Just 15 minutes ago, I drove up to the farm stand and parked with the car facing the hayfield. In front of me, a tiny stalk of cornflowers was growing. Their blue-gray beauty sang to me. “Look here, Andi. Look here.”
My first response was to just jump out of the car and get moving. I have to get the stand open, get a blog post done, and get to the farm coop to get the car inspected. Too much to do to stop.
But then, I heard it – that whisper I so often miss, the one I named the farm after because I needed a constant reminder. I heard it say, “Remember what you asked me this morning? The help for a day that felt overwhelming. Here it is.”
So I let my head rest on the steering wheel, and I stared at those flowers. “Rest, my child. Rest.”
I don’t know what you do when you feel overwhelmed, but my response is to go faster – so fast that my already less than nimble body function gets dangerous – walking into walls, slamming cabinets on fingers, tripping into goats. When I have too much to do – almost only by my design – I try to go faster, much faster.
If you know me at all, you know that my natural way of being in the world is slow. Again, I named my dogs for words that mean to “walk slowly” – Mosey, Meander – because I need a reminder of this, too.
I’ve learned – although I forget every time – that the best thing to do when there is “too much” to do is to slow down. It’s totally counterintuitive, I know, and if you were with me most days and saw the list, I expect you’d find it frustrating when I stop, breathe deep, and decide to pare down the list rather than power through it. (I would find it frustrating, I’m sure, if I witnessed you doing it, but maybe that’s just me.)
But I’ve learned that when I have piled too much into my day, it’s because I’m either afraid (right now, that money fear is dancing like a monkey in my mind) or I’m avoiding something hard (like simply realizing that I can’t – and don’t want to – run this hard all the time.) So the best thing I can do when I feel overwhelmed is “stop, wait a minute” and maybe even do a little of my farm-style Uptown Funk. I need to rest. Wait. Listen. Trust
I probably only sat still for 30 seconds looking at those corn flowers. But in that time, my heart rate slowed, my breath came more slowly, my jaw loosened. I still have lots to do, but now, there’s a chance I’ll do most of what I can well.
Now, as I drive to the coop for the inspection, I’ll be looking for corn flowers all the way – a new reminder of my need to slow down and give over the “too much.”
Do you ever feel like the expectation society has for you and that you have for yourself is too big? That we think we can do far too much in 24-hours? If so, how do you adjust to keep yourself healthy?