Archive for September, 2011

How To Process “Overwhelmed”


First you have to recognize—correctly name—the feeling of being overwhelmed. I had quite a terrible time of just that on 9/11. I kept thinking that I could yawn my way through my emotional pain about this(some 9/11 reports), or that (details anguish over animal neglect/abuse mentioned at charity event I attended), or another thing (tragic prototypes in a play I saw the night before, and association to something in my own life). I was trying all day to yawn my way through it all and it didn’t happen. FINALLY, around 6 pm, I realized I was simply overwhelmed. No way was I going to be able to simply work my way through each separate pain that day. I had to get physical with the overwhelmed in order to be able to get to all the mental hurdles involved.

Overwhelmed = pure adrenaline (aka pure fear), confusion, pain. That means shake yourself head to toe…a lot (the more you shake, the less time processing will take). Then stop the whole body tremors and just shake your head, left-right-left-right, like an old-fashioned washing machine spindle, not too fast, not to far, just jiggling the jelly inside your head (:)) for better circulation. Stop that head shaking, and yawn. Big, eye roll up, chin level yawn. With lots of repetitions of this sequence will be helpful in coming days (as they were for me when I remembered I had a whole lot of issues mushed together). Doing so repeatedly. and intentionally, directs your unconscious mind to keep working on the issues for you. Considerable unconscious energy is required for sorting all kinds of stimulation (shaking head to toe), eliminating old unimproved thinking (shaking just your head), making room for new thinking (the head shaking alternated with yawning), and then inviting new data in for the creation of those new improved thoughts (more yawning).

9/11 night I went to sleep caring about everything, but at least recognizing that I was currently helpless to do anything about any of it except the one issue in my own life (my husband carried that through beautifully when I talked with him about the personal concern). Late in the week there were up days (well, one) and down days (several). And numerous issues worked through. Yes overwhelmed can unearth a lot of work that needs to be done. And honest working emotional stuff is like an honest day’s physical and mental work, right? Good for body, heart and soul.




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Narcissistic Nation: US

NEWS: There is worry in Washington that if the US population loses hope, we will have lost the core of what it means to be American. President Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope” similarly celebrates hope.

OPINION: Well, let’s not catastrophize. There appears to be some confusion here between pessimism (the emotion that arises more often these days in people’s consciousness) and hope. Hope is the spiritual part of the emotion of humility. Hope is a balanced place that depends equally upon optimism and pessimism… and upon being able to go back and forth between those extremes.

In other words, there is no true hope without both optimism (the “American” trait) and pessimism (an “un-American” trait?) And, overdoing optimism is a core ingredient of the dark side of narcissism…and of our hitherto narcissistic nation (cf: “The Ugly American” written in the 1950’s, Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, etc.)

Now, I don’t think narcissism is bad: it’s a fact of character, and just as I am a narcissist, so, I believe, it is no slander to call my beloved country also narcissistic. Driven to success. Galvanized by admiration. Focused on the future and visionary possibility. None of these things bad. We need them for outside-the-box creativity.

But to get mired in them…to be overly-optimistic about their power to the exclusion of many other virtues…is to be trapped by the dark side of the force of our own characters. And over-emphasis on hope… and is one of those challenges.

Really, the current currents of pessimism are healthy. They counterbalance the over-optimism (and associated complacency) that have been part of current decline. They help us (and U.S.) achieve real hope, healthy authentic hope, rather than the pale imitation which is optimism disguised as hope. Currents of pessimism are part of the vast ocean of emotion that bears us (and U.S.) anywhere. Good to get better at them. Good to have real balance. Good to surf and master all the full, real ocean of our emotions rather than avoid some currents (like pessimism).  www.surfyoursoul.com


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