Have you ever seen the brick wall of stress and overwhelm coming and yet you did nothing to change course or stop or slow down?
Yup, me too. For years and years. That has been a major life lesson that I have had to learn the hard way over and over and over again. I would over commit myself or have commitments dumped in my lap and smile and carry them all on my shoulders while slowly sinking to the ground.
I was a classic, chronic, “I can do it all and then some” mom, wife, and self who over-committed rather than say no so no one would think that I couldn’t juggle 3 balls in the air at the same time and then add 17 more balls at the same time and keep them all in the air perfectly, easily and effortlessly.
I was an illusionist. I would appear from the outside to keep it all together while I could feel my insides turning stressed, unhealthy, mentally drained. I would harbor unhealthy, unloving thoughts towards myself and others for my inability to keep up and their inability to keep themselves in a suspended state of illusion so I could get all my stuff done without having to stop.
Because you can’t juggle 17 balls and then have a kid lose shoes...again...and not get short or exasperated or mad that that shoe-loser can’t see all your balls and should already know that you can’t add 1 more ball even one as small as shoe finding to your juggling act. It just can’t happen.
So how did I decided to start getting a grip on my life and living a life I love? I learned how to pump BREAKS (breaks in your day for reflection/self-clarity that will help you feel connected and in control).
So, how did I stop driving straight into brick walls? I started learning how to pump the breaks. Taking small, measured, goal-oriented breaks is a way to slow yourself down before you hit the wall and access what it is your intentions and goals really are. It is easy in our high paced, high stakes world to just accelerate into walls, I see people doing it to themselves all the time and we have to learn how to stop because we are injuring ourselves and everyone else in the car with us.
Learning how to pump breaks if you are a life-long wall crasher takes patience and a willingness to forgive yourself for what you are not going to do because you have established a lifetime of neural pathways telling you to go full speed all the time and society supports this even with all of the unhealthy indicators that this is not what is best for us.
It may feel uncomfortable at first because it is challenging who your ego says you are. If you have lived a life as a ball juggler, that’s who the ego identifies itself with and any time we hold onto an illusion of what or who we think we ought to be, we hold ourselves back from becoming who we were meant to be.
For instance, if you have ever thought…” well I am managing to keep it all together”. You are careening towards the wall. Managing is not living a life of intention. Being a manager is simply moving pieces around in hopes that they don’t all fall in on you. No wide open spaces of self-exploration and love, just a box to check and a paper to file. Where is the joy in that?
A lifetime of managing does not lead to a lifetime of happiness. And we were made for more than juggling and managing.
So, as someone who just did a mandatory break pump for myself and who is now able to recognize when I am driving too fast towards the wall, let me share with you the tips and tricks for pumping the brakes so you too can lead a life of purpose.
This series of blogs titled: Getting A Grip and Pumping Breaks is intended to give you some measurable tools to create meaningful changes in your life without feeling like you have to chuck your life in the garbage and go live on a mountaintop to get peace and clarity. You can do that right from your living room...or your mini-van depending on which one you currently spend the most time in.
Please join me and let me hear how you are doing with getting a grip and pumping breaks into your life.