads) to find a nugget of peace? I'd love if you could share your "Ruby Slippers" with me--your tips on how you banish or attempt to banish stress in your life, how you keep that pep in your step or how you "ease on down the road" each day. Once I read some of your ideas, I'll post some of mine. I'm curious to read what you've got to say. Let's share our advice here and try to make the most out of our often chaotic (but nonetheless meaningful) walk down the road of life.