I know stress. Maybe you do, too. I've spent a lot of time trying to make stress go away. I've done a lot of wishing and hoping to no longer be stressed and to be self-assured and at ease with whatever comes my way. Oh, to be as cool as a cucumber!

Unless you live in a bubble somewhere - and even bubbles burst - there will always be stress. Instead, I’ve decided to take on a new approach to stress. Rather than trying to make stress go away, try to understand it - kind of like keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. Okay, maybe "enemy" is too strong a word to describe stress. Maybe "frienemy" is more accurate. At any rate, dealing with stress is like hitting a patch of ice on the road. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to swerve to avoid the ice only to spin out of control. A better approach is to take your foot off the gas pedal. Take your foot off the brake, too.  Face the ice and glide over it.

When it comes to your stress, please don’t wait until you’ve hit critical mass to do something about it. The best advice I can give is to take pleasure in the simple things every day. This shop is all about simple pleasures, little reminders that happiness is within us at all times - even when we can't seem to find it very easily. So, why not take time for yourself today and enjoy the elements of low-stress living?

Stay in the k(now),

Melissa Stefanski

You've probably heard this story before, but I really enjoy it every time I read it. I hope you will, too.  Here it goes…

The Starfish Story

~ Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!” ~
Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

This simple story serves as a good reminder that:
                                                       YOU are worth time and effort.
                               Maybe you can't help everyone, but you can help someone.
                               Goals can be achieved one mini step at a time.

I've never known anyone to just wake up one day and magically be stress-free. What I do know is that by committing to practice one simple relaxation technique or tackling one little task on your to-do list adds up day by day. There's a cumulative effect to managing stress. Managing just a part of your stress every day amounts to feeling great. There won't be a designated day when you'll say, "Yes, this was the day when my stress got under control." But, after some practice, there will come a realization that somewhere along the way, things got better.