Today I left the house and Kecia was feeling overwhelmed. It was not that one task was taking her over, but rather that multiple events were weighing on her and that weight was overwhelming. With so many things hitting her at once, it felt like they were all connected, when really they were separate. This was obviously bringing her down. Have you ever felt like that?
I can remember many years ago when I was in my twenties (must have been at least 5 years ago!) and I had similar feelings. I had many things bearing down on me and I had trouble seeing through them. What I needed was a way to hold them at bay, so that I could regroup and get clear. I remember drawing a stick figure of me and arrows for each of the things coming at me. In between me and them I drew an umbrella. Now instead of coming right into me, the umbrella provided a shield. I then could look at each thing individually while the umbrella kept me dry from the rest.
Recently I have been meditating on the train with Deepak Chopra and Oprah. Daily I take 20 minutes while on the train to sit quietly and let the stresses and tensions fall away during the meditation. The mantra helps to push aside any thoughts or sensations that come in during the meditation. For those brief minutes, I am blocked from the worries and stresses of life and I sit in a state of being whole, but just me – with none of the other external arrows attached, even while sitting near 50 other robots on the train!
Just as possessions are just things, so are stresses. When you are born, you don’t have either, and when you die, you don’t take them with you. So logically, they are not part of you and can be held at bay when needed.
So whether it is putting up a virtual umbrella, or by meditating, or even by watching a good movie or taking a long run, taking your immediate attention off your stresses and onto something that makes you feel whole is a great practice. From that new perspective you can get away from the overwhelm and take a manageable approach dealing with your individual issues. If there is just one of you and many of them, let’s make this a fair fight: one on one. I am sure that each individual stress is no match for the full power of your focused attention. Knock them down one by one. And give yourself a chance by first holding them at bay.