Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. Deng Ming-Dao
Six months ago, I was feeling flat, and a little lost. Despite my best efforts to give my all in this race of life, somehow I had tripped over on a lumpy patch of ground and fallen flat on my face. Not only that, I really couldn’t find the energy or motivation to get back up.
Something had to give.
So I started this blog as an experiment to see what would happen if I put my intentions “out there.” To be honest, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I even meant by that, exactly what was I putting out where? But as the saying goes, ‘when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.’
Or maybe, as I said to myself, maybe, you could even end up like Elizabeth Gilbert, when she wrote her book Eat Pray Love… Just without the trip to Italy, and India, and, well, any exotic locales.
Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered. Phoebe Snow
It was a bold move, I admit that, I was pulling no punches, from my very first post I rather optimistically asserted:
I intend to blog my way through the experience of manifesting my seven intentions. Me
It was a kind of challenge to the universe – to God, to the gods, goddesses, angels, Higher Power, whatever you wish to call it or them.
I was standing my ground, saying to whatever it is ‘out there’, “Show me how to create the kind of life I yearn for. I mean it. Now’s the time to put up, or shut up.”
Yeah, I know you shouldn’t really talk to supreme beings like that. I mean I did all the respectful things too, candles, incense, pretty words, but my intention was clear.
It was an experiment, the hypothesis was that by focusing my energy on my intentions through a variety of techniques, I could create positive changes in my life. And if it didn’t work, well, I was no worse off for trying, now was I?
When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else. Joseph Campbell
So I just acted as if there was some creative intelligence, and tried to hold my intentions up to it. Like a little girl with a flower in her hand. Is it looking? Is it listening? And does it want to help me?
I had heard about the law of attraction, but I didn’t really want a Ferrari or a multimillion dollar business, I just wanted to be happy, to be useful, to be whole.
So, I articulated my intentions for my life, I listed them, I wrote about them, meditated on them, chakradanced around them…
Well. Something definitely happened. I went from a sense of nothingness to a sense of everythingness.
Lots of everything, an abundance of everything, everywhere. Abundance coming out of my eyeballs. It’s a little overwhelming. I don’t wish to complain or be an ingrate but…
My life has become so freaking abundant, I don’t know how to fit it all in. It’s all very well having it all, but where are you supposed to put it?
He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that. Robert Jordan
Let me break it down for you. I’m a mum, I work, I have ageing parents. I’m starting a business, I’m a freelance writer. I’m doing a course. I just started a new relationship. I have lots of friends.
These are all wonderful things. It’s just this week I was also filling out paperwork to register my business, my domain name, applying for a grant at work, commissioning a graphic designer for my business, negotiating quotes on freelance work, finalising my business plan, preparing for running a chakradance session, clearing out my studio space…
Yes, all gloriously abundant things, but they all take time and energy. And it is as easy to get overwhelmed by the good stuff as any other kind of stuff, it’s all stuff…
Not to mention driving my son to sporting commitments, helping with homework, going to work. I’d say housework, but seeing as my house looks like it’s been ransacked by Vikings. Perhaps not.
And all this mindfulness stuff. Meditation, yoga, chakra healing. It all takes time. It can stress me out, trying to make time to be mindful. And I’m pretty sure that’s missing the point.
Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we’re taking on too much, but because we’re taking on too little of what really strengthens us. Marcus Buckingham
And the more I race around worrying about getting things done, the less efficient I get and the more time seems to pass without me achieving anything.
Well. That’s not true. It’s just my to-do has doubled so I’m only getting through half of what I’m supposed to.
I was laughing to my friend about my first world problems. But really stress, the kind I’m describing, does seem to be a first world problem. Many countries with far worse living conditions have far better mental health than we do. Maybe it’s the difference between abundance and accumulation. Abundance is a mind-set of receiving great blessings, accumulation is a mind-set of do more, be more, have more.
On top of all this day-to-day stuff, I have a deep compassion fatigue. It feels this week as if the sorrows and ills of the world have been paraded across our eyes daily.
The result of seeing this horror playing out in the world is we often feel emotionally shut down and become desensitised or depressed and disillusioned – where to even begin? The problems of the world seem too big to make a difference in anyway. And then our little victories can seem shallow, insignificant and pointless.
Business planning reminded me of the beauty of combining long term goals and producing short term micro actions. So I decided to commit to doing one thing a month to make a difference in the world, then once I’ve incorporated that, I can bring in another new thing.
The faster our lives spin, the more things tend to fly apart. Richard Paul Evans
One of my greatest assets is my deeply probing, ever-churning mind. But it can also be a liability. I’m always trying to figure stuff out. Or worry – it’s a fine line.
I think it was Marianne Williamson that said all we can really take from the past is the love. Our experiences, while meaningful to us, are subjective and circumstantial. No two points in time can ever contain exactly the same ingredients of people, places and things, and even if they did, the possibility of variable outcomes is, while not literally infinite, close enough. Thus trying to generalise our experiences into greater principles to live by can be problematic.
For example, if your life experience has been one of trauma and hardship, it would be reasonable to assume that is the nature of life. Literally, you will be primed for more of the same. And you could say the same for someone who’s life has been pleasant and abundant. One person expects difficulty, the other none. Does this change our perception and therefore experience of life?
Try to love and live the question itself. Don’t search for the answer. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Rainer Maria Rilke
This is where a daily discipline can be helpful. A morning routine of prayer or meditation will cleanse the mind and reset it for the day. It gives the mind a base point of calm and openness. And focus.
Intention requires focus, yet my mind sends thoughts in 20 different directions, diffusing and scattering my power, sending out contradictory intentions, which is obviously not going to be effective.
To me, a large part of opening my life to abundance is the perception that I can have these things I desire, even if I haven’t in the past. Despite failures or difficulties in the past, there’s no reason I don’t have exactly the same possibilities open to me now as anyone, except what my perception tells me.
Now I’m not trying to be ridiculously fluffy here. I know there are some realities that are not merely perception: war, famine, poverty, disability, there are real obstacles in this world. But I don’t have them. And I think sometimes these physical barriers are not what stops us, it’s the mental patterns, the old repetitive ways of thinking about the world and what is possible.
It is this very thinking, now that I have all the things I wanted flowing into my life, that experiences this abundance as merely more problems to be solved. “Once I get my business set up, once my love and I settle into our relationship, once I have more income…”
Then I will be happy.
Nope. I see it now. More stuff in my life doesn’t actually change my attitude about life or how I feel about myself. The more abundance I get, the more of whatever I have already I get. If I have fear and worry I get more of that, if I have love and gratitude, I get more of that.
It’s time to let go of my mental baggage!
Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground. Anonymous
For me, feeling overwhelmed and stressed leads me to a place of mental exhaustion. I literally cease to function. I can’t be around people, I can’t enjoy anything. The stress becomes the main attraction and I stop seeing anything else, it’s all I can focus on. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s not an enjoyable place for me.
Relaxing is one of the hardest things to do when you’re stressed, but ironically, it works like magic. As soon as I relax. As soon as the stress response in my body subsides, I can see life in perspective again.
When we are stressed and overwhelmed by life, all our energy goes out in our thoughts of what we have to do. As such our energy is not in our body, and not in present moment awareness. This has a depleting effect on our energy levels. We may operate reasonably successfully on adrenal stress for a while, but this will eventually lead to exhaustion. Far better is to spend 5-10 minutes reconnecting with our body and the present moment.
Grounding is a fantastic exercise to achieve full body and mind calm. Try this wonderful guided meditation to reconnect with your body.
Somehow, when I reconnect with my body and my connection to the earth, everything slows back down to a manageable pace. Overwhelm occurs in my thinking, yet my body has its own rhythm, aligned with the earth itself, which I can tap into any time I choose.
Affirmations for calming the overwhelm by Che Garman:
A quiet mind oversees everything I do.
All my muscles are becoming more and more relaxed.
All negativity is evaporating from my body and my mind.
All the muscles in my body are releasing and relaxing.
All the muscles in my body relax and let go.
As I relax my body immediately feels better.
Being calm and centered is one of the top priorities in my life, and I practice this feeling every day.
Being calm and relaxed energizes my whole being.
Calmness washes over me with every deep breath I take.
Every breath I take fills me with harmony and peace.
Every day I allow myself a few moments just to be.