Friday, December 2, 2016

Stopping Overwhelm

Last night, a dear friend left me a phone message. I could barely hear her because the tv was turned up loud in the background. When I called back she was railing about politicians in the news, filled with fear and anger over what is happening in the world. It was 11 pm- so I said, as gently but as firmly as I could- "Turn off the television!".
        Let's take a deep breath together. Regularly. Frequently. Let's find a truly sustainable way to live, to balance the need for information that can help us contribute and participate in the world with how much (in this moment) our hearts can hold.
        Because, if we have to disconnect from our hearts in order to take in more analysis or information, our actions will not be fueled and guided by our very real love for the world.
        I am not talking about putting our heads in the sand, or only listening to uplifting news. I am talking about discovering what really sustains us in keeping our hearts open- and making sure that we do that - whether it is praying or walking on the earth, watching comedies that make us laugh, or reading great poetry, or listening to music that makes us dance.
        Our shared life needs all of us, needs us awake and aware and alert, needs us rested and calm and clear, needs us listening deeply and responding with an open heart. And make no mistake- we can say, "No!" to that which causes suffering and threatens life, without closing our hearts- if we take care of those hearts.
        Sustainability is about how we receive life from and renew resources- including the inner resources that fuel our participation in our world and in our own small lives.
        So let's take another one of those breaths together. . . . and tend ourselves, each other and the world with fierce compassion, crazy hope, and real kindness. ~Oriah

One of the things that sustains me are the spectacular photos, like this one, from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming. Seeing this egret's wings makes me pause and take a long full inhale.


  1. Timely. On retreat last week, I saw or heard no news for 9 days, and I noticed how that helped the calming and gathering back together of my scattered and stressed thoughts and emotions over that time. I recognised how much the continual dripfeed of doom and disaster through the day, thanks to social media and online news, affects my mood and my focus. Since I got home I've limited the time I spend looking at news - enough to be aware of what's going on and to follow one or two stories that interest me, but not the frequent visits to updates, comments etc. I'm filling the space as you suggest, with reflection, with reading, with getting out and walking, with time online communicating with friends. And trying to keep my focus on the still centre. I feel more rooted in true reality, less disturbed and apprehensive.

    1. Great insight Anne- periods of absolutely no media can really help us reset and find our way way to be informed without being overwhelmed.