Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Proof of Life

Ah yes, I know this feeling: This is the part where I start to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. I've come to know this place, the Land of Overwhelm. I visit so often, I might as well move my stuff here and take residence. I keep saying I want to do things differently, but what am I doing differently, really?

I look at my list of to-do's and the truth looks me in the eye: There is no humanly possible way you will get this all done today.

So I do what the experts tell me to do. I prioritize. I even look at my to-do's and figure out what can be postponed, what can be put off til that nebulous 'After-The-Holidays' time when supposedly everything in my life will get so much easier, and suddenly I will have limitless time to do everything I've been putting off. (Yeah, right.) I shuffle. I cancel an appointment here, a lunch date there. I put off going to the bathroom far too long. (My bladder understands I'm busy.) I've given myself permission to turn some "yes"es to "maybe"s and some "maybe"s to "no"s. I reschedule. I apologize.

And then, this morning, in my journal, I am practicing gratitude, making my list, checking it twice, of all the things I am grateful for in this moment. Doing my best to be present, to stay true to my core, to center myself, yada yada. And Overwhelm interrupts rudely, beckoning... "Hey! Don't forget about me. What are you doing journaling? Don't you have a butt load of things to do?" and then I try something different.

Adding to my gratitude list, I write in my journal "I am grateful for overwhelm." Overwhelm stops in her tracks and looks at me with a puzzled expression. I breathe into my overwhelm and decide to do it differently today. I don't need to resist it, to challenge it, to struggle, as much as overwhelm is one of my favorite struggles. Today, I'll simply dance with it.

For what is overwhelm, really, but proof of life? Granted, a full life, an overflowing life, and yes, I crave a simpler life, and yes I'd love to take a day of rest-but-there-is-too-much-to-do and yes, sometimes I feel like I am being swallowed, but today, I will practice gratitude for my stress- for the stress is proof of life, too. Do dead people feel stress? Do corpses feel overwhelmed? Doubt it.

There she goes again, even now, while I type this.

"There is so much to do..." her mantra, Overwhelm, whispering in my ear constantly, growing especially petulant when she thinks I have forgotten (silly notion- how could I forget?) "There is so much to do..." she whines "Aren't you overwhelmed???" Yes, I am.... yes, I know. Yes, there is. But here's the thing:

There is always 'so-much-to-do'.

Until I'm dead, of course, and then I'll have an infinite supply of vacation days. But knowing me, I'll probably reassign myself immediately into another body, come back right away, screaming my way back into the human race. That will be me, I bet, signing up for this thing, this messy, overwhelming, crazy, busy, stressful, beautiful thing called life, all over again.

2008 Lisa Olson

Lisa Olson is natural-born supporter of growth and expression who loves to create happiness, cool experiences and inspiring others to step into their authenticity. She is a "Spiritual Midwife" and Soul-full Living Strategist with an extensive background in life purpose coaching, marketing, promotions, event management and community building. A writer, artist and lifelong journaler, she facilitates workshops, groups, rituals and dance experiences designed to awaken the senses and stir the soul. She can be reached at

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