Practically Practical: Get A Grip on Stress
Zippity do dah
(said with much sarcasm). Yep I am in “that” sort of mood. Why shouldn’t I
be? Because I am a witch you say? Right, but unless you hadn’t noticed I am
human also and subject to the same ups and downs as the rest of the world - my
faith or practice withstanding. However, being who I am, I have taken
responsibility for myself, my actions and my RE-actions, which is precisely why
I want to talk about stress, it’s effects on the body, your magick, and how you
can alleviate it.
become such a commonplace thing in our lives, that we have relegated it to being
a “natural” thing, but nothing could be further from the truth. Natural, is our
bodies, spirits, emotions, and minds healthy and balanced, not worried, sick,
frustrated and empty within. I don’t think it too harsh to view the things that
cause this reaction within us as germs - things that cause disease (Dis-ease…as
in not at ease), because that is exactly what they do! Living with it for any
period of time will compromise our immune system, emotional state, and bodily
functions, just as if we had pneumonia, cancer, broken ankle, etc. In fact,
would you not seek treatment for any of these conditions? I know I would - I am
not one to like being ill or injured, and I am betting that most if not all of
you are the same way.
now, I am feeling a few of you roll your eyes and wailing, “You JUST don’t
understand, Athena.” Well bullsh*t, plain and simple. I work full time, keep a
home (it’s lived in but its kept), have a husband to make happy, pets to love
and care for, and medical conditions that require me to learn to relax or they
will get exacerbated. Oh and I forgot, I have hobbies too. *collective gasp*
Hobbies?? How dare she? (Yes I am poking fun at myself, relax) I have interests
such as graphics, web design, music (can carry a tune pretty well) writing, and
others too numerous to mention, and believe me the balancing act I do and I
think we all pretty much do, can leave us exhausted, angry, frustrated, ill and
hurting (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Let me tell you
how I got into this pattern…
I am the eldest
of three girls, and as such was relegated to the “care-giver” position to my
younger sisters. My father worked 3rd shift so he was asleep during
the day, and my mother was not terribly interested in what we did as long as we
A.) didn’t bother her, and B.) didn’t wake my father up. Now we weren’t
neglected per se, we had food, clothing, roof over our heads, but we weren’t
swimming in motherly support. Dad was around on the weekends and we hung out
with him a great deal - we all enjoyed the special time. However, when you are
5, 6, 7, and so on, you really shouldn’t be proficient in the art of making your
own meals, doing your laundry, making sure your sisters didn’t get outside
without you and drown in the pond, and still try to be a kid. You learn very
quickly to balance a lot of very alien things and accept them as “the way it
is”. I believe that this trained me at an early age to be the mediator and the
peacemaker, and in some ways I took that to an extreme, to the point where I was
no longer able to sit up without having sever difficulty breathing.
Did I do “kid
type” things? Sure I did - every chance I got. But as I got into adulthood I
found myself taking on others troubles and “fixing” things, all the while never
fixing what needed to be fixed in myself. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE to help
people, but I what I really love is helping people help themselves - in short
empowerment. So there I was 30, pretty unhealthy, borderline nervous breakdown,
and frustrated as hell because I knew that I was capable of so much better (oh
did I tell you that I am an extremely anal person?). I had just lost a child
that I believe was as close to being my own aside from giving birth to him, and
thought I had no where to go.
That’s when I
got some of the best advice that I have ever heard. Not a soliloquy, or pages
of wisdom, but simple, logical advice that because I couldn’t see the forest for
the trees, I had made my life too complicated.
1. Don’t look at everything as a whole - break it down into
manageable portions - you get more accomplished that way.
2. You can’t fix everything and everyone. Learn to appreciate
the beauty in the imperfections of life - and use them as an inspiration to go
on to greater things.
3. Spoil yourself every day - it doesn’t have to be monetary,
but it does have to be something YOU alone enjoy. Take 5 minutes to sit and do
nothing, take a walk in the park, go and eat a snow cone - anything that is
solely for you and not something you would normally do for yourself.
4. Meditate. Doesn’t have to be the deep mind altering
stereotypes, but you can do it.
relaxation is a wonderful way to restore the balance in all areas of your life.
A lot of people have trouble with the idea of meditation, thinking it too
difficult and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. It can if you choose
to take the time, but even 5 minutes a day will do you a world of good. Here is
an easy relaxation technique to get you on the path to health and balance.
1. Sit in a comfortable position either in a half-lotus
posture on a cushion or upright on a comfortable, straight-backed chair.
2. Become aware of your breathing. Gradually slow down your
breathing rate, taking deeper more rhythmic breaths.
3. When you exhale, say the word “peace” out loud, or use
another word with peaceful connotations such as shanti or shalom. A goal in
breath rate would be a count of six as you inhale and a count of six when you
4. Be aware of any tension in your body. Silently scan your
face, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, hands, pelvis, legs and feet to perceive any
areas of tension.
5. If you come upon an area that is tense, direct your calming
breath to that area.
6. When you inhale, visualize the breath moving towards the
tense area, and bathing it with warmth and calming energy. As you exhale,
visualize the tension leaving that part of your body. Continue this process
until your body is completely relaxed.
Another thing you can do to relax is aromatherapy, which has
become very popular these days. There are a number of methods of delivery,
scented candles, oils, bath products, diffusers, sprays, etc. You can get them
premixed for relaxation, or create your own.
Here are some oils that are useful for relaxation and stress
And here are a
few recipes that utilize some of these scents:
Calming Bath Oil
Geranium 4 drops
Oil 1t (5 ml)
Vanilla 10 drops
Sandalwood 10 drops
Water 2 fl oz (60 ml)
These are just
some suggestions for you to use as a guideline for relaxation. Whether you
choose to utilize these methods or not, I urge you to take time out for you,
because if you don’t take care of you, you cannot count on someone else to.
blessing of Light be on you -
without and light within.
blessed sunlight shine on you and warm your heart
glows like a great peat fire,
So that the
stranger may come and warm himself at it,
And also a
And may the
light shine out of the two eyes of you
candle set in two windows of a house,
wanderer to come in out of the storm.
And may the
blessing of Rain be on you -
May it fall
upon your spirit
So that all
the little flowers may spring up
their sweetness on the air.
And may the
blessing of the Great Rain be on you,
beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean,
there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven
sometimes a star.
blessing of Wind be on you,
May it wrap
around you with soft caresses
So that the
mists of time are burned away,
your cares and sadness,
spring winds bring you joys
from the earth, and music that
from the clouds,
And may the
wild storm winds protect you
you safely home.
And may the
blessing of Earth be on you -
May you ever
have a kindly greeting for them as you pass,
As you go
along the roads.
earth be soft and welcome you when you rest upon it,
Tired at the
end of the day,
And may your
and free to journey up and off,
wisely and happily to us who love you.
Be well dear