Thursday, January 27, 2022

Overcoming Stanford Duck Syndrome during the holiday season

By Sharon Campbell Rayment – Special to the Sydenham Current

This week my friends I lost the ability to speak. How exciting for my family! But not good for the rest of my friends at Trinity!

As you know after my accident, I lost the ability to speak. I believe I lost my voice to be silent for reflection, discernment, and rest to reconnect within, and with God.

So, I must be silent for a time which is one of the three tips to overcome the Stanford Duck Syndrome or worry and stress during this busy season as we “Journey to Christmas” together.

What is the Stanford Duck Syndrome?

Stanford students have been compared to ducks.

Seemingly calm on the surface but paddling furiously to stay afloat and appear like they are balancing everything easily.

Have you ever felt this way? I sure have!

The funny thing is that Stanford got it wrong! The duck metaphor is wrong.

Ducks don’t paddle furiously all the time that they are in the water. Their bodies are created to be naturally stable in water and here’s why.

First, their bodies are stable in water because they weigh less than the water that they displace. As well, their bones are hollow, and they have air sacs to help them float.

The duck also has a gland that secretes oil that it spreads over its body, so the feathers do not take on water.

Without this oil the duck would drown.

As such, the duck only needs to paddle to move or resist water currents.

It can rest and float to restore, renew, and ready itself to fly again.

On our journey to Christmas, we often paddle ferociously through it finding little joy, love, hope, and peace that the season is truly intended for.

Many of us overdo, overeat, overspend, paddling furiously to keep up.

Jesus did not do this. He didn’t exhaust himself frantically trying to do everything. And imagine the pressure he had to deal with from the Pharisees, his healing ministry, and his teachings.

Yet he didn’t follow the crowds. He didn’t rush from place to place. He kept grounded, present, and connected even in the midst of the chaos.

Jesus did three things that we too can do to manage stress, worry, and the rush of this season.

Jesus took time to be quiet.

Here is the secret to surviving the season, Mark 1:35. It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Jesus withdrew from the noise and chaos to pray in solitude, allowing time for silence, and communing with God.

Over and over, we read in the gospels that Jesus took time to be in the silence and pray. Look at Luke 5:15-16 (NCV), “News about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their sicknesses, but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so He could pray.”

Notice it says Jesus did this often. We need to do this often too.

We too need to have a quiet time every day to reflect, renew, and recharge.

If we could begin our day like Jesus, finding that inner silence before we begin to race into our day, we can stay focused, calm, and grounded.

Even in the midst of a busy mall or grocery store we can find inner calm and fortitude by breathing deep the breath of God throughout our day.

You may even want to turn off your phone. What? Are you crazy Sharon?

Shut off my phone. Yes, my friends, it is a scary proposition, but we can shut it down or ignore it even for one to three minutes.

Stay tuned folks, next week I will share more tips that Jesus has taught us to stay connected, present, and compassionate to ourselves, and to others as we “Journey to Christmas” together.

Until next time my friends remember every breath you take is a breath of God and a shared one with All my Relations United as One.

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