Curing the State of Overwhelm

“By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

This past week felt as though I was in Spain running with the bulls. (Which, by the way, is not something I would ever do.)  I was being chased by snorting, upset, angry 1500 pound animals who would like to trample me to death. In other words, I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

I admit, I don’t like this point in the semester.  Students are crabby.  Everyone is frantic.  And this year, our spring break starts in the third week of March,  so late that I wonder how I am going to keep going without a break until then.  I know. Bitch, bitch, bitch.  Would you like some cheese with your whine?

So.

What’s a girl to do?

This week I made a point of writing lines (images for poems) while I road the bus. This is my version of soul food.  I read funny stories online and posted way too many pictures of cats on my Facebook page. (I will not apologize for being a dork about cats.) I baked a chicken and made soup with the carcass using white beans, cabbage, carrots, onions and spices. I sat in the spa and studied the crescent moon as Venus burned brightly above. I drank French roast coffee with coconut milk. I remembered to send my brother’s birthday gift in time for his birthday. (It wasn’t wrapped.  But give me points for trying.  I mailed my best friend’s birthday gift with her Christmas gift.  Three months late.  But that’s so last semester.)

I told myself repeatedly to stop thinking about all the things I had to get finished, and just finish one thing at a time.  After all, I cannot do more than one thing at a time (at least not effectively).  We are all sold a bill of goods when it comes to the whole “multitasking” aspect of life.  The fact is, if you try to do more than one thing at a time, everything you do is half-assed.  And that is not what I want.  I want to infuse each thing that I do with my passion.  I want to speak from the heart when I encounter my students.  I want to be that person who actually listens to them.  I want to talk to my mother and hear about her week.  It is always tempting to try to do more, but the results are not good.  So.  One thing at time.

Today, that one thing at a time has already included

  • Weeding a section of my backyard that has suddenly become a wild jungle. One section.
  • Making a pot of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal with raspberries
  • Feeding and watering my wild & wooly brood
  • Checking/answering email
  • Commenting on Facebook regarding the Girl Scouts’ iPhone app that apparently tells you where to buy Thin Mints.  (I’ve never been so glad to be broke in my life.  I can’t eat less than a whole box of those cookies.  They should have a Skull & Crossbones on them.  Or a picture of what I will look like at 500 pounds.)
  • Writing (this blog)

The agenda for the rest of the day: reading and grading 80 papers, prepping for two conference presentations next weekend, and finishing my self-eval.  (Any one of these things will take more than a day to complete, but I am pacing myself.)  I am maintaining my focus on just one thing at a time.

When I was a little girl, I used to love to get on my bike and ride through the onion and alfalfa fields after dinner.  We lived outside of Walla Walla, Washington at the time and traffic on those farm roads was light.  I loved to  watch the horses eye me as I flew by.  I pedaled as fast as I could, and then coasted, stretching my legs out and feeling the wind sweep through my hair. Lilacs lined the sides of the road and perfumed the air.  Back then, I didn’t throw myself into the future.  I didn’t think about the past.  I simply lived completely immersed in the feeling of riding and bearing witness to the end of another day.  I thought about how good it felt to ride in the cool evening.  I smelled clover and sweet onions and wet earth. I watched the stars poke through the night sky.  I lived.  I lived with what Eckhart Tolle calls, “the power of now.”

I realize that I have a choice in terms of how I perceive my life.  I can see all the ways in which I am moving forward, or I can focus on all the ways I fall short. It is up to me.

© 2012  Shavawn M. Berry  All rights reserved

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