Overwhelmed, anxious then relieved, peaceful

  1. What was happening? I began my day by checking my calendar book to see what activities I had planned for that day. Instead of focusing on just that I looked over to the previous few days “unfinished business” and became overwhelmed. Chores, errands, phone calls to make, bills to pay…the list seemed endless…and I seemed so far behind.
  2. How did it feel in my body? I felt tightly wound, almost shaking. It felt like I was a hamster on a wheel—running and running and getting nowhere before I could even start.
  3. What meaning do I give it? I am project oriented probably because I like to be in control and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when the project is done. Seeing all of these unfinished tasks on paper made me feel overwhelmed, unaccomplished, worthless, like a failure.
  4. What did I choose to do with the energy and what happened? Being as overwhelmed as I was I couldn’t even focus on where to begin and although it seemed totally counterproductive, I decided to take a walk on a nearby nature trail. I began the walk very uptight, asking myself what was I doing here with so much waiting for me to do at home. As I continued on the walk I started to let go of that and enjoy the beauty around me. I started to BREATHE again. It felt as though my tension was actually leaving my body down my arms and through my fingertips.
  5. Gathering wisdom: I think I was given the message in childhood that the more you do/accomplish, the better person you are. (I am valued for what I do, rather than for the person I am.) Although as an adult I know better than this, that thinking is still a part of me.
  6. What do I choose to do now in respect to my learning? I need to remember to balance “always doing” with “just being,” have more realistic expectations of what I can do in a period of time and know my limits.

The man who fell to earth

I have stopped. Why? That I may begin again? Start “over”? I’m not sure. It’s as if I have led myself out into an open field, alone, and with no instructions, “suspending disbelief” as I continue on, from day to night to day. Is this the culmination of something, or an endless detour? An escaping of what is or a serious reckoning? Can I blame someone, some author of some book somewhere?

Now, everything begins to take on a kind of surreal otherness, people moving in and out of my life as if suddenly revealed phantoms, characters who contain human qualities, me the “observer,” to quote one of the character’s description of me; a character who flashed on the scene with unbridled enthusiasm only to, it appears, disappear, perhaps due to my less than-charming-responses to her obvious overtures. It’s like I’ve lost the skills of how to relate to people beyond a kind of chumminess, my desire for “the other” having evaporated through this life of bumps and bruises, this life marked more and more by uncertainty, willfully so or not.

Am I fit only to love generally, and not too terribly specifically? Am I not capable of loving deeply one person now? And has it always been so? I’m a nice guy. Except when I’m not. For all my time alone, I really wonder how evolved I’ve become. Has it really made any difference, to seek a kind of stillness that, unfortunately, finds me even more alone than ever? Is it not better to throw myself into the busy throng, to let my head run free with scattered thoughts, to embrace the monkey mind after all, embracing the confusion that seems embedded in an overextended life? To jump in, physically as well as emotionally, throwing caution to the wind? Then I remember: I have left a trail of tears on such occasions, regrets crowding out the apparent wisdom learned from such escapades.

Is “pure being” enough? As if I were the only person left on this planet?