Everything Happens at Once

809907_fashion1.jpgHave you noticed that life happens all at once? And once things start happening, it all just keeps adding up?

I’ve pretty much stopped focusing on the recent CA ruling, but the universe won’t let me ignore it. I’m getting requests for phone and TV interviews. I’m sure a lot of us are. I know pretty much anyone who is a volunteer in some capacity for HSC or CHN has received at least a call or two.

On top of that, we have several life things that are piling up. We STILL don’t have our pillows, or any idea if the hotel has found them. Our day is triple booked tomorrow, and my email box has over 300 messages that are waving at me, trying to get my attention.

That’s just some of what’s going on right now.

But I wonder, is it really all happening at once? Or does it just seem like it because there is so much frantic emotions flying around right now? Am I giving certain things too much attention?

I turned off my e-lists, reading them only in digest mode and I started deleting anything that has to do with the CA court case. It was almost as if I was keeping the emails as a way to have control over the situation. The truth is that I don’t have control of this situation at all. It is out of my hands. By reading every single email and replying to all the nay-sayers, I feel a modicum of control. But it gets to a point where the return is no longer worth the investment.

Same with my pillows. There will come a point where the angst of trying to get those pillows back will no longer be worth it, and it will simply be easier to get more pillows. The kids are attached to those pillows (and I am attached to mine), but is it so important that it’s worth spending days and weeks fighting for? Is any object that important?

My emails are important. But I have many other projects that are much more important than that. I have to draw the line somewhere. Time to start hitting the “delete” key liberally, and dealing with only the things that are really important.

The cool thing, is I have the choice. I can choose where to put my attention. Nobody is making me read emails or answer the phone. My freedom comes from being able to decide where my attention should be spent.

Our homeschooled kids are growing up with this kind of freedom – the ability to choose where to put their attention.

It’s important to have the freedom to choose to not pay attention to things. We need to be able to pick and choose our input, and to decide when the amount of energy needed compared to the benefit is just too much.

This is what happens when our kids check out – the benefit of their intense attention is not worth all the work that is necessary to maintain focus. When the benefit is clear, focus is much easier to attain. And best of all, it feels good. When intense focus starts to feel bad, it’s time to choose to not pay attention anymore, at least for a while.

So tonight, I decided to stop paying attention to the things that make me ungrounded. Spinning my wheels on something I can’t control (like the pillows, and a certain CA ruling) is crazy-making. Instead, I’m working on the things that move me forward. Right now, I am letting the universe take care of the things I can’t control, and focussing my attention on things that I can change.

Strangely, as I let go of the things I can’t change, I’m starting to unwind, and feeling like less is actually happening. Of course, it’s not true – everything is still happening. I’m simply choosing what to pay attention to, and by that, making it seem like less is happening. Amazing.

In addition, the world is not falling apart around me.

How much does our perspective on what’s happening effect the feeling of how overwhelmed we are? Have you ever been totally and completely busy, yet not at all overwhelmed? What is the element that defines whether or not we feel overwhelmed by events, or invigorated by them?


5 Responses to “Everything Happens at Once”

  1. sunniemom Says:

    For me, it’s my house. When my house is in order, I can deal with anything. When we do remodeling projects, I come unglued.

    I posted a couple of pics on my blog of our family/school room project, which would not be a big deal except that all the books, games, toys, and furniture have been shoved into the living room and dining room. And the piano is in the kitchen.

    So for the last month or so I have been slowly disintegrating. The laundry is too much. I can’t keep up with dishes. I quit trying to remove the sawdust accumulating on every surface, and the tools that somehow end up on the kitchen counter. We will probably finish up this weekend, and it won’t be a moment too soon.

    When my home environment is clean and organized, I can tackle multiple projects, handle emergencies without breaking a nail, and I feel excited by any challenge that comes my way. This morning it was a challenge just to take a shower. :p

  2. suburbancorrespondent Says:

    It’s the control issue. If there is a lot going on, but you feel in control of it (like when you are starting a new project you are really into), then it is fun. Studies have shown that people in similar situations feel less stress if they are given at least an illusion of control over the situation.

    Favorite subject of mine….

    Pillows are 4 dollars each at Target. Go for it!

  3. Tammy Says:

    sunnie – I’m that way too! Glad to hear I’m not alone in my CAD (Clutter Affective Disorder).

    Suburban – You’re right! So, is that why when I say to myself, “I am not responsible for taking care of this,” I feel less stressed out? Because I no longer feel the need to control it?

  4. Doc Says:

    You’re right to not buy into the panic. Make a quiet statement by setting an example of calm. Someone commented on my blog that HSLDA is driving the panic in a sort of mid season recruitment drive. Apparently it’s working too.

  5. Sandra Foyt Says:

    I’m reminded of the whole post-9/11 on-going war. For a while, I watched CNN non-stop and read every news article. After a time, I realized that my avid following of events was taking over my life, and not allowing me to live in my present.

    I stepped back, cut out some of my daily media, and got back to being a productive member of my household. And, it didn’t make any difference to the world at large.

    Sometimes, I find that the only way I can regain control of my life – after a vacation, overwhelming project, or tragedy – is to take one step at a time, and follow the rituals that have worked in the past.

    I clear through the clutter in my home, cleaning it top to bottom, and tackle the pile of correspondance last. Once I clear the visual clutter, I’m ready to go through all the papers – making to do lists as I go along. Then, I tackle the to do list. It can take a few days, but it works for me.

    Then, I might still have a ton to do, but having a list of items to cross off, makes it manageable. And, I love crossing stuff off.

    So, Tammy, pick up those $4 pillows, and cross that out of your life.

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