Has it been hitting the fan lately? For whatever reason, maybe the holiday bustle on the horizon, the turmoil in the global markets, or who knows, even the alignment of the stars, the past few weeks have thrown a couple curve balls my way as well as in the lives of many I know. Nothing insurmountable, but challenges that, let’s face it, get our attention in a very demanding way.

In the last month, all three of my children have had pneumonia. When my eldest was diagnosed with it, I figured it was that she burned the candle at both ends, and that rest and medicine would have her back on her feet in no time. A few days later, my middle daughter’s visit to the pediatrician revealed the same diagnosis and I came to a similar conclusion about our busy schedule. But, the following week, when the pediatrician said my third daughter also had pneumonia, I turned the finger toward myself. I began the rant – must be that I’m not feeding them right, not getting them to bed early enough, not disinfecting the house with strong enough chemicals. Maybe we don’t laugh enough (my fault too, somehow). As the mom, it seems a natural impulse to feel responsible for it all, to blame ourselves, to wind up wounding ourselves in the process of offering the best for our family. The fear that I caused my children’s suffering blended into other emotions, such as anger.  Then, like two awkward teenagers, the twin forces of fear and anger began to dance: I indulged, bitched, screamed, overate, shopped for stuff I didn’t need or even want, and generally checked out. Slipping into these behaviors in the face of stress was like tumbling down a greased water slide. Easy, except that it didn’t feel good, the way a fun water slide might. I imagine that any of you who’ve been there would agree, these behaviors while initially relieving, actually exacerbate the stress by adding another layer of crap on top.

When the stress is at a lower level, I know all the techniques to soothe myself—breathe deeply, connect to Source, stay committed to the process and let go of attachment to the outcome. Sure, sure. When it’s hitting the fan, however, it is easy to forget these ideas and grab for a different energy. So, the question is, how can I reach for these life-supporting goodies first, and not only first, but consistently?

I think the answer has something to do with fully accepting the situation at hand, even if every fiber of my being wishes it were otherwise. Yes, I gave the kids antibiotics and had them rest, so I accepted it to the extent to which was helpful for their healing. My emotionally checking out though, was an attempt to protect myself from the full-force of the concern and worry. A significant part of the stress was that I was fighting against my life. The present situation didn’t fit with my idea of what a healthy family should experience, and I felt victimized by the germ factory of their school.

Thank goodness, the kids are now healthy and happy and engaged in their lives in a beautiful way (knock wood). And in a real way, I was given the chance to see how I run from the stress of my life by distracting myself. Relaxing into what is, that is much more challenging, but may hold a central piece of the answer to reducing the stressful energy around the stressors. Relaxing into what is can be the turn-key that stops the behaviors that ultimately degrade vibrant health and well-being. I only can breathe deeply, stay connected to Source, and let go of attachment once I release the fight against what is present. I guess that is why they call it practice!