Give yourself quiet moments in your day. Consciously breathe deeply. Write manageable lists and set realistic goals. Understand that sometimes you can't do everything you want to and that is ok.
This past holiday season was the epitome of chaos. Add working a full time job, a family, and crazy winter weather, and you have the perfect recipe for exhaustion, overloaded brain circuits and a blood pressure that was off the charts. Chaos. The stores were insane. People pushing and fighting over merchandise, parking spots and food court tables. Elbowing and charging through crowds, like a linebacker in a football game. Forget the real reasons behind the season - everyone was in their own personal nightmare of getting the perfect gifts.
The coup de grace to whatever shred of peace you had left - wrapping, cooking, decorating and for some, spending time with relatives they would rather avoid, will surely take care of eradicating from your world. Chaos reigns and peace slips furtively out the door when you aren't looking.
I found myself in the midst of it the Sunday before Christmas. From the demands of my day job to getting my "To Do" list completed and everything in between - my mind gave in to the chaos. I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I had so much to do and so very little time to do it. Throw a Maine ice storm in the mix and I suddenly felt like a pressure cooker ready to explode
I had to rein in the chaos and get a hold on my life.
I have been here before and not necessarily just around the holidays. Chaos has a way of creeping in when you least expect it, catching you off guard and taking a sledgehammer to the peace you had been cultivating. Sudden events in one's life can send you reeling. Bills piling up, death of a loved one, ending relationships or the daily struggle of work-life-kids and the day-to-day minutiae that is life. All of it can create a chaos in your mind and in your life that completely over-takes you suddenly and out-of-the-blue one day. Then, like a pressure cooker, you explode. The key is not letting it get to that point. The key is learning to rein the chaos in before it overtakes you and bringing peace back in. The big thing, get proactive in dealing with the chaos - before the chaos deals with you.
I sat at my kitchen table on this particular day, blood pressure up, heading throbbing, looking around at the chaos inside my home. Realizing it was mimicking the chaos inside my mind and if I didn't get a grip on it, I was going to lose it. I won't lie here, locking myself in my room and hanging a "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door did cross my mind. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and yell, "I QUIT!" Instead, I closed my eyes and wrapped my hands around a steaming mug of coffee. I regulated my breathing. Breathe deeply in through my nose and slowly exhale through my mouth. My focus only on the warmth of my mug and the rhythm of my breath.
I sat there for about thirty minutes in total silence. Just breathing consciously. As the mug of once hot coffee cooled in my hands, the tightness in my chest eased. When my mind cleared I had a bit of an epiphany. Instead of addressing my feelings of being overwhelmed and taking proactive steps to correct the issues, I had simply allowed it to fester. The ensuing chaos was of my own creation. Not putting my foot down when the signs started showing - allowed the chaos to explode over everything. By not holding others responsible and by being so confident I could do everything on my own, too confident as the case may be, I allowed myself to become overwhelmed. I had closed my eyes and jumped in with both feet. I had to take full responsibility for allowing myself to get to where I was that day.
I also needed to take responsibility for getting myself out of the chaos. Which meant stilling my mind and focusing on a game plan for myself. I set attainable goals and numbered them in the order I felt they needed to be accomplished. Some of my goals have deadlines, while others were a bit more open ended. The whole process helped to calm my racing heart and quiet the chaos in my mind.
Give yourself a break once and awhile. Whether it be the holidays or not, chaos can and will find you when you least expect it. It will beat you down and hold you there until you either give up or get proactive in calming it yourself. Give yourself quiet moments in your day. Consciously breathe deeply. Write manageable lists and set realistic goals. Understand that sometimes you can't do everything you want to and that is ok. Do the best you can with what you have and try again tomorrow. Give yourself a deadline on some things and leave others open ended.
Out of chaos - stillness is born.
Stillness of your soul. Stillness of your mind. It has to be this way or one would simply shatter. You must learn to rein in the chaos. You must learn to harness it for use as a stepping stone to get to where you need to be. Chaos to peace. Chaos to order.
Life becoming still once more.
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