Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When Life Feels Overwhelming, What Choices Do You Make?


Tell the truth now! When you feel overwhelmed do you tend to duck and hide from the world? Or do you get angry at the least little "extra" request? Do you begin making ultimatums to everyone around you in order to try to take control? Do you run away by allowing yourself to be distracted? Do you blame other people for overwhelming you? Do you go on the attack, protecting every square inch of your time and energy?

I can admit it. I have done it all. (My husband can vouch for that.) Here is the thing about overwhelm. When you feel it you are already out of balance and you are likely to react rather than respond consciously. The trick is to respond before overwhelm hits. The opportunity in spiritual growth is to remain in the flow. Grabbing for the banks of life’s stream and trying make everything stand still often leads to tension and submersion.

Recently, Jim, Ariann and I from the New Dream Foundation met for our ten-year planning retreat. We began with a meditation and within seconds, the Retreat Center room was filled with spirits from the other side, all ready to help us. Oh, I love all those good spirits, but I’ve got to admit, seeing so many of them at a planning retreat was making me a little nervous. In my experience, when you get big help, you have something big to do. It was a fair case for overwhelm.

Instead of running scared, we decided to trust in the compassionate, loving presence of the spirits in the room with us. We had already committed to our sacred work, and they were there to support our commitment to the Divine.

As the weekend progressed, we put on paper the dreams for the Foundation we had been carrying in our hearts. The total of these dreams could easily overwhelm anyone, but we felt reassured by the help we felt from the supportive spirits on the other side of the veil.

It is a big vision, but then it had to be. It is a vision for the world—a vision where each person’s unique spiritual path is honored—a vision where people of various spiritual traditions or people without a specific spiritual tradition can find each other—create support for each other spiritually and physically, and reach out in service to people of the world in greater need. That’s a big vision and one worth living for.

When I got home, I felt the urge to panic with all we had decided to put into action. Before the panic grabbed hold too hard, I stepped back, slowed myself way down, and asked myself, “What are the best uses of my talents, and who are the people I can best serve?” I considered every area of my life, and thoughtfully made some decisions about where and how I diffuse my energy in less than efficient ways.

I looked at how I could use my talents and skills to serve people more effectively and efficiently—ultimately serving more people better. I strengthened my commitment to creating enough time for personal play, romance, exercise and rest, because keeping in balance is key to preventing overwhelm.

I do have my moments when panic creeps in and I quickly call myself back into balance—back into flow with the world, the universe and the Divine. There is time for everything that is truly important when I find my flow.

To enjoy a prayer to help you feel yourself flowing, visit: http://newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?action=post;board=38.0