Balmy summer afternoons seem made for these quieter pursuits, a twist on the traditional siesta of the Latin world. I have strong memories of sharing the front porch with my grandmother on summer days, each of us with a glass of iced tea and a book, magazine, or crossword puzzle. I remember the feel of the condensation cooling my hand when I gripped my glass, and I remember the soft background noises that were ever present: cicadas, lawn sprinklers, small children playing, the occasional barking dog.
Overwhelm can cause mistakes. Slowing down a bit avoids pitfalls (as much as possible). Those thoughts are worth much more than mere pennies if they are cared for properly - just don't let them swamp you. When you multi-task, although it seems like you'll get more done, you actually lose productivity by dividing your attention.
I recently found a different way. The caregiving after-effects can run long and deep. Just when you think you've got it neatly tucked away, it whirls back up like a tornado. Perhaps it's the 7th anniversary of mom passing, approaching along with the recent (and somewhat unpleasant) dealings of my brother's estate when he passed late last year. Perhaps, it's those little, tiny emotions that are tucked neatly in the back of my psyche that, even though I continue my practices, were still knocking. None of this was ruining my life, days, or decisions, but it was a constant, subtle, poke or prickle.
I pose a question for you. What is the priority in your life at this moment? Is it making a difference in the world, finding your true love, gaining peace at work, losing five pounds? Or perhaps your mind is filled with the effects of COVID still raging through our lives, the aftermath of the holiday bustle, thinking forward about taxes…. You feel it coming: the wave of angst; the tension, the wrestling in your sleep, the snapping for no reason.
None of us knows what the future holds, and one thing that this past year has brought into even more focus for me is being in the present moment. Where you have power is NOW. Stop speed dialing through your to-do list and pause. Stop replaying what has already taken place and move forward. The wrangling during the night about conversations you wish had gone differently, the chances you didn't take, the flashback to years ago, none of these are events that can be changed.
The holidays are upon us, which adds yet another layer of responsibilities. Whether it's baking cookies or coordinating a gift for your mom from the family, this time of year has its own pressure. Or perhaps it's navigating the grief of a loved one no longer with you. All of this can have an additional impact this time of year. Speaking to a friend about this recently, we referred to this as "emotional whiplash." You might feel emotions and deep-seated feelings that others won't understand, side by side with the demands of what needs to be done.
Think of driving down a road with potholes at 65 mph. You need to get to your destination! But your car is shaking, you're shaking, suddenly your ability to keep going has gone. We talked about this in our Online Care Circle recently: how easy it is to get caught up in the gotta go mode, and how poor the results can be.
In the mix of overwhelm that can happen in our lives, from the usual to-dos to the unexpected, are you taking time to stop? To B-R-E-A-T-H-E? Be honest with yourself. We all think we can handle a lot, and at times we have to. Try changing up the usual protocol you have done into an energetic shift. Energy is powerful stuff - what you put in you get back multiplied abundantly. Be aware of the negative you send out (or in) because it is likely to produce more.
Murphy's Law warns us: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." That is a mindset that many people carry with them; is that you, too? It's easy enough to do when you've hit your limit of things on your to-do list or experienced a series of negative events. But here's a different perspective I would like you to consider: When things appear to be going wrong, what if they're going right?
These lists can be anything from doing laundry to composing a financial plan for yourself and will elevate the mind chatter and help alleviate missing things. I know some people who create a list with hours/times added to it. Personally, that's a bit restrictive because there are times during my day that I know I need to get a shopping list together and balance my financial record, but my energy level may be drained that day. So, for me, having a general to-do list within a week highlighting deadlines is a more effective solution.