Green Grass and Stress Hardy: Burnout 301

Along with Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, glorious green grass has arrived here in the North. We watch our yards grow, note the unevenness of the grass and know it is too early to mow. It is during this annual 2 week threshold where we watch and wait, knowing that waiting to mow is actually good for the yard. It is also a practice we often do in community because for the most part, at least during these 14 days, we may not feel the neighborhood pressure to keep our grass the same height as everyone else. Why? Because everyone is setting aside expectations as we wait for health to come to the yard.
 
Liminal space can be defined as a place where we are not where we were and not yet where we want to be. Spring is a prime example: no more blizzards, but summer isn’t here. We often live in this space in other areas of our life: unfinished house projects, transitions at work, and transforming relationships. We could also add to list: addictions we have yet to overcome, broken relationships, and physically aging bodies. The liminal space we find ourselves today is not nearly so serious as those I have listed, but it nonetheless paints a picture for us as we look at preventing burnout. 
 
Liminal space is a place of waiting and uncertainty. Perhaps something or someone was broken and has not yet restored. Maybe it is the process of waiting until time passes or treatments to begin to heal wounds. Because of the discomfort, we often want to rush through the liminal space. We feel like we just want to get to the other side of the discomfort because we are pretty sure we will be much happier when we get there. The complexity that accompanies that line of thinking is: if you rush through the liminal space of uncertainty you are never able to be in the present moment and the present moment is really all we have. 
 
“Be here now.” ~ Ram Dass
 
The present moment is where we touch our creativity, make good decisions, have agency for moving forward in the world. It is the place in our brain that helps us better interpret the emotions we feel, and reminds our reward center that a glass of wine is fine, but the whole bottle is not the best idea. This present moment is an important key in our pursuit of stress hardiness. 
 
This weekend, when you hear the mowers roar to life, summer will be on its way. Use that neighborhood rumble as a time to consider this: Right now, in which areas of life do I experience a place of threshold? What uncertainty does it bring? How does staying in the present help me navigate this liminal space? Take a few moments and journal your answers and share with a friend. 
 
Practice staying in the present.
 
Create the weekend you want to experience,
Andrea

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