A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!
It couldn’t be more simply and vividly put across than the short passage above. One of my junior college teachers once said to us during a lesson that 70% of our worries will never come true. Don’t ask me, I have the slightly idea where she got the 70% from. She was my Physics teacher and yet she taught me a lesson in life which I will never forget.
Isn’t it true enough? Most of our worries are a waste of time and they didn’t come true most of the time. Worries can be useful especially those which we can do something about them. Instead of wasting time worrying, we might as well make change if it is within our abilities. If there is nothing we can do about them, we might as well accept them and do our best to make good use of them.
As for stresses, what have always been said is that a little stress is actually good and it gives us motivation to take action and move forward. Yet a lot of stresses, if not handle properly, do have their detrimental effects on our lives. This short passage is a wonderful illustration which I would make use of to remind myself about not holding on to stresses for too long; the glass of water will just get heavier and heavier.
Are you currently holding on to your glass or even glasses of water?
Steve Jobs said, “Every once in a while, I find myself in the presence of purity – purity of spirit and love – and I always cry. It always just reaches in and grabs me.”
Have you ever come across such moments in your life where the lessons in life just came knocking on your door and without even waiting for you to answer, they came through that open door right into your heart and entered your soul; becoming a part of you and you knew that your life was enriched? That, I called my ‘Moment of Realisation.’ The first time I read the above quote by Steve Jobs, I was travelling on the bus.
In that moment, I felt the lumps in my throat. I have had moments like that before but it wasn’t until I read the quote that came close to describe that strong feeling – purity of spirit and love. I believe that most of us have moments like this, if only we listen more to that voice within us; I am learning to tune in more to it.
There are a lot of lessons in life that we have learnt when were young, even when we were just babies. No? Just a while ago, when I was reading a quote by Karen Kostyla, “Sometimes I wish I could just let things go at the end of the day … Lord, please help me to let go of the junk I keep in my life and to focus on the beauty You place before me each and every day … Your Love Amazes Me!“, a thought came to my mind suddenly.
We were never created with the intention to hold on to things; that was also never the true purpose of the pair of hand that was given to us. In fact, one of the very first few lessons we learned was on ‘opening our hands and letting go.’ Just in a quote I came across from Lao Tzu yesterday, “To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.”
Have you ever observed that most newborn babies have clenched fist? According to an article in livestrong.com by Candice Hughes, “Through the first few weeks of life, newborn babies often will retain the position they were in while confined inside the uterus. They will keep their arms and legs close to their bodies and keep their hands clenched. It will take weeks after she is born for your infant to begin opening and closing her hands.”
The newborn babies learned to open their hands and this also open up a whole new world of excitement for the babies. The baby has learnt to let go of the familiarity in a matter of a few weeks and to embrace the exciting uncertainties ahead. I have once forgotten this lesson bestowed upon me since I was a baby and am learning it again: To open my hands and to let go – to let go of the familiarity and to embrace the exciting journey ahead. What is past is gone, now I must journey on. Have Faith and Trust that when things are falling apart, they are also falling into places.
Would you open your hands and journey on with me too?
Alice Herz Sommer, a Czech pianist and a music teacher, is an amazing lady with superb positive outlook in life. She was not only a survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp but also remains resolutely optimistic in her whole life. And now at 108 years old, Alice lives by herself in a tiny London flat with no assistance. She still practices piano three hours every day. Alice is truly an inspiration and the best thing I learned from her is, “Everything is a present.” Some may ask, “Even the bad experience?” I truly believe so … there is always something we can learn from our experiences regardless good or bad. As Alice put it best in the video, “I know about the bad, but I look at the good thing.”
If the above video is not working, you can take a look at the video interview of Alice Herz Sommer by Bernard Hiller:
To leave you with the last lesson from this incredible woman in the interview above, “Hatred eats the soul of the hater not the hated.”
I read a post ‘Spring Cleaning for the Soul’ at The Guy’s Perspective recently which touched on spring cleaning inside out. I left a comment saying that I like the idea of spring cleaning … just that sometimes I am taking too long to start; in fact, much too long. Some of the stack of old bill stubs, receipts and invoices which I found today dated as far back as 2003 or maybe even earlier. I didn’t bother to really look because they were all paid in due.
It didn’t really take much effort to clear the stack of old bills stubs, receipts and invoices that were sitting in the cabinet. And yet how did they get stacked up and taking all the spaces in the cabinet which could be put to better usage? Procrastination. As the saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind.‘ It is about time to take the first step. The Guy’s Perspective post provided that kick in the butt.
Today, I decided that it is time to let go of all that stack of old bill stubs, receipts and invoices. Their rightful place are in the recycle bin. They are of no use to me or anyone as long as they remained the way they are. However, going through the recycle bins, they have a chance to be recycled into something useful again.
Do you have stack of old bill stubs, receipts and invoices sitting in the cabinet waiting to be cleared? Perhaps it is time for you to clear the messes; spring is really a good time to start.
Besides the old stack of bill stubs, receipts and invoices, are there also emotional baggage which some of us are carrying through life like? Some of these emotional baggage may not really do much harm to us but they do take up spaces and give us the messy feeling; like there is always something holding us back. Wouldn’t it make sense for us to clear them too?
I have cleared the mess outside today and there are more to be cleared in the other cabinets. After that, it will be time to revisit the messes inside to start cleaning them too. It is time to ditch the emotional baggage,.
When will be a good time to start spring cleaning inside out? There will never be a better time; all we need to do is to start somewhere. Once we start, we would pick up the momentum from there. Decide today to let go of our emotional baggage to move on with life. We will inevitably find the journey less messy, much lighter and much more enjoyable.
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