I’ve got a fun prompt for you this week. It’s going to have you doing a little detective work.
I don’t watch much television. I do, however, enjoy an occasional police drama on Netflix. Law & Order is one of my favorites.
If you’ve ever watched this type of show, you know that when a new crisis hits and nobody is sure where to start, they call a big meeting. All the crime-fighting team members congregate around a table, usually standing up and pacing. And one of them calls out:
Overwhelm seems to be the order of the day lately. I’ve been feeling like road kill on the Information Superhighway. And it’s not just me. Friends, coworkers, blog readers and even total strangers on the street are confessing their disdain. Our perpetually connected existence can easily overload us with non-essentials.
The problem is that we’re aware of so much more than we used to be. More of everything. The oil spill in the Gulf. Unrest overseas. Horrific details from faraway cities brought into our living rooms via the nightly news.
You can be overwhelmed by good stuff, too. I’m overflowing with a million fabulous ideas I want to share, projects just begging for my energy.
The result of this overwhelm is total paralysis. It’s all too much. We can’t possibly affect change when the scale is so large. The stakes are so high.
Here’s a journaling prompt that will eliminate your overwhelm and end the paralysis.
I don’t know about you, but I like to get myself good and mired sometimes, totally paralyzed by fear, imaginary problems, inflated anger or deflated ego.
I’m happy to report that I’ve finally stumbled upon a cure: Gratitude.
Whenever we act from a scarcity mindset — as though creativity, productivity, and love are somehow limited — we get stingy. We get ungrateful. And then we promptly get stuck.
Stuck means not knowing what to do next, or why. You can feel stuck whether you’re drowning in an abundance of dreams or starving for lack of them. It comes from a lack of trust that the universe will provide you with what you need.
When you focus on what the universe has already given you, that mistrust wanes. You realize you’ve always been taken care of. You realize you will continue to be.
The Magic of the List
An easy way to cultivate gratitude is to keep a Gratitude List in your journal. The list is a simple way to appreciate the gifts you’ve been given. You can put anything in the world that you’re grateful for on that list — big or small. Puppies, your sister, chocolate ice cream, seat belts, Saturdays.
Add items as you think of them throughout the week. See if you begin to feel a sense of movement, of abundance.
Yesterday I was reading an old journal entry. I had just suffered a nasty break to my leg and the physical therapist told me I’d likely never run again. (People should know better than to tell me what I can’t do.) I missed running — it was my therapy. At the time, all I ached for was two good legs and three miles of road.
Yesterday I realized, “Hey – I’ve got that.” And on the Gratitude List it went. Already I can feel myself loosening up, the sense of flow returning.
I was at Greenlake this week taking a walk. There’s a dock where folks bring their dogs to jump off into the water. There’s always a fleet of dripping, slobbering Labradors staring intently at the ball in their person’s hand.
I stopped to watch for a minute, just as a young man and his chocolate Labradoodle arrived at the dock. The dog was carrying this filthy stuffed rabbit with black stitching and one big button eye. It looked like a middle-school home-ec project FAIL. But the dog loved the thing. You could tell he’d been carrying it everywhere with him since birth.
His guardian bent down to unwrap a shiny new floating rubber duckie he just bought. Perfect for the lake — it floats, it’s bright yellow, easy to see. And it’s new! Yay! New toys!
He stands back up, duck curled in his right hand, about to chuck the thing into the water. Labradoodle does his little dance, bunny still in his mouth, and you can see the steam coming out of his ears: “Throwtheduck throwtheduck throwtheduck!”
Taking a courageous leap off the dock into the murky water, the dog holds his snout above the surface to keep his bunny dry and starts paddling like mad.
As you can imagine, when he arrives at Destination Duckie, he’s in a bit of a pickle.