Stress is bad for us.
I can’t imagine this will be anyone’s first time encountering this notion. We all know this — it’s hardly a closely-guarded secret, locked away in some clandestine power bloc’s deepest, most blast-proof vault somewhere impregnable and subterranean. Stress is bad for us… We’re probably even almost unanimously agreed on this one…and we humans don’t easily get unanimous, not in large numbers.
But knowing something, and then acting upon it in sensible ways, are two very, very different prospects. If anything, we often seem to not only not avoid the sources of our stress — we seem to quite regularly want to even cling to them, until our knuckles go white with the strain of it all…
And I don’t pretend I’m not as guilty of this as anyone. But I’ve come up with a quick little ritual that I now use, to try to help me to conquer this kind of self-destructive tendency (at least for smaller kinds of annoyances and such — true sins still warrant real attention, and are not necessarily covered here…). It’s the phrase I used as the title of this post: “I release you.”
Basically, I try to remember to invoke this concept whenever someone or something appears in my daily path, and seems to want to block my passage or slow me down. Instead of reacting with immediate anger about it…I try to silently, mentally address this obstacle-person or -thing, and in my mind, I kind of just stop for a moment and acknowledge that this wasn’t how I’d hoped things might ideally unfold in my travels, but with no ill-will, I am officially letting go of any negative feelings about the encounter that a less centered version of me might have had. “Person or thing in my way: I release you.”
It’s sort of a mental/emotional mechanism for me to allow that person or thing to be what they are, to understand that they/it probably never held any malice toward me in the slightest, and then to go on with my day without hanging on to any kind of draining weight from the incident. It frees me from the contact, casts off any binding threads (an accumulation of which can add up to ponderous, unbreakable chains after a while!), and enables me to devote far more of my finite supply of energy to the things that I actually do want to feed in my life.
“I release you.”
Dear traffic offender, inclement weather, insensitive pedestrian, mechanical failure, example of unfortunate timing, forgetful relative, momentarily insensitive friend, bad dream, plummeting blood sugar levels, flaw or error of my own, hurt from out of the past, whatever…”I release you.”