Overwhelm is optional—really
If a surfer riding the crest of a wave obsesses about the last six waves or the next six waves, she’s certain to wipe out.
Yet human beings do this all the time when we (yes, me too!) innocently generate overwhelm.
The illusion of overwhelm
Most of us live in the illusion that overwhelm comes from overwhelming circumstances. We think that our jammed mental circuits, tight shoulders, irritability, and confusion are inevitable and natural consequences of the situations we face.
But that’s just not so.
Overwhelm comes to us courtesy of thought, not the world
Overwhelm is the product of overwhelming thought, not overwhelming circumstances.
If overwhelm were the natural byproduct of circumstances, every surfer would be utterly and completely freaked out by the ocean all the time.
I mean really, what’s more freaking overwhelming than the ocean and wind?
Successful surfers only focus on one wave at a time
A surfer who succeeds isn’t thinking about yesterday’s waves or tomorrow’s weather. She succeeds and improves to the extent that she pays attention right here, right now, and allows herself to be educated by the experience.
The surfer who stays in the moment learns naturally and organically on multiple levels as she gains experience. If she overanalyzes that experience, she’s going to gum up the works, stop learning, and perform poorly. (In golf this is known as the yips.)
Overwhelm arises from using the small personal mind to do a job it isn’t designed to do
Overwhelm arises when we try to think our way through situations that we are designed to live our way through.
When we live in the moment, life educates us in exactly the ways we require to meet whatever life is serving up. Like babies learning to walk and talk, life invites us to whole body, whole mind, whole spirit learning.
So long as we come back to the wave we are on right now.
Play with this. Reflect on your experience. Where do you notice you or someone around you learning and growing organically? And where do you see you or someone else gum up the works by trying too hard or getting hung up on the past or the future? Play with the possibility that you are designed to do life with less mental effort than you may think.
Let me know what you notice in the comments at the bottom of this page, or email me.