It’s spring. This is often a very happy, joy-filled time of year. The temperature is warming, nature is re-growing, and sunlight abounds. Yet even with these signs of hope and renewal, life can still feel overwhelming. Why is that? Do we take on too much? Do “situations” that we have little to no control over knock us down? Do we having trouble seeing the path forward?
You many already know this about me, but I love getting together with my family and friends. There’s nothing that makes me happier than sharing stories, time, meals and laughter. With Passover around the corner, my husband Steve and I have been preparing to host a seder in our home, as we do most years. The group will be larger than normal. I admit that I’ve been stressing out about how we’re going to accommodate everyone. Thoughts like, “Will we have enough seats or space?” and “What if we don’t have enough food?” have occupied my mind.
Finally, though, we figured out the space and food challenges. As I was just settling in and focusing on the other aspects of getting ready, we ran into a major glitch. Our fairly new boiler, which provides our home with heat and hot water, stopped working. Without giving you the details of the saga, the upshot is that we now have a huge home project that needs to happen the same week we’re preparing for our 35 guests to come over. We’ll probably do a quick fix solution to get our heat and hot water back. Then after the gathering, we’ll make the major repair needed (as in getting an above ground oil tank) to permanently fix the problem.
What does this mean? Aside from a huge, unanticipated expense, it also means that the house won’t be in the shape I’d hoped it would be. There might be piles of dirt outside from digging. There could be pipes running on the ground in places they normally aren’t. It might mean that things will be much more chaotic leading up to the event than I had hoped. Then it hit me. There was nothing I could do to change any of those things. In fact, I could be worrying about things that might be non-issues. I certainly wasn’t thinking about what was most important. So what did I do? I tapped into something I already knew, but needed to remind myself of again.
The powerful method to reduce overwhelm and increase zen is to let go!
We have no control over certain things like when the boiler or oil tank decides to break. So I’m focusing on the things that are in my control (like my attitude or how many pounds of brisket I’ll be cooking, or matzoh balls I’ll be making,) and let go of the perfectionist, worry-ladened thoughts. Instead, I choose to remain calm and embrace the joy I’ll experience when our family and friends come to our home. Letting go feels so much better than holding on to worry and stress. Letting go opens the door for experiencing, as my Mom used to refer to as, “the good stuff.”
What helps you reduce overwhelm? Is there anything you’d like to let go of? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!