Dear KRS,
I am usually pretty rational in times of stress or emergency situations, but I am still having difficulties dealing with the World Trade Center attack. It seems so needless and is just off the charts in regards to reason or logic. Can you help me to get a healthier perspective on things?
Still Traumatized by WTC Attack

Dear Traumatized,
You are not alone in your reaction and, because of the emotional charge that this event carries, I have even debated about offering advice on the subject. However, with letters like yours, I see a need for positive energy, so I will humbly offer what I can and hope it helps.

Start by nurturing 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 “get a massage” to “contribute to WTC funds” ? 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 people often get “out of themselves” and become vulnerable to prevailing negative energy. They can detach from their spiritual center and merge with surrounding chaos. Conversely, after spending even an “hour” in re-centering yourself through meditation, prayer or other vehicles, you will experience the world and its events through different 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, let’s talk about perspective. Since there is no expert in the world who can give us a logical “cause” for the WTC attack, we are allowed to take an open-hearted global view of this. Consider the possibility that an event as dramatic and far-reaching as the WTC attack is what it took to get the world to take action against evil. After all, the existence of this evil has been known for years, but we allowed it to continue and proliferate. It took something big, something that couldn’t be denied to bring us to action. Not only is the WTC event bringing the United States to action, but it is appearing to do what’s never been done before ? unite the world toward a common goal. It would not be unfounded to theorize that the WTC event will lead to greater political reciprocity between countries. And, after seeing several moving multi-denominational services and memorials since September 11, why not allow ourselves to also hope for a deeper religious (and maybe one day we might just say deeper spiritual) acceptance. If we allow and even nurture these positive “what ifs” in our own minds, the energy of those healing thoughts can 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.

Dear KRS,
I work a 40-hour week, have three children under ten years of age (four, if you count my husband), a dog and an endless “To Do” list. My holiday cards say “Peace” on them. How can I find a little peace for myself this season? Seeking Holiday Peace

Dear Seeking Peace,
Since extra activities, responsibilities and expectations at this time of year are unavoidable, I’m going to give you a few ideas on how you can clear a better path for serenity.

Start by removing as much outer stress-inducing debris as you can. Basic practical skills can help bulldoze the clutter of activities that rob your time. For example, simplify your schedule and responsibilities. Reschedule non-urgent activities for after the holidays and eliminate those holiday “To Dos” you no longer enjoy or that cause you stress. Then use every time management tip you know and ask other working moms for timesaving tips that get them through the holidays.

Next, eliminate as much inner stress-inducing debris as possible. Identify any self-sabotaging emotional patterns that may surface at this time of year. For example, do you allow or even create more chaos than necessary?  Does any part of you feel undeserving of holiday joy? Are you in the “habit” of stress during this time of year? If you answered “yes” to any of these, try to heighten your awareness of them so you can catch yourself when you start slipping back into them and apply the brakes. The recurrent spotlight of consciousness, like an acupuncture needle, can diffuse old patterns even in the busiest of times. Also remember that emotional issues are, in themselves, ideal opportunities for inner growth and spiritual evolution.

The more inner and outer clutter, chaos and stress you clear from your days, the more space you create for peace. It is a powerful positive cycle that effectively counteracts the negative stress-breeds-more-stress cycle.

Dear KRS,
While watching an exercise bike infomercial a few months ago, I became convinced that this machine would be my salvation. It would change my body, mind and life. Somehow men would be calling, my career would catapult to new levels and the pedaling, pedaling, pedaling would actually be fun!  I’ve now had it for only three weeks and indeed — I’ve HAD it. I’m using it six days a week but it’s so boring, boring, boring. My speech is even getting repetitive. What can I do?
Bored by Exercise Equipment

Dear Bored,
Statistics show that most exercise equipment ends up collecting dust. A former head of Christian Dior I interviewed for my book, Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, told me she and her husband can’t live without their exercise bike. She gets the handle bars and he gets the seat — to hang their clothes on. But before you toss it down the basement stairs, let’s attempt resurrecting its reputation as well as your investment. Use it only once or twice a week. Do other, preferably more palatable, exercises on other days. You’ll find your boredom level will be significantly reduced. Also, when you are using it, play your favorite music or watch TV. Listen to books on tape that you save only for your exercise time. I know some people who have achieved near marathon feats just to get to the end of a chapter.

If, after reducing the frequency, you still really dislike the bike — stop. Also, if you find something you absolutely love, safeguard against burnout by mixing it with other exercise so your program has variety and staying power. You have to outsmart yourself or you’ll wake up one day and think, “What happened? I was going strong there for awhile and suddenly it’s been two weeks since I’ve done anything.” Throw out that “No Pain, No Gain” maxim and put up this one:  “Not Fun, Not Done.”

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is avail-able for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, visit KRS at   For more information call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail   

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