It’s been an interesting couple of days. I’ve been posting some questions and essays on Facebook to promote my Build Better Boundaries class and what I’ve found out is that there are an awful lot of you who are doing an awful lot. Let me rephrase that: there are an awful lot of you doing an awful lot for a household of individuals who are capable of doing more than they are. There are many of you who are doing a whole lot for people, grown and growing, who would do well to learn that they, too, can help care for themselves and for the sacred space that you all call home. There are some of you who are doing everything for everybody.
Is this you? Is this your tribe? Are these your people, the people who are doing it all? I have to ask you why you are doing it. And really, to be fair, I shouldn’t ask because I used to be in that tribe, and sometimes I become a temporary resident. I dip in and out of tribal membership (in when I’m not paying attention and out when I am). So, if you prefer, rather than asking you why you do it, I can provide you with a list of possible answers that you can choose from (see how I did that, taking your job and making it mine – it’s like an onion people, layers). Continue reading
I’m standing in the kitchen, tidying, reviewing in my mind the things that I need to accomplish that day, and then I think of something else I should do this minute that’s more important. I get mad at myself for forgetting, leave what I was tidying in the kitchen unfinished, and move on to that forgotten task, which I likely also fail to complete because the chatter in my head about what needs doing overwhelms completion. This is one version of my overwhelm. It might be triggered by a genuinely busy day BUT the day doesn’t even have to “look” particularly busy.
Another version of overwhelm for me has not so much to do with the amount of busy, but the kind of busy. This overwhelm is me looking at my calendar (as an introvert) and seeing no time for me to be alone, no time to make reasonable transitions, or just too many big events with lots of people stacked up on one another (hello holidays!). The result is the same, a lot of spinning and discontent. Continue reading
There are many reasons people become overwhelmed; for me, the fastest way to become overwhelmed is to have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. I can’t tell you how many of my clients struggle to take care of themselves, to get enough sleep, to make appointments with me, to do the things they KNOW they’d like to do because they are too busy to do these things. “How are you? ” “I’m busy. Good, but busy.” Further conversation makes the good less clear and the busy REALLY clear. Out of curiosity I recently asked someone to describe a few days to me, to see what busy looks like, and I have to tell you, it was absolutely dizzying. She was seriously busy: good busy, but busy.
The problem with this level of busy-ness is manyfold. First of all, being so busy usually involves limiting some kind of self-care, whether it be adequate sleep, eating good food, or having enough time to think about, feel, and process what’s going on in your life. More often than not, a super busy life involves at least two if not all three of those. Secondly, I believe that being so busy creates a sense of emergency in the body. There is little difference in the body between constantly rushing to get to work on time after the early morning drop-off and rushing to get away from a saber tooth tiger. We’re evolved, but we’re not that evolved. These fine distinctions don’t really matter to the body. Being busy, rushing, or just feeling busy all the time creates physical and mental stress reactions that are not good for us. Finally, being so busy often prevents us from doing things that nourish us, that feed our souls, that make life fulfilling, not just full. Continue reading
A minute ago my husband asked me what I was up to. I stuttered and stumbled around my words and then laughed and said: “I can’t even answer you.” Because I was mad? No. Because I didn’t know what I was doing? No. Because at that moment I was actually attempting to be engaged in 4 separate activities. Four separate and distinct activities! Cell phone to my right signaling texts from my music partner. Music book to my left featuring set list in progress and songs waiting to be arranged. Laptop on my lap waiting for writing to happen, and finally remote in hand looking for something engaging on the tube, because you know I really needed something else to attend to…
How does this happen? It’s a natural offshoot of the spin. The spin where I know I have a lot to do. The spin where everything seems to be of equal importance and then I remember I haven’t talked to a friend in a while. The spin where it seems like I move all day and nothing actually gets finished. So I stop. And breathe.
Then I think about the garden. I don’t spin in the garden. There is a never ending list of necessary tasks in the garden. Sometimes one will present itself as more necessary than the others. Sometimes not. So what do I do in the garden when there’s a ton to do and it all seems equally important? I stop. I breathe. I slowly choose one task and complete it. And if there’s time, I choose another.