Working on overwhelm...

I had a student tell me the other day that what I have to share in class is often exactly what she seems to need to hear in the moment. As a teacher and student of yoga I have often had this same experience with my teachers. It's amazing what the universe can provide sometimes. 

But here's a little secret... 

What I talk about in classes is often what I need to hear for myself in a given moment. 

Inspiration comes from life and yoga is not separate from that after all. As I often say (and heard from my teachers), our mat is a laboratory for our lives. What happens there is not different or separate from what happens "out there". 

What I see in myself and others right now is overwhelm. You're done. You're spent. You've got not a whole lot left in the tank. You've given all you can and there's just not much left to give at home, at work, with your friends or family, or even to yourself.

And then you turn on the evening news and there's far more to be overwhelmed by. Some of it is very disturbing.    

Our modern lives are filled with TOO MUCH. TOO MUCH - Food, sugar, appointments, media, clutter, bills, stress, relationship woes, fear, sickness, responsibilities ... I could go on. It's one hell of a downward spiral. 

How to break that cycle of overwhelm then? How to dig out of a hole that seems so steep we can barely see the light at the end of the tunnel?


One small shift. You don't need to add to your TO DO list. You don't need to sign up for some big program or throw away everything in your refrigerator or your garage and start over. You just need to make One Small Shift. If you can do that you start the trend upward. You start to put one foot in front of the other and even if the steps are tiny, you are moving FORWARD instead of backward.

My shift this week was reaching out to have a long talk with a dear teacher and being reminded of an old friend. Gratitude. 

It's something that's been bouncing around in my thoughts since Iris shared the quote above with her class earlier this month, but I had pushed it to the side instead of really sitting with it because of all the TOO MUCH in my own life. That last line really hit me. "Remember what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for." Remember when you wanted that house? Or that job? Or that relationship? How did you feel then?

So now my little notebook is next to my bed and each night I'm writing down one thing I'm grateful for in relation to something in my life I'm finding overwhelming right now. It's a small thing. But I'm already noticing the difference.

Maybe gratitude isn't your thing. Maybe it's starting your day with three deep breaths instead of reading your email. Maybe it's making one snack in your day a little healthier. Maybe it's locking yourself in a bathroom stall for five minutes at work so no one can talk to you. Maybe it's answering the phone on the second or third ring instead of the first when that difficult relative calls you for the fifth time today.

Find one small thing. Take one small step.

We've got this. It can get better.