When anxiety and overwhelm create confusion, these three steps help me gain clarity, and the strength to move forward.
This past week, life did that thing where it decided to take a sharp right turn while I was contently going straight down my every day routine. I’ve taken the attitude that sometimes life does that and I can only control what I can control. A portion of this unplanned right turn is definitely out of my control, and yet, a portion of it I can handle. So, I’m choosing to focus on that.
Am I overwhelmed? Yes. Am I losing my fucking mind? No. The reason I am not losing my mind right now is because A. I know I’m on the path that I should be on and I’m right where I need to be, and B. I really don’t feel like losing my fucking mind and frankly, I don’t have the time.
There is only one way forward, and that is to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, baby steps if necessary, but forward never-the-less.
For me, there is only one way forward, and that is to keep moving, one foot in front of the other, baby steps if necessary, but forward never-the-less. I realize that stopping for too long gives my brain a chance to run wild, and that cannot happen right now. So, lots of list making and mucho organizing. I realize that productivity is a sure way to calm down my brain. If I am “doing”, I cannot be overwhelmed with the thoughts of everything that “should be done”.
Simple, right? Well, it occurred to me that it has taken me a very long time to get to this point, and I have actually figured out three steps that I take when anxiety and overwhelm strike, that help me break everything down into manageable actions.
Oddly, these steps have nothing to do with organizing or making lists. Those are procedures that come out of clarity and the three steps that I am referring to help me gain that clarity and in turn, strength and confidence to deal with the various shit shows that arrive unexpectedly.
Three Steps to Gaining Clarity and Strength in Any Situation:
- Dive Deep and Ask for the Truth
When I find myself confused and unsure as to how to proceed, I stop, sit, close my eyes, breathe, and search for the pure truth of the situation. Most of the time, it’s simple. It’s my brain that makes it complicated. That doesn’t mean that the situation isn’t important. It just means that it’s my emotional state that creates over thinking and impedes progress.
It can be scary at first to ask. I’m never sure what the truth will be and one thing that panics me is a state of “not knowing”. However, when I search for the truth and ask for guidance, I receive it. Yup…it’s that simple. This has never failed me. It may take a few times of asking and listening, but the answer ALWAYS comes.
- Accept the Truth When It Comes
Finding it is one thing. Accepting it is quite another. This has taken some practice, but has gotten significantly easier for me, over time. I have also accepted that sometimes what I want, is not necessarily what I need. When I see the truth, I cannot convolute it or try to change it to adapt to what I want. The truth is the truth just as two plus two equals four. I didn’t ever argue with my math teachers and in fact, I was a straight A math student, because math is straight forward. There is no wiggle room. It is concrete. This is how I choose to look at the truth.
Actually, accepting the truth in this way has uncomplicated my life. If truth plus truth equals solutions, in the same way that two plus two equals four, then who am I to argue with it. Just accept it and move forward.
- Speak the Truth Out Loud
And I don’t mean start a blog and shout it to the world as I have…unless you want to, then that’s totally cool. Say it, to your partner, to your best friend, or to a mirror. I believe that when I speak my truths out loud, that I release them into their own beings; that when my truths exit my head, they are born, in a sense.
They become their own entities and I am able to see them from outside myself, separate my emotional reactions, and find compassion for them. I have trouble finding compassion for myself, but never for the beings that are around me. So separating them from myself, creates a strength that I feel deep down in my bones. By speaking my truths, they are released from my body, and room is created for strength to move in and occupy that space.
We must first put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can help those around us.
Once I have that new-found courage, I am able to break down overwhelming situations into manageable lists. Then I start easily checking off the to dos as I get them done, also accepting that it might take time to get through them all, and that’s ok.
From here, the most important thing is to keep moving, following that deep gut direction that I’ve found by searching, accepting, and speaking my truth. If I stop for too long, my head will try to hijack the process. Gut direction is solid. Head direction messes my shit all up.
And to be clear, I stop for healthy breaks; to eat, drink, meditate, go for walks, do a bit of Yoga, and sleep for 7-8 hours. It is important that I take care of myself, especially in times of crisis and overwhelm. It is the days that I say, “I don’t have time to meditate today,” that I need to make time to meditate. What they say about the oxygen mask is true. We must first put it on ourselves before we can help those around us.
Does this sound familiar to you? In the comments, I’d love for you to share which one of these steps you can commit to practicing in the coming week. It can be for the simplest of situations, or huge life changes. This process applies to it all.
My Reclaimed Hearts series is a visual representation of these 3 steps. Once we release the confusion and allow strength to fill the empty space, we heal ourselves and gain clarity.
The painting at top is Soaring Heart 8, 8”x8”, acrylic & paper on canvas, $160. Each painting in my Reclaimed Hearts series have torn paper hearts, reassembled back onto the canvas. Even though my heart has been broken, and lived in a broken state for many years, by speaking my truth, I have the ability to put it back together and claim it for my own. It may have scars, but it is stronger and more beautiful than ever.
CLICK HERE to get on the Reclaimed Hearts waiting list and get early access and discount codes for the November original art sale. It is never too late to take your power back, grow, and love yourself. In fact, it’s as easy as two plus two equals four.