Daily Step – Where do you hold all your stress?


Where do you hold all your stress?

For me, it’s in my shoulders. Oh how they ache when I am stressed out! 

My shoulders carry all my stress and all my anxiety in a dozen little pesky, aching knots.

Even when I am not aware how stressed or overwhelmed I am, they have no qualms telling me what’s what.

Wherever you carry your stress, here’s a reminder to bless that piece of you and listen to its warnings.


Once more
I scrunch up
my tired, 
aching shoulders,
all the way up 
to just below 
my ears.

I push them as high
as they will go
and leave them
for a minute.

I let out a breath
and then
release them, 
noting only 
slight relief from
the persistent ache
as they slide 
back into place. 

I roll them
back and forth, 
back and forth,
as they settle
below my ears, 
noting they are 
a bit looser
than before.

These shoulders,
I don’t praise them 
nearly enough.

I don’t bless them
nearly enough 
with words of gratitude
for all they hold.

After all
they have held 
and continue to hold
ALL the things.

They have held
and continue to hold
all my stress,
all my anxiety,
all my countless hours 
of hunched over work.

They have held
and continue to hold
all my fears,
all my secrets,
all my anger,
all my countless battles 
to maintain hope.

They hold 
all of this 
and more
for ME, 

the one who  
takes and takes
yet hardly gives them
a moment’s reprieve.

So no wonder
they hurt.

No wonder
they ache.

Truth be told
I think my shoulders, 
they want the best
for me. 

That’s why they 
send me
so many signals,

subtle ones at first
but then much less so,
trying desperately
to get my attention,
begging incessantly
for me to go slower,
breathe deeper,
and search for greater

I think they are willing 
to carry me
as far as I want to go,
but at the same time,
they want me
to feel the ache

they want me
to acknowledge 
when it lingers

so I never settle 
for less 
than they
(or I)

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