This article was first published in Metta Center email newsletter (October 2, 2007 issue.)
"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from." ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
A while back, a client asked me, "Do you ever get overwhelmed?" To which I replied, "Of course!"
I have come to understand the teachings of this emotion we call "overwhelment." I have learned to appreciate and celebrate its message, and its energy can be harnessed to gain powerful clarity into what is needed to bring my life back to balance.
Feeling overwhelmed is an indicator that we are not centered in our being. Think of it as being out of the range of joy, love and appreciation that is our natural element. When we heed the message of this emotion and choose to apply its wisdom in our life, we can turn our situation around for the better, and grow in the positive direction without having to undergo further downward spiral into blame, procrastination, excuses and so on.
For many people, the key signals of feeling overwhelmed are discomfort and constrictions in the physical body, the feeling of emotional chaos inside, a sense of mental confusion and spiritual disconnection. In other words, our body, mind, emotion and spirit, our whole being, is giving a loud alarm bell to tell us that a new direction is needed so that we can bring ourselves back to peace and well-being. Can you see the gift in this emotion? This emotion is alerting you, "Dude, you're going the opposite way from where you want to go!"
But many of us have become trained to ignore these early signals and too often simply tough it out. Some of us have even been trained to fear these signals. Some of us judge ourselves for having these signals, as if we are not "powerful" or "strong" enough to withstand the conditions. These habitual responses come at a cost to ourselves because instead of gaining the wisdom of clarity we could get from appreciating the signals, we become lost in the symptoms and the dis-ease that comes with them.
So, I encourage you to notice this negative emotion, accept it and thank it for being present to guide you. Then, take the steps to identify and apply its message to help you help yourself.
When you recognize that you are feeling overwhelmed:
1. Allow yourself to stop (or at least slow w-a-a-a-y down,): Take a deep breath, and create space for you to inquire within for the hidden gem of wisdom. Rather than beating yourself up for feeling overwhelmed, honor your emotional information. When you accept and value the higher guidance inherent in this (or any negative emotion) you allow Light to enter and guide you.
2. Dare to be clear: Set your intention to be clear of what your Inner Being is guiding you to know so that you can go back to your center and find peace. You can start with an inquiry: "What do I need to know now to bring me back to peace?" Or, "What is it I am being asked to be clear about here?" Or your can just allow the right question to bubble up from within you. Take the time to evaluate, amend and clarify your values and intentions because these easily have changed as you continue to have new perspectives in life. Your Inner Being is constantly inviting you to expand yourself and your life in an easy and graceful way towards that which you value most and want most in your life.
3. Lead yourself: Honor your inner guidance and change your course. Allow yourself to adjust your priorities and shift your focus to be in alignment with new values and intentions coming from your new clarity. Of course, this means invariably that you enter into new territories -- new ways of thinking, habits and actions. Welcome this opportunity to grow according to your inner rhythm!
This deliberate process of changing and growing is not without effort, but it feels effort-less and wonderfully exhilarating and fulfilling! It is co-creating your life by connecting to the inspiration of your own Divine Self!
So, celebrate your awareness of your feeling of "overwhelment"! Dare to be clear about what you value in life and lead your life by the light of your own clarity!