I had a great chat with my sister. She was bursting to tell me about a recent breakthrough. She had been feeling overwhelmed coping with a surge of new clients in her part time bookkeeping/accounting business. Then her spirituality kicked in, as it always does after a while, and her realizations felt important to me too (and I’m hoping, to you).
“My inclination when life gets hairy is to buckle down and work hard,” she said (oh, yeah, I understand THAT). “But if the experience of doing that is a continued sense of overwhelm, then what would be the downside of doing it a different way?” Then she went over some of the phrases of wisdom variously harvested from AA, Landmark Education, and a non-denominational church she loves. “Surrender. Don’t just do something, sit there. Let [possibility/my inner wise woman/a higher power] take care of it.”
Yes, very new-agey, and we all need to fill in the brackets with what works for us individually. But all we can ever do is one thing after another, and it will never be enough to satisfy a brain hooked on adrenalin or handicapped by guilt. So the trick is in feeling good about those things that we CAN do and DID do. That’s not an insignificant trick. Crack that code and live in bliss, right?
Bliss is good. I feel it every now and then, and I believe I can learn to increase the frequency and duration. Within hours of talking with my sister, this topic came up again twice. I had my weekly 30-minute massage with my self-appointed psychotherapist Adrzej, and he noticed my shoulder muscles had tightened up again. He asked what was going on with me, and I mentioned that I had a hard time getting to bed early enough to have a full night’s sleep. He said that when he reaches the end of a day, he often needs to create a sense of peace about what he has accomplished so that he can ‘give up the day.’ To do that, he looks to see if he spent time on the parts of his life that nourish him rather than whether he accomplished particular tasks. Did he spend quality time with his kids? Did he create an intimate connection with his wife? Did he work in his garden? But he admitted sometimes even that isn’t enough, and it’s hard to step back from looking for that one last thing that will bring closure to the day.
Next I saw a blog post titled “See your life pass before your eyes,” from Todd Clark, founder of “Get Lit; a fire under every butt.” Same topic. Too much data, too much overwhelm. In addition to running his own business, his wife just gave birth to twins in the past weeks. He has more right than any of us to feel overwhelmed. He listed some great Web resource suggestions for recording/evaluating/appreciating each day in VERY short bits. I’ve now tried one of them, 280Daily.com for a few days. Like Twitter, you are forced to keep it short and focused, under 280 characters. I love the terse diary format and the reminders to record them. Is it just another to-do to check off my list? Or will it help me learn to prioritize and focus? One can only hope.
Back to the chat with my sister… she was reminding herself that we can’t solve the problem at the level of the problem. Meaning that, stepping back, the solution to everything starts with the same thing. Create the quiet to hear your own inner wisdom about what needs to be done, and the priority will become clear, or maybe an entirely new way to achieve the desired results will come up. In her case, when she stopped doing stuff long enough to ‘pray’ for what she needed (which she thought was ‘how do I create more efficiency’) the answer that came back was “create a corporation for my business. Take myself seriously. Don’t let the fear of losing my social security disability status and health insurance (and after three kidney transplants, this is enough to terrify anyone) keep me in the shadows of life.” She called me because she had to share the new energy she got from this breakthrough. You go, sista.
For me in this phase of my life, any day I post is a good day. May you have a good day too.