Stress- Who’s to blame?

I am going to think out loud for a bit…

Recently, I heard a definition of stress that is new for me: Stress is “when the resources of the individual are not sufficient to cope with the demands and pressures of the situation.”  I am troubled by this definition.

To begin, let’s go to an extreme situation.  Imagine a concentration camp where people are being murdered every day.  Does the definition mean that, if only the prisoners had more internal resources they would not have felt stress in that situation?  How about an abusive family?  If only the children had more resources they could cope with the situation of abuse.  Perhaps through mindfulness practices such as breathing and meditation they could deal with being whipped with a belt. Ommmmmm.

Obviously, that was facetious.

But do you see where I am going with this?  It seems that the definition above puts the onus on the individual.  It seems that this definition comes from an individualistic perspective, perhaps an individualistic society.   If only the individual had more internal resources he or she would not feel the stress.  Organizations, systems, structures can do what they want, ask what they want of their people, and if the people cannot cope it is their own fault.  The individuals need more mindfulness training.  It is a perfect set-up for abuse.

I do believe in mindfulness and the power of positive thinking.  Yoga, TM, retreats are positive practices, my positive practices.  I also believe that some systems continue demanding more and more and then try to blame the individual who cannot keep up with or does not want to keep up with the new, the changing demands.  Does the individual have a choice when the demands change?  There is mutual responsibility.

Sometimes the system needs to change.  Sometimes the individual.  Sometimes both.  Whatever causes the stress, we cannot blame the victim alone without looking at the system in which the individual operates.  Sometimes less is more.  Sometimes individuals need to say, “No, I can’t do any more,” without fear of retribution.  Often the systems should not ask.

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Mind Children

I have been looking for these songs from my childhood for a while.  Now that I found them, I’ll post them here so as to not lose them again.  And hey, they’re good songs.  Take a listen…

 

Becoming Peruvian Part 5

73667208-10B9-4342-A387-487EA9B67BF6Letter in hand we headed to Migraciones today.  The trip only took about 35 minutes, starting at 10:15 A.M., from La Molina; so far so good.

We arrived and quickly found Room 5 on the first floor, it’s the one straight ahead in the back, and I got in line to get my number.  The lady handing out numbers told me to go directly to desk 44, just like the letter said, and not wait for my number to be called.  The security guard told me I had to wait for my number to be called.  I waited.

A few minutes later my number was called by the lady at desk 45.  When I got there I asked Raquel about the letter, Mr. José and desk 44.  She said she could help me… and she did.  She found my file and went through the pages putting sticky notes on many of the pages and asking about “Islay,” the district where Mollendo, Peru is located.  Thankfully, Ana Maria was there to answer the questions.  She asked why I had two different passport numbers (the U.S. changed my number a few years ago) and was satisfied with the answer and my showing her my passport.  She did not ask about the names on the marriage certificate.

Questions answered, she showed me the document she had prepared and asked me to check it for accuracy.  I appreciated that.  Then she handed me a pen and I signed three copies of the document that she had prepared.  Then I marked each of the three pages with my fingerprint, right index finger.  She kept the three copies.  I thanked her and headed toward the door where they checked my backpack to see if I was stealing anything.  I wasn’t.

In two months they will call me to set a time for the ceremony.  Then I will become Peruvian.  Based on previous experience, I am expecting the call in three months, or four.  I hope to be proven wrong in my prediction.  Everyone was very nice and the process is in motion.

¡Viva Perú!

Becoming Peruvian Part 4

IMG_0533Today I received an email from Migraciones.  It says that I need to personally go to first floor, room 5 in the Migraciones office.  I have 5 days in which I can go beginning on Friday, March 1, 2018.  The letter says nothing about bringing any documents such as a passport or ID card (but I will bring them anyway).

I am very excited for this next step in the process.  I think I will go on Monday morning; that way I am within the window of 5 working days and I do not have to consider whether the letter means Thursday, March 1 or Friday, March 2, 2018.  By my count, about 55 working days have passed since my application was received.

Stay tuned…

‘Twas Almost Vacation

Written for the teachers at my school…

‘Twas almost vacation and throughout the school
While kids were frenetic, the teachers were cool
A few students traveled but most were still there
To finish December with ganas and flair.

Assessments completed and conferences done
This last week of learning was different, was fun
ManageBac housed all the comments, each grade
The teachers drank coffee. The children?  They played-

They argued at 4-square, though no one was mean;
They gossiped of summer- The beach! What a scene!
They played (it was recess), they hadn’t a care.
They knew their escuela would always be there

Then one of the students she noticed the time
The teachers were missing, the bell didn’t chime.
The counselors, Katie and Rox, disappeared
With Sandra and Rosi and Victor.  How weird!

“Should we be worried?”
“Or should we be scared?”
Some started screaming but mostly they stared.
When up on the bridge there arose such a noise
That it grabbed the attention of girls and the boys.

First Flores, and, Dierkes then Reeves and Bené
Ms. Mincha and Uchi, Ms. Wiley, Ms. Lay,
Ms. Delia, Wellner and Page, Hollowáy
Ms. Emily, Fuller, McGlothin and Rae.

They stomped on the bridge and they stomped really loud
The rest of us teachers we joined in the crowd.
We sang for the kids and we danced way up high
They applauded for us then we chanted goodbye-

“The time is 12:20, it’s time for vacation
“Go travel! Go Read!” we sang with elation.
“Your work is now done here we’ve journeyed quite far
“Don’t’ stop and play 4 square, Go get in your car!”

The children all cheered as they said their goodbyes
They raced to their rides a bit older, more wise.
We waved to each bus as they drove out of sight-
Great vacation to all and to all a good night.