I was completely striking out in my attempts to motivate my nephew to clean his apartment when he opened my eyes; “Pam, it is so bad, I just don’t know where to start.”
That one bit of honesty moved me from frustration to empathy, remembering all the times I have bailed on initiatives because the prospect of starting was too demoralizing (like this morning, when I couldn’t load the dirty dishes because the dishwasher needed to be unloaded, but I couldn’t unload the dishwasher because I needed the counter space to do it and it was cluttered with pots and pans that needed to be put up first).
So I gave my nephew a starting place and, voila!, he was on his way with hope. (Which reminded me to put up my pots and pans.)
Some days, a little push from someone (into hope) goes a long way.
Often when the weight of tomorrow is too heavy
When I cannot find justification for my efforts
Because the trouble ahead appears to far exceed my strength
Multiplying instead of dividing
Challenge upon challenge
Task upon task
And fear upon fear
The problem is that I am expecting
Tomorrow’s solutions to be drawn from resources I possess today
What I haven’t calculated within this equation
Are the new mercies of friends and fate
Or tricks of destiny that will appear on a single date
Somehow equaling the demand of this day’s needs
With just enough carry over for slipping soundly to sleep
Into a better tomorrow
One day at a time.
It’s a sign that I have lost my way.
When I feel overwhelmed, confused, or riddled with anxiety, my only way out of mental torment has always been…
- my “smallness” in the vastness of time and space
- my need for help with even this one automatic, miraculous breath
- the unlimited power beyond and around me
Resets me back to zero. Then things become manageable again.
When my aging (and already difficult) mother started having bouts of dementia, my siblings asked me to move her from Little Rock to live near me in Dallas. I had recently started a new business, was up to my eyeballs in debt, and had no time or money for Mom. Mired in self-pity while driving my little VW to Little Rock, I almost heard an audible voice saying,
“Do you love your Mom?”
“Sure I do.” I said back.
“Do you want your mother to be cared for?”
“That’s all that matters. Don’t worry about anything else.”
And all worked out…much better than I could have ever imagined.
Today, this is my reminder to show up, be completely present, and just be a conduit for the plan.
- Let go of overwhelm.
- Let go of having to do things myself.
- Let go of thinking it’s all up to me.
- Become a dependent upon Someone who is more qualified, Someone who has more information and insight.
- Quit “pin-balling” from thing to thing to thing.
- Quit manipulating, begging, and fretting.
- Smile at the Owner of the stars.
- Relax like a sleepy, satiated child in protective arms.
My body knows this is the path home. (Is that the tension in my shoulders receding?)
My mind knows this is the place I thrive. (Is that clarity returning?)
I’ve noticed that when I feel overwhelmed with all the things I need to do in a day, usually the root is the dread of one task among the many that is distasteful or uncomfortable. The weight of that one phone call, or that one meeting, or that one chore occupies so much space in my psyche, that the day seems insurmountable.
But, when that task is faced and conquered, it is like the Red Sea parted. The remainder of the day is an unimpeded walk in the park!
1) Be honest about what I’m avoiding.
2) Don’t succumb to the artificial overwhelm threat.
3) Remember that I am greater than or equal to any and every task I have been given.
4) Do it, delegate it, or dump it.
How to avoid despair when there are too many things on your to-do list:
- Resist saying, “There’s no way,” sighing, whining, complaining, and crying.
- Don’t think about how long the list is while you are hungry, sleepy, or constipated:).
- Write everything down. Get it out of your head and onto the page.
- Begin by marking off something that you can do in a couple of minutes. (Every time we mark something off the list, our brain releases endorphins which are natural pain-killers.)
- Only say positive things about your day, like, “Piece of cake,” or “I’ve got this handled,” or “Bring it on!”
Yesterday was one of those days for me. I practiced what I preached and completed the list…and part of next day’s as well!
Success starts with “Yes!”
It was one of those nights full of dreams about not being able to get things done…you know…cars that won’t go…the bike that won’t pedal…phones that I can’t dial correctly…the house and yard are a wreck and people are coming over…waking up too late…too much to do…etc. I don’t know if it was the KFC right before bed 🙂 or the subconscious fears that I harbor, but, I woke up in a funk, worried about the day…until…
I remembered my responsibility is simple. Be present, love people, be a conduit of positive energy.
Now I am ready.
Those voices again.
Chattering about my demise
About my inability to take care of
This one little day
But I will rise with power
Above them all and say
This moment is mine!
How dare you take it away!
Meet me at its end.
I’ll show you
What I’ve done
With this one little day!
“To my God a heart of flame, to my fellow-men a heart of love, to myself a heart of steel. –St. Augustine
I'll rise...I'll own this day