Healing Stress 101
While “Coping With” and “Managing” stress provide great tools to help you adapt to the presence of stress, healstress.com seeks to apply the language, principles and methods of the Healing Journey to stress. From this perspective, we see stress as something that has potential for being resolved. Borrowing from well established wisdom principles, this process is a journey into which you enter with the goal of discovering core issues, that, when found, may be addressed and integrated into who you are and how you live . . . allowing you to be healthier and happier.
Healstress.com provides: an easy to understand System (The Roadmap), Education & Resources (The Library), and a private Supportive Community (The Community) to help you on your journey through stress.
So, what does The System look like? It’s a Roadmap.
There are many conceptual models we can use on any healing journey. We think that a model using the rhythm of seasons is not only helpful, but deeply connected to nature and our individual humanity. As such, if you choose to join us, the Roadmap that you will use on your journey in healing from stress will be one that looks like this (note if you are on a mobile device, you may need to double tap the tab headings):
Roadmap to Season #1: Autumn – Separation
The first season on our journey is that of Autumn. In the language of agriculture, this is the season where we reap what we have sown. In the case of stress, this is also true . . . in this season of our life we reap the stress that results from the seeds of our own choices. So, to begin our journey, this is where we explore separation: creating separation between you and your stress, separation between you and this unfruitful harvest, separation between you and old ways of thinking and behaving, separation so you can allow your body to heal.
Part #1 – What’s Happening to Me?
The first part is about a candid and humble recognition of where you are in your stress and honoring that place. Content in this part asks you to discover how you are experiencing your stress and how you are reacting to it.
Part #2 – The Good Place
Here we turn our attention to listening to your desire to feel better. Content on this part of the journey asks you to examine your stress from the perspective of your Desire to Feel Better. As you experience this Desire, how does it manifest itself in your life and as you seek feeling better, what does ‘The Good Place’ look like?
Part #3 – The Retreat
On any healing journey, it is imperative that we retreat from distractions to allow space reflect. The first part is about a candid and humble recognition of where you are in your stress and honoring that place. Content in this part asks you to discover how you are experiencing your stress and how you are reacting to it. It challenges you to identify those things in your life that feel distracting and burdensome and are keeping you from being in ‘The Good Place’.
Part #4 – Identifying the Problem
Here our Autumn season culminates in helping you place a Name to your Stress. Not yet the source of your stress, but the clear articulation of ‘What’ the effect truly is, and firmly establishing the need for seeking the source and cause of your stress in the next step of our journey. Here we challenge you to begin to let go of your attachment to old world views and prepare for your step into Winter.
Roadmap to Season #2: Winter – Initiation
Our second season on our Stress Healing journey is that of Winter and Initiation. This season is all about going deep, doing the hard internal work and “shooving” – making a necessary turn of direction. We embark on a process of initiation into ancient truths as we commit to presenting ourselves to the looking glass and wrestle with our own demons. There is no way around, no shortcut . . . each of us must pass through this often barren desert wasteland. We cannot walk it for you, but we can walk beside you.
Part #5 –The (s)ource
At this stage in our journey is the place where we must take one step more, and instead of just identifying and naming the stress problem as we did in Part #4, we understand that to truly heal, we must commit to self-examination, seek personal justice, and locate the (s)ource of the problem (lower case ‘s’ intended).
Part #6 – Reclaiming You
In this Winter season of the Desert Experience, we seek a revelation of the hidden oasis. Through the stress journey, we begin to recognize that to find the oasis, and to move forward, we must reclaim “Elemental Emotions.” It is through these emotions where we connect to that which is primal and allows us to fully possess who we are and what we stand for.
Part #7 – The (S)ource
As we reclaim and empower ourselves, previous sojourners on this path show us that inevitably, we reach a point where our inward quest leads not to the (s)ource of a problem, or a stress, but to our own (S)ource, to the ultimate Source. At this place, in this season, each of us explore a (re)connection with the Sacred – in whatever we conceive it to be.
Part #8 – Letting Go
Stress comes in many shapes and has many names. For all of them, the healing journey leads us finally to a boundary in our desert; a line in the sand that, unless we cross it, Spring will be ever elusive. Here the community is available to help you as you determine how you will begin to take leave of old habits and make the internal necessary changes that lead to the new life you wish.
Roadmap to Season #3: Spring – The Return
Our third season on our journey is that of Spring . . . and perhaps most obviously, the season of Rebirth. This season marks your Return from the desert experience and back into communal life.
Part #9 –Coming Back to The World
This stage finds you coming back to the world after your inward retreat. As you come back, content in this part of the curriculum explores questions like: how are you choosing to make the return? How are you beginning to communicate the changes you have made during winter to the rest of the world? How are you beginning to experience stressors differently in your new season? and How are you giving yourself permission to return to Winter if and when it is necessary?
Part #10 – Building the Good Place
In Autumn we open ourselves to understanding the ‘Desire to Feel Better’, and spent some time there and in Winter beginning to describe what ‘The Good Place’, the place opposite of stress, looks like. At this point in our path, we give a larger voice to the design and construction of The Good Place, and begin building it. While in the desert, we committed to and made some necessary changes, and here, as we re-enter communal life, we begin taking what other life strategists often call “massive action.”
Part #11 – Boundaries to The World’s Response
Upon arrival back to communal life, and continue to build the good place, often we find that the journey does not go as we thought. Our desert experience has changed us, and the world does not respond as expected, or in a Wizard of Oz-like display, the cultural curtain has been drawn back and the Wizard is not who he appears to be. As we walk here, member content and community strive to help work through the inevitable conflicts of consumer culture and a healedstress life.
Part #12 – Gratitude
As we close the season of Spring, we take a pause on our journey and revisit the expression of one elemental emotion: Gratitude. Our travels have brought us far, and as we prepare for our first steps into summer, content during this part of healstress.com focuses on gratitude for the gift of . . . life.
Roadmap to Season #4: Summer – Thriving
Our fourth season on our journey is that of Summer . . . the season following our desert experience and awakening to rebirth. This stage in the journey we are filled with the inertia from the past 3 seasons and now must establish the rituals that will allow us to thrive and flourish long-term.
Part #13 – New Rituals
In Part #13 our content focuses on our need to establish new rituals, new processes, new ways that allow us to integrate what we have learned into our new life. Any healing process needs ways to ensure we don’t repeat the patterns of the past but that at the same time recognizes needs for natural rhythms.
Part #14 –Communities of Concern
As we continue to grow through our stress healing journey, there comes a natural stage where we seek to share our experience and hard-won wisdom with others. Part of this sharing was needed all along, which is why the healstress Community is so important, but there is another part of sharing where helping others has a larger scope and extends to a larger cause. Curriculum in Part #14 walks with you as you learn and discuss causes that are worthy of your allegiance.
Part #15 –Possessing the Ordinary in Your Own Life
Inevitably, as we have weathered the raging storm, traversed the desert, come to the promised land, and thrived in the full fruits of summer, our new ritual sheds its new car smell, and as it is, Monday always comes. The earth-shifting change that has placed life on a new trajectory subsides, and new ritual turns into regular ritual, regular ritual to everyday routine. Content here explores the ways to best support you as your new life becomes your everyday life and how to live vividly within the ordinary.
Part #16 – Honoring the Cycle
The Healing Journey is indeed a cycle, but one that forms the shape of a helix, not a circle. As the journey spirals forward, we are called to a path that we accept or deny each time. Where we may be in Spring in one area of our lives, we may be in dark Autumn of another. To this reality, we must honor the cycle and make preparations for times where either we, or a loved one, colleague or acquaintance begin to enter a new season on the journey. Content in this part challenges you to ensure your ability to maintain your healing state as you honor the next cycles.
So, what does The Library look like?
The Healstress Library is an ever-growing collection of video, audio, documents, blog posts, podcasts, and resources that have been assembled to help you along your stress healing journey. The image below shows just a small sample of content that is in our library.
So, what does The Community look like?
The private Community is a web-based Forum software that has great features for promoting rich dialogue and connectedness between community members. Here is a sneak peak at what this looks like: