“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye
Life can be overwhelming at times. There always seems to be so many things going on at once. Managing it all just gets to be too much, and there we are paralyzed into nothingness. Everything seems to pile up and we get stuck in task debt that we struggle to get out of. There doesn't seem to be respite or reprieve just more work, more things to know, more things to do, and more people to maintain relationships with. It's the knowing that can be so debilitating. It's seeing it all and being privy to the knowledge that we're supposed to do it all, and in a speedy manner. When we've fallen behind, missed something, or suddenly have a lot we can get weighed down. We drown. We flail. We scream underwater. We gasp for air. We just want to stop swimming if only for a little while.
What happened to floating peacefully. What happened to soaring above the water? When we're drowning we can either save ourselves and/or rely on others to see us through. It takes a moment of courage to get that message out that we need help. That we're feeling inadequate, abandoned, inadequate. Can we brave for a moment to let that out into the world? Can we tell the truth? Can we acknowledge being terrified, apathetic, or invisible? Maybe people don't know to offer help because we haven't communicated what we need. Oh what an awful thing to have to be the one implicated but to need to muster up that moment to get out of our own heads to get out what we need. That's all it takes though. Can we just tell one person. Can we say how we're really feeling. Can we?
We have to give ourselves grace. We have to let things go. We are made to juggle but don't realize that we can either stop juggling or we can put things down. We don't have to keep adding. We have a capacity, and we have probably reached it. We can say no. We can spend time on what is essential and what is critical to us and our self-preservation. We can back out, we can turn things down, and we rethink - all without giving an explanation. We can tell people that we're out and not owe them anything. We don't have to apologize. We don't have to elaborate. We don't have to really do much. What happens if we don't? What are we afraid of? The world will go on.
People will be okay. Things will get done as they are needed. What if the world doesn't revolve around us. What if we're not the center of the universe? What if others can do things, or what if we're replaceable? That can be feel simultaneous terrifying just as much as it is liberating. If others are able to do what we can then we may not have to expend as much energy or effort to do the same. If it's not just us then the pressure is decreased. If it doesn't matter so much in the grand scheme of things then it doesn't have to have the same weight of significance for us. We get to be free. We get to put down some of what is occupying our time, energy, effort, and headspace.
When we feel like we're drowning that feeling can be exacerbated the panic it induces. It's a constant ramping up to more and more anxiousness. We'll never get through this. There will always be more to do. We're too far behind to ever recover. It just escalates and we descend further into the dark depths of abyss. What if we calm down? What if we expend our energy in other ways? What if we stop fighting it and embrace. Instead of getting caught under water we just moving for minute, take stock of our surroundings, and get ready to be purposeful in swimming back the surface. It's the struggling that further tires us out. Replace panicked attempts to break the surface with purposeful strokes to get us there safely, efficiently, and with us in control. No flailing.
That looks like making lists. It's crossing out what isn't mandatory. It's breaking down what's left into parts that are small feats instead of great leaps. It's prioritizing what needs to be accomplished and when. It's tackling things one at a time until completion. It's taking rest when needed not because it must be earned. Existing is exhausting - so we deserve rest, and no other reason matters. It can also be doing things that feel effortless first, or intersperse with the things that we dread or that seem arduous. Maybe it's adding music, making things a game, or adding others to the mix to work with. Shifting our perspective on doing can be a world of difference.
We have to continually tell the truth about life. We are constantly asked how we're doing, and we can treat it as pleasantry or we make it meaningful. Sometimes we're doing really well. Sometimes we're doing just okay or really not well at all. However we're feeling is valid and real, for us. People can be doing well, while others aren't. Both can be true. We don't have to edit our current story to make other people feel better. That only serves to diminish us and the reality of our lived experiences. We get to take up space.
Of course context matters, but as often as we are able to honor our bodily truth we should. It's to our benefit to be real. We get to own how we're feeling, all that we're experiencing, and the heaviness that weighs us down just as much as we celebrate the bright and the light. There is power in that. There is bravery in that. There is unadulterated truth in telling the truth. We can sit in our heaviness, and share it with others. We can show up in a limited capacity when we need to so long as we acknowledge it. We can let others help us, pull us up, and lighten our load but it takes telling the truth. We're not meant to suffer alone. We're not supposed to go through this life without others. We're not here just to struggle. We're meant to live in the fullness of life - with all that entails. X