This quest for being more focused on the food I am eating is bolstering my courage and allowing me to be open to the idea of trying new foods. Right now, as I write, I am drinking a funky tea with sarsaparilla root, cinnamon bark, ginger and something called kava root. I had to look up what kava was. It’s a plant that smells worse than it tastes and is supposed to have natural sedative properties without making you loopy. The box calls it “stress relief” tea. In other words, it’s great to drink right before going to bed.
Definition: stress (noun) stres 1. Strain felt by somebody; mental, emotional, or physical strain caused e.g. by anxiety or overwork. It may cause such symptoms as raised blood pressure or depression. 2. Cause of strain; something that causes stress. 3. Special importance; special emphasis, importance, or significance attached to something. 4. Emphasis on syllable; the emphasis placed on a sound or syllable by pronouncing it more loudly or forcefully than the same word or phrase. 5. Emphasis in poetry; the emphasis placed on a syllable or word as part of the rhythm of a poem or line of poetry. 6. Accent in music; the emphasis placed on a note as part of the rhythm of a piece of music, or a mark representing this. 7. Force deforming body; a force of system of forces exerted on a body and resulting in deformation or strain.
Now I’m drinking this tea, but I’m not particularly stressed out. However, I absolutely have those days when stress is front and center and a heaping helping of smelly kava root sounds pretty good. I know I’m not alone in this. Just looking at the grocery store shelf and all the products that promote some sort of stress relief or relaxation qualities says it all.
As I’m pulling out this box of tea tonight, I’m wondering why I even bought it. Why do we feel we need all of these things to let go of strain and tension? Or a better question might be; Why do we feel so stressed? How often have you heard or uttered the phrase, “I’d wish I could, but I just don’t have time.” Or “I’m just so busy.”?
Here’s my moment of brutal honesty, a blog confession of sorts: Most of the time, when I hear someone else express how insanely busy they are, my mind is doing an exasperated eye roll. I think to myself that this person has no idea what stress is like because I currently have “XYZ situation” going on and corner the market on it. I quantify and qualify their laundry list of tasks, the intensity of the schedule and whatever else they might be complaining about and compare it to my own. I make the arrogant and self-centered assumption that my life is somehow crazier and I spin not only that person’s plates, but bowls, cups and saucers as well. It’s not charitable. It’s not very Christian. But it’s the truth. And I’m guessing once in a while everyone else experiences the same thing.
I’d like to think each and every time this is followed by a moment of clarity and I realize that I’m being petty and less than benevolent with my thoughts. Occasionally, I redeem myself. I realize that the person feels like they have reached their limit and is honestly looking for someone sympathetic to lean on and express their concern. The light bulb goes off, and I silence my inner jerk and let myself be God’s arms, eyes and ears for someone else.
However, often, I’m sulking in my own dimly lit whiney I’m-so-busy mentality and then go to the grocery store and pick up kava tea and lavender scented stress relief bath salts.
What’s with the comparisons? Why do we feel the need to be so busy? Why the one-up-manship with stress? What’s with the “Oh, you think you’ve got it bad…..wait to you hear this!” banter? Do I really have a need for a stress relieving tea/bath products/candle/supplement?
This is absolutely something I need to work on. Stress shouldn’t be part of my daily life. I should be living in a state of mindful gratitude, amazed that I can go to a store and get something made from a root grown in the south pacific, bring it home in a car and push a button on my fancy schmancy coffee maker and get hot water to brew a smelly cup of tea and then enjoy it.
Who knew that being thoughtful with what I’m eating, would work mindfulness past my stomach and into my heart. I guess that was part of what I bargained for.