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Overcoming Overwhelm

A common occurrence amongst servers in the restaurant biz is the recurring nightmare of being in the “weeds”. This state of despair haunts them both in real-time and in dream-time.

Years ago as I left my tech job to build my Reiki practice, I took a job waiting tables which provided more flexibility while also paying the bills. At least once a week I’d wake up from a stressful sleep with the nightmare of being in the “weeds”.

In the Weeds!

In my dream, I’d get “sat” all at once. Meaning my section of tables would become full of people within seconds. In real-time this happens with five tables holding about eighteen people which poses an obvious challenge. In dream-time the section expanded to twenty tables holding (and nonsensically) hundreds of people whom I was unable to greet, let alone serve. Oh and the tables were spread out over a quarter-mile radius, and I wore galoshes, two sizes too big, and it was sweltering hot, and as a sinister bonus, Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” was on constant, blaring replay.

The “weeds” being the place where you find yourself in utter overwhelm. It’s etymology is apparently related to golf when a ball makes its departure into tall weeds leaving the golfer to search aimlessly for it, undoubtedly cursing the very existence of the game. Since many of my waitstaff compatriots often played golf before coming to work later in the afternoon, I can see how this term entered into the wider vernacular.

Overwhelm is a place where we all find ourselves in life. It’s the the deluge of stressors that inundate us at the pace of a flash-flood which completely short-circuits our central nervous system.

I love reading Lena Stevens blog, The Power Path for her Monthly Updates which gratefully and so intuitively breaks down the meaning of each month for us laypeople to understand. For the month of February, she writes,

“There is an aggravated energy that is pushing us towards conflict or breakthrough, new insights and new solutions, and moving us through our discontent and maybe even anger. You must remember to accept this as an important energy that creates the necessary friction for a spark to take place that ignites a circumstance that creates a window for something new to happen and a resolution to be found.”

Coming back to Spirit

At our core, true state of being, we are Spirit, a state of contentment, bliss, peace, love and grace. When things feel stormy, the ego reacts and runs around with its hair on fire, giving us those bad juju feels. It’s a clear signal of us being out of alignment with our true state.

So how to return to the good vibes? How do we train ego to align with spirit and calm the f#@k down? Here are my Top Five Go-To’s to keep from going overboard amidst the storm.

1. Breathe: Taking 3-5 deep breaths instantly engages the parasympathetic nervous system which acts as the brake pedal and brings the physical body back into equilibrium.

2. Get Outside: We forget that there is a massive organism called Earth that is always supporting us. When we’re able to sit on a patch of Earth, whether an expansive beach or square of lawn outside your office, it immediately connects with the natural world, (which is reality) and helps to balance our internal elements.

3. Yes to the Yin: Giving our bodies a break from the bootcamp and Peloton and draping ourselves over a yoga bolster for an hour is just plain divine. Add a few hip openers and a scented eye pillow while you’re there and it’s like your own little day spa!

4. Reiki: You know I have to... Seriously, Reiki, more than other healing modality, restores the mind to a theta-state. It slows the brain’s mental activity from 15-40 cycles, the beta state, to 5-8 in the theta state. It’s a level deeper than meditation, but not quite sleep. As brain activity slows, the parasympathetic nervous system restores to rest & relax mode. It also gives more space for the intuitive mind to open. Among its many benefits, Reiki is like a tropical vacation for your brain.

(Bonus Tip- did you know you can learn Reiki & practice self-healing?)

5. Divination: Once your mind & body are free from the boa constrictor of overwhelm, it’s always a beautiful idea to call on guidance from the Divine. We call this process “divination” and use tools like tarot, oracle cards, the I Ching, even dust off that old Ouja Board. It gets us out of tunnel vision and broadens our perspective. It helps the function of the 6th chakra and the crown chakra, providing us with clarity, insight and improving our connection with something higher than ourselves.

These happen to be my Top Five go-to’s. I’ve got many more up my sleeve, as I’m sure you do too. The most important thing to remember while we’re in a state of overwhelm is that we are resourced. We’ve got everything we need internally to manage whatever comes.

If we just pause, breathe and scope back the panic, then anything is figure-outable, even when “Margaritaville” is on replay.

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