WHEN YOU’RE OVERWHELMED

Overwhelm you're OKYour mind races and you can’t hold a thought, your gut burns and it’s hard to breathe. You can’t sleep, though you’re exhausted. You’re wired and depressed at the same time.  You have demands to meet, things to get done, decisions to make –  yet you stand like a deer in the headlights, unable to move as life keeps barreling toward you.

 
Try these three steps to stop feeling overwhelmed by emotions, life, and the energy of others. Nothing changes if nothing changes, so it’s time to try something new.

 
First, find yourself, then you’ll find the answers.
You can’t solve problems from the state you’re in, and the worry and anxiety that got you there don’t help either.  Thinking more, working harder, moving faster are counterproductive. Your priority right now is peace.  What is the quickest, healthy way to move your mind to a more peaceful state?  Do this now. You’re taking action, but in a way that brings you to the place that will allow you to move forward.   Get outside, breathe deeply and slowly. Check out free guided meditation apps like insighttimer.com  or www.headspace.com

 
Time solves many problems.
What feels critical to act on immediately may not be – everything is not a fire drill.   Time reveals information and answers you don’t have right now, and it’s the not knowing that contributes to being overwhelmed.  Often the best action is no action until you are clearer on what to do. Allow yourself time to “sleep on it,” or set a problem aside for a specific time with the intention of coming back to address it head-on. This isn’t procrastination, it’s purposefully planning to deal with one thing at a time, at the right time.

 
Get in reality. 
Bring yourself into the moment by focusing on basic survival.  Remind yourself of the immediate truth like “I’m safe. I have food. I have shelter. I am loved. I am healthy,” to calm the panicked voice driving your fear and anxiety.  Being in the moment gives you solid ground to stand on. Changing your thoughts to what’s working, even in small ways, calms your emotions and signals your body to settle down as well.
Being overwhelmed is a sign you’re disconnected – from yourself, your body, your Spirit, and others. Stepping back and checking in gets you plugged back into the source of your power to let you see you really will be OK.

 

 

Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash.com

 

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Equinox

Fall camelia 2017I welcome nature’s lesson in balance today as the equinox makes equal length of dark and light.

Of late, I wake before the alarm, feeling nervous and restless. My daughter has been sick again for weeks with no improvement. As one symptom abates, another rises to take its place. I’m worried, and feel helpless as I don’t know what to do next to help her heal. Her body is overcome with an illness I can’t control, and the quality of her life is on the line.

At the same, the Earth’s body has been ravaged by dis-ease. The forests burn, the ground shakes and rearranges itself, and the oceans give rise to monster storms. As one abates, another rises to take its place. There is so much unrest.

One morning, before rising, I ask prayerfully, how in the midst of all of this do I find my equanimity?

An image comes to me of Earth from a thousand miles up. The clouds are moving softly, and the oceans’ currents flow as they should. Despite the chaos on the surface we experience up close, this celestial body we call home hangs solid and sure, anchored to its place in the universe by forces we cannot see. It’s the pull of something larger than itself that keeps it orbiting, and its core that keeps it spinning and balanced at the poles.

Later I take my coffee outside to stand barefoot on the grass and let the chill air wake me. Autumn calls as I feel the tug of the Earth’s center slow my heart – let go, let go, let go.

Finding balance starts with the tiniest bit of willingness and a shift in awareness. Nature never fails to answer my prayers. With new eyes, I see the camellia bushes lining the fence, still glossy and green, but dusted with cobwebs and dried leaves. To my surprise, the branches are full of pale buds – a sign of the vivid pink blossoms that grow, odd and beautiful, every winter.

Aren’t they early? Should they be growing this soon? More questions that don’t need to be answered. Their presence is enough. My heart lightens with this reminder that in times that require letting go in life, something brilliant and unexpected can show up, and will, if I keep my eyes open and my feet on the ground.