Articles by KRS Edstrom with solutions for stress management, alternative health, personal growth, meditation, and mindfulness.

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article 1

Your Computer, Your Monastery
By KRS Edstrom

My computer recently crashed resulting in 35+ hours of tech support and “new found friendships” in India. Not even in the crazy beginning stages of teenage puppy love have I talked so long on the phone. During those hours I believe I also found new levels of frustration, as in: “My life is passing – and I’m on the phone to India!”

Interestingly, as the hours and days passed, I seemed to actually settle into this Siberian monastery training, and in doing so, two mini miracles took place.

First, during one of the particularly non-productive sessions, I slipped into about 45 minutes of blissful peace. I remember feeling complete surrender in the moment and thinking something like “This is all there needs to be. This is exactly as good a place to be as any.” I actually scribbled on a torn scrap of paper, perhaps in an attempt to secure the moment, “I’m so happy about just being me.” Corny as it sounds in words, that scrap of paper is plastered on my wall as a reminder of my sweet merge with Now.

[Having said that, let me assure you that while I think "suffering offers exquisite lessons" is a certain punch line to this life, be it known that I am currently on a computer backup rampage that may border on radical. I seek to avoid the same lesson twice.]

Second, although still struggling with language barriers, I finally connected with one of the head techs (at about the 30 hour mark). While waiting for something to load, we started talking about his world – what he ate for lunch, his nostalgia for the “back then” of his country that he never knew, his walks by the sea to “download” and his closely knit tech team. He told me that just a few days previous many of his top techs were injured or killed in an auto accident on their way to a much-anticipated vacation together. He was in the car behind the one hit and could only watch helplessly.

His department was now struggling with the “empty seats” next to them while trying to pick up the slack for being short staffed.

My little computer world and goal list were suddenly yanked into perspective as my heart sprang open to envelop his cubicle. This 22 year old and I talked about the tragedy for the next 15 minutes. I felt such grace from him soaking into me as I tried to offer what solace I could. Had my computer not crashed I wouldn’t have arrived in this impactful chance encounter.

[Note to self: Trust the forks in the road and soften into where they lead.]

© KRS Edstrom


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article 2

"Return to Your Normal Lives…” (the Fallout of 911)
By KRS Edstrom

The impact of the World Trade Center attack has woven itself into the tapestry of American consciousness. Many otherwise stalwart, emotionally grounded Americans seem almost surprised to find themselves still so haunted by the events of September 11th 2001. The history-making enormity of that day with the ensuing bio-terrorism threats has not left us much space to fully assimilate the events, not to mention recover from them. That we have had difficulty grasping the multi-dimensional Big Picture of this bad dream may be the good news. In fact it may be that our innate self-shielding mechanisms are playing a role in this drama, blocking the full impact and allowing us instead, just a steady trickle of naked reality. One piece of this emotionally layered 1000 piece puzzle is handed to us at a time. And even that measured dose is overwhelming for many.

It seems clear that psycho-dynamics of our historically strong, self-made nation have been rattled. America may be going through a sort of ongoing posttraumatic stress and with it, a temporary identity crisis. Our usual role as world caretaker and moral guide is conflicting with a new and perhaps uncomfortable inner need for nurturing and reassurance. This need bypasses theory and reason, shooting straight to an earlier part of our brain and spirit. Below I offer some solutions for recovery that you may find helpful.

  • Nurture yourself. If that sounds selfish, just remember that you cannot give to others what you haven’t got. If you are stressed and uncentered, that is the energy you will emanate. Make an unedited list of your current needs, allowing all your subselves to contribute, such as inner child, angry teenager or whoever wants to be heard. Your list may range from “lie on my stomach and draw with crayons” to “meditate” to “punch a pillow” – there are no shoulds for your list. After your “needs list” is completed, make it a reality.
  • Next, remember your spiritual roots and resource them. I say “remember” these roots because in times of stress you can become vulnerable to prevailing negative energy, slip from your spiritual center and merge with surrounding chaos. Conversely, after taking the time to re-center yourself through meditation, prayer or other spiritual vehicle, you can experience the world and its events through different, softer eyes. Instead of picking up (and being swept away by) negative energy, you will pick up - and emanate - positive, healing energy. It’s almost magical. These are the times to implement that core of spirituality inherently yours. What you’ll discover in making an effort toward this, is that you have a deeper well of spirit than you realized.
  • Finally, consider shifting your perspective. Since there is not an expert in the world who can give us a logical cause for such an event, we are allowed to attempt an openhearted interpretation of the situation. Why entertain such an exercise? Because a positive shift in perspective can affect every aspect of your inner experience from biochemistry to spirituality, which accelerates your recovery. So try to build a new perspective based on any positive threads you may be able to tease from recent events. Your own version is best, but here’s an example:

Consider that possibility that an event as dramatic and far-reaching as the WTC attack is what is took to get the world’s attention. After all, these negative forces have been recognized for years, but have been allowed to proliferate. “Returning to our normal lives” as Bush had suggested, was and still is an impossible assignment – but that may not be a bad thing. Perhaps it took something big, something that couldn’t be denied to shock us out of our normal lives….and to bring us to action.

Not only has the WTC event brought the United States to action, but it may even eventually contribute to accomplishing something that’s never been done before – uniting the world towards a common goal. It would not be fantasy to theorize that the WTC event could lead to greater political reciprocity between countries. And, after seeing the many multi-denominational services and memorials that followed September 11, why not widen our new perspective one more notch to believe that this may lead us to greater global religious tolerance or better, spiritual acceptance. If we consciously cultivate a healthier perspective in our own minds, the energy of that perspective can spread to overpower the negative. And perhaps we can one day say that the lives lost on September 11, 2001 were not in vain; that those souls were our unknowing guides to the biggest step ever in the evolution of consciousness and spirituality on this planet.

© KRS Edstrom


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