“I don’t think that making ourselves invulnerable to feeling any onslaught to our feelings will help us in life, ultimately. I think we only learn and grow by allowing ourselves to be really challenged by those feelings that do overwhelm us occasionally.” - Ben Kingsley
Much of what we were told to count on is changing or failing, and whether we embrace or reject those changes, we feel the impact because eventually we must respond. And we actually do feel the impact to our bodies. When income dries up – whack. When home is threatened – whack.. When fire, flood or drought puts us and all our relations in jeopardy – whack. When we clearly see the suffering in the world – whack. In the past few months, more than one of my
coaching clients has used their session time to talk about how bruised they are feeling, and often, the tears flow. They experience their lives as overwhelming, like an avalanche that swallowed them whole. And they feel frozen, doubtful of their ability to know what to do or to take meaningful action. “What to do? What to do?” loops ceaselessly in their minds but they have few answers and feel exhausted by the questions.
I don’t believe the “figuring it out” aspect of our minds is where we should first look to when we feel overwhelmed. The very word overwhelm holds connotations of being faced with something much bigger than we can handle, something that overshadows us physically and makes us feel small and feeble. So I recommend that when you feel overwhelmed, take care of the body first. For example, you might:
- breathe, breathe, breathe – give the body more oxygen and expand that tight feeling in your chest and rib cage
- physically stretch – walk, stretch, yoga, swim to increase your sense that you are physically present and flexible
- shake and shout – releases the built-up energetic information and clears your communication channels
Once you are physically released and re-centered, it’s time to tackle what’s got you overwhelmed:
- write it all down – do a “brain dump” of what’s got you worried, afraid, confused, feeling that you can’t do it all
- break big things into incremental steps – shift into your power place; look for your inner response – “I can do that.”
- decide what you will do today – there’s always something we can do and taking action gives us confidence
- notice what you accomplish and celebrate successes (even small ones)!!!
And lastly, recognize that much of the change that we are all experiencing is not anything that we can control. We can only do our best to respond heartfully and intelligently. Practice deepening your compassion, for yourself, others, the planet. Feel the depth of what is moving you and also release it. Allow this practice to be a foundation for you in these turbulent times, supporting conscious interconnection and allowing ease where no action can be taken.