145 – Tension

“Time poor” is so applicable to blogging because it can create unnecessary tension. I can honestly say I’m learning to manage it. Thanks for understanding.

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on the feet.

I feel tension on the beach this morning – the wind is blowing, the sea is rough, and the clouds are dark – all in advance of forecasted storms this afternoon.

Tension – a strain, a stretch, or stress – a tightening that can be physical, emotional, or mental.

A variety of words come to mind when I think of tension – anxiety, pressure, restlessness, suspense, uncertainty, agitation, anticipation, conflict, excitement, worrying, and nervousness. I’m sure there are more, but none of these words would be synonyms for harmonious.

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Tensions can be personal, societal, or within any group. They involve building pressure that seeks a release. All of us encounter tension throughout our life. As I look back at my life, I can see tension as an interaction between aspiration, reality, and wounded memories.

I think of tension as the racing heart and sweaty palms that we get as we wait for something important. All of us have had those moments before something important – a speech, a significant ceremony, a job interview, a pivotal meeting, and other situations.

I think about the tension between people – tension in personal relationships, tension at work, tension of competition, tension when communicating, even the sexual tension igniting an irresistible spark.

I think about the tension involved in music. Songwriters create tension through lyrics, but composers use chords, tones, and musical expressions to create tension for the listener. I think about how musicians such as guitarists and violinists change a string’s tension to tune their instruments.

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I think about performances on stage and screen. Playwrights and screenwriters use the tension between characters and relationships within the storyline to build conflict and anticipation to weave mystery and drama with embedded surprises throughout the plot.

I think about the tensions in today’s society. Then I remind myself that I lived through the societal tension of the late 1960s-early 1970s. Comparing the similarities and differences between the two time periods would be an interesting study. After all, both are tension created by a conflict of societal values. Spokespersons on both sides use their rhetoric to exaggerate the message to increase tension.

As a sports fan, I think about the tension at the beginning of a big game. As the game ebbs and flows, tension passes through a cycle of building and releasing – then possibly culminating at an important moment near the end.

I stop to stare across the water. The sea is still rough, but the science teacher in me reminds me about surface tension – that cohesive attraction between water molecules at the surface whose inward force creates a tight net allowing insects to stand upon and walk across water. Can you float a paperclip on water? Do you remember doing that in school? That same attraction also plays a role in allowing water to move from the tree’s roots up to the leaves.

Photo by Tanguy Sauvin on Pexels.com

Tension – the feeling our body feels after a day that didn’t come close to the plan – a tight feeling from head to toes – the feeling of just one of those days.

Tension – the feeling is still here on the beach as my walk ends. The wind is still strong. The clouds are still dark and swirling. The sea is still rough and the waves are crashing onto the shore. But that is the tension in the environment. While my thoughts today are about tension, I’m relaxed because I like walking on the beach, which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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84 thoughts on “145 – Tension”

  1. An interaction between aspiration, reality and wounded memories hits the nail on the head for me, Frank. I create tension where I really shouldn’t, and then have to try to right the balance.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jo,
      Finding a way to right the balance after encountering tension is such an excellent thought, I wish I would have used those words! Same for self-induced tension! Thanks for letting me know the thought that stuck with you. Meanwhile, let’s have some cheers to tension relievers as wine and cake. 🙂

      Like

  2. No one can live in this world without tension. My mother use to tell me – personal tension was created if a person was a “Worry Wart”. Society can definitely create tension. Loss of extra time to enjoy one’s self causes a lot of tension for me. I find it hard to find the time I want for blogging – no apologies needed for lack of time in this busy world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Peggy,
      I’m with you. Not only does tension has a natural place in the human world, self-induced tension as a Worry Wort add unnecessary tension. It also seems that people with low confidence also elevate tension on themselves. Thanks for sharing and for understanding the lack of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Cincy

    Tension is something that we carry with us, even when we don’t realize we’re doing it. For me it was the lower back. When I would wake up in the morning, my lower back was impossible to deal with until a few loose stretches and a cuppa or two. And then I began TM and it poof! The lower back pain vanished. For good. It was an excellent lesson.

    As for your paper clip on water floating experiment? I never did that one! I feel kinda cheated now.

    And the tension of sporting events has changed for me. Whereas I used to sit on pins and needles until the end of a big game, now I usually sit on pins and needles watching the highlights the next morning.

    Hey, thank you for introducing me to this young lady!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marc,
      Ouch … the physical tension of lower back pain. As I type this, there is an orthopedic commercial on TV! … followed by one of those dark political ads with the ominous music. Pins and needles during highlights? Oh boy … Houston, we have a problem! 😉 Meanwhile, floating the paper clip could be your entertainment tonight – so I expect a full report! Glad you enjoyed the video. Happy to introduce you to Ms. Stokes! I can confirm that this song initiated the idea for this walk!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was rough. But also an eye opener, that meditation could solve it.

        The Yankees do not have that IT factor. Good team, another good regular season for Boone. But the Astros are tenacious and the Yankees are not. I’m checking in on the Mets score and I telegraphed this one. I said Scherzer was going to shut the Yankees down and he did just that. People fall in love with the Yankees power but in big games, that’s not what wins. I know this is harsh for a team that has been leading their division from early on, but seriously, they ain’t winning it. Unless . . . go and get Castillo. Figure a way to get Ohtani, not Soto. Won’t happen though.

        I’ll have to try this!

        Love the video Frank. And how cool is that?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The tension by the beach on a windy day can be a wonderful eraser of thoughts! That loud white noise eats up everything! 😉 Beautiful albeit tense walk, my friend .. but you know what comes after tension: release! 😉
    Yamas, my friend

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We are definitely living a time fraught with tension (a better comparison is the 1850s or 1930s Germany).
    I like how you mentioned feeling tension is not a good thing for one’s body or health, but watching tension in a movie or play is exciting (as is sexual tension, of course). I agree with Marina that tension on a windy beach can be exhilarating. 😊
    It is difficult to manage all the reading from blogs/social media. I’m glad you feel a bit better about it, Frank.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Merril,
      Knowing how much you enjoy theaters and movies, I’m glad I tapped into that thought. It’s a wonderful tension that keeps us engaged! A good drama is one of my favorite theater/movie genres! As you know, music can also provide that! Thanks for walking along and for sharing! 🙂

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  6. Take deep breaths and feel the tension fade away. That’s what my Inner Voice says, Frank (well, one of them!). I much prefer feeling relaxed; the same as everyone really! Being out in nature, or on the beach, helps too! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Frank, I certainly agree with a quote I saw which indicated maturity is achieved when a person accepts that life is full of tension. Since life is such a fluid thing with its inevitable highs and lows, you have to ride that tension wave for awhile before you “get it.” And speaking of waves, thanks for another great walk on the beach. (The musician was new to me also…loved that selection!)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bruce,
      Right on .. life is full of tension – including the self-imposed. Ups and downs are daily – and every day is not the same! Just like the waves at the beach. Some days the surf is tranquil – but the waves are still present. Other days the sea is way more up and down. Great take about maturity. Glad you enjoyed the music. I first heard the song on XM Coffeehouse – immediately loved it – and knew I wanted to work it in here – so the tension essay was born.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When blogging starts to bring tension into your life, it’s time to balance that with something, Frank. This should be fun, not feel like work. I remember first being taught about surface tension, and being absolutely amazed!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. That one word encompasses a lot, both for good and for I’ll. You did a wonderful job of exploring the many facets of tension. As for blogging…I love the community and how it enriches my life. It is, however, a lot of work. But that’s true of many worthwhile things. Nevertheless, I have had to cut back to one post a week rather than three. And from time to time, I take short blogging breaks. Still, what a wonderful world it is with so many thoughtful and creative blogging friends. Hope you find a good balance.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Laurie,
      There is no doubt that life provides many examples of good and bad tension. So much so that maybe life is tension. However, it is important that each of us know how to balance tension. Blog breaks are an example because I’m a firm believer that blog breaks are good. (A mantra to I have used for a long time). A toast to our wonderful blogging community.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You bring up the whole gamut of tension, Frank, much of it is our own making. There are two types of stress: Distress and Eustress–eustress is good stress, but our bodies don’t recognize the difference and react physiologically accordingly ( as you describe with tension). Being retired now, my own tension is brought on by myself, and the worrywart takes over. I stopped blogging more than 1-2 a week long ago, Frank. Sunday Stills is more work than people might expect, but I love it. Throwing out a wordless Wednesday post is fun and not much to write, LOL! Quite a few bloggers post every day, but I can’t read them every day. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri,
      Great points – and thanks for the two types of stress. Retirement tension is so different that regular-work tension. But it is still present because tension in life is natural because it is part of being human. In terms of blogging, there was a time when I posted 6 times a week – but over time I’ve learned not to overwhelm the reader. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy,
      Great point. No matter one’s point in life, balance is unquestionably necessary. Tension is a natural part of life – and tension increases in many situations. But tension also has a way of increasing when a person is out of balance.

      Like

    1. Michel,
      Thank you for the kind words about this walk. Life seems to have so much tension during these times. I also think about the simmering that seems to be going on in many countries across the globe. Personally, I find that type of tension to be concerning. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  11. Frank, I know just what you mean about tension in blogging. I think, like most things, it’s something we need to make work for us time wise, or we’ll go nuts biting off more than we can chew! I love this blogging community, and I’d post every single day if I could. But there are so many other things demanding my time and attention, and I’d rather not spread myself too thin. You’ll find the balance, my friend!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Debbie,
      Thank you for focusing on blogging tension. To me, that could be a post in itself. Some of the obvious tensions are the pressure we put on ourselves to post and to visit others. I think one of the unrealized tension is the pressure on the reader. For instance, posting every day places pressure on the readers to keep up. That’s tough … and I know I didn’t realize that when I was doing that years ago. Bottom line is that balance is important because life involves so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Balance. Tension. I enjoyed your post very much…I have let go of so much blogging, writing and reading now. I feel tired and worn out – even if I love this community. But, as Dan remarked too, it should be fun – not work.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A-C,
      No matter if the poster or the reader, keeping up with blogging can be very time consuming – therefore lead to tension. And yes – blogging should be fun … and feeling tired is not fun! There is different ways of backing away to rebalance life including blogging. Hang in there and thanks for sharing & walking along.

      Like

  13. Excellent, Frank. You are right about the tension of society today and back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Sometimes I wonder why it seems nothing has changed. You wrote about tension in music. I hadn’t thought about that. And yes, when blogging brings on tension, something’s gotta give.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jennie.
      Those of us who lived the late 60s-early 70s know that was a volatile time. The similarities and differences between then and today is interesting – however – another factor is that our age & perspective are different in each of those times. Nonetheless, the tension of then and now are obvious to me! When I was thinking about the tension of music, orchestral pieces is what immediately came to me mind. Thanks for walking along and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Because you mentioned the thing about tension in music…a great term used in music analysis/music history/composition/performance is a german term that says it all IMHO – sturm und drang. That feeling of push/pull; rising/lowering – as in the tides; and yes, resolution of some sort at some point after having gone through a few of those cycles!
    As regards blogging tension – we all get it. My advice? Don’t fret the small stuff, Frank – and blogging is small stuff when all is said and done.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I know that tension is usually considered to be unwelcome but I like your bit with the water. Tension can be good. . I think of a tension bridge that stays upright because of tension. I think of that delicious anticipation, tension when you first meet someone you are attracted to. We need tension in our muscles to make them work. Yes we are surrounded by tension but I don’t think it’s all bad. I like to focus on the positive and acknowledge the negative.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I think of tension being a positive force rather than negative. Without tension we become limp. Tension allows for movement as muscles are arranged to maintain tension as one relaxes and another tightens… Just my POV.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Tension somehow seems to be a necessary aspect of everyday living…and as far as our bodies are concerned the muscles and joints have various tensions put upon them…by which we can stand upright, and walk…and other tensions may result in non functioning limbs….yup, another health related comment, LOL!

    When I was your title I immediately thought of the stringed instruments making music…or sour notes…and one needs proper tension on the bows to create the sounds with the various strings.
    Once in a music class, a string broke on a cello, and the bridge, relieved of the tension on it, flew across the room!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ingrid,
      Your music and health examples don’t surprise me. People who play stringed instruments know well. Even the environment can cause the tension to change – therefore it is out of tune! Hot & humid muggy nights mustdrive musicians crazy! Thanks for walking along and sharing.

      Like

  18. Good subject – I feel like “tension” is always waiting in the wings these days. There’s lots to think about and worry about even though we work like mad to avoid it. I thought when I retired those feelings would melt into the cosmos as I let it all go and enjoyed the lack of all that structure my job(s) had given me. BUT I have learned these last years that tension in so many forms is not something to escape from but to learn to live with and work around. I guess it’s all about finding a balance.

    Pam

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pam,
      There is no doubt that tension is part of everyday life. – therefore finding balance is important! At least we retirees don’t have the tension that goes with the daily workload! Then again, retirement tension also exists – but it’s a different form that the work years. See you at the school.

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  19. I appreciate these thoughts on tension, especially in your reflection about feeling the tension on the beach. Tension is not something I previously associated with water or the beach, so I love the shift that occurred for me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Thought-provoking! Tension is important for the species – keeps us humming and working hard and striving. On the other hand, tension (stress) is bad for our health. I walk the beach and woods/meditate/read/write to reduce tension. But in my stories, I know that tension is a must-have in my plots, and in my characters’ lives. Hmmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam,
      You took me full circle with various aspects of tension …. and I agree with all of them. Tension exists in other species. I’m sure the animal being chased by a lion is a bit tense … and the lion is probably tense too! But with us, tensions comes with being human. After all, we have such a wide range of emotions. With tension being so much of life, it is important to have positive ways of reducing tension. Thanks for reinforcing the use of tension in stories!

      Like

  21. I am aware that too often I feed tension in my life by indulging in doom scrolling and reading sources that only feed my fears. I counteract that tension as much as possible by also spending time on beach walks. I did that this week, and wondered why I don’t do it more. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Debra,
      There is no doubt that tension is part of daily life … but the self-induced tension is just that. All of us do it – but some more than others …. and in different situations. Oh well … guess that’s all part of being human. Glad you find the beach to be your happy place for reducing tension. You are lucky to have one so close! Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ritva,
      Family is a big source of tension in a family … especially by the parents. No matter the age of the children, parents will always carry tension regarding their children. Then again, much of that is because they care! Unfortunately, global tensions seem strong these days … and for a variety of reasons. Some morning I wake up wondering what crazy thing happened in the world overnight. Thanks for walking along and sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  22. The two aspects of tension … boo! to stress & anxiety, and yet, we need it when it comes to music, stories. Nothing is a simple good or bad, is it? It comes down to perspective, right?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ju-Lyn,
      I agree with you. It is about perspective because it’s one’s perspective that affects the reaction. Two people can agree that a particular source of tension is bad – but they can react very differently. Thanks for providing a good perspective!

      Like

  23. My tension is felt in my neck and upper shoulders (as it is for many women/mothers) – bearing the weight of others is something we are prone to doing.
    There is also the good type of tension! The proper one to use when knitting or doing needlework. The type you want to hold your sails at the right place…
    Lovely music. I didn’t know her either.
    And I feel cheated, too. I didn’t know the paperclip one… Will have to look into it.

    Hope any tension you are feeling is the good type 🙂 Happy Sunday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dale,
      It is interesting how tension physically affects people … and different from person to person. On the plus side, a masseuse knows what to do with those tight muscles! It is interesting all the different ways people release tension – and what is good for one isn’t good for another. I hope you try the paper clip – let me know!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Frank – enjoyed the post and part about societal tensions does remind me we will always have issues in the world that bring tension
    Enjoyed the closing song – it fit this post in so many ways and the vocals were so good

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yvette,
      Thanks for the kind words You thought about tension in the world causes me to wonder if there ever was a time without tension. I doubt it. Glad you enjoyed the closing song. I can actually say that the song’s title inspired this walk. I knew I wanted to use the song, but wasn’t sure when – so “Tension” was born.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi, Frank, great post. My favorite tension is standing on a beach before a storm. It’s so beautiful, dramatic, and it feels & smells divine! As for other tensions, I’ve just purchased a new diffuser and essential oil blend! Have a great week, my friend! 🌞

    Like

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