Ah, yes, Obsession – From Oxford Languages: ob·ses·sion – the state of being obsessed with someone or something. "she cared for him with a devotion bordering on obsession"
- an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.
Waking this Saturday morning with the awareness of my own obsession. Noticing how even something you’re passionate about can become too much. Can lead to overwhelm. Recognizing that when you work in a field that’s linked to a deep personal and ongoing experience, there often is no break.
I live and breathe addiction and recovery. I immerse myself in learning more, joining groups where I read and comment on people’s confusion, fear, anger, and loss. Not a day goes by where at least one parent shares the loss of their child. Every day is full of posts of people saying they can’t take it anymore, asking for advice from strangers who don’t know their family, but who are more than willing to chime in. I extract myself from groups that perpetuate messages that I find harmful and unhelpful. I stay in those that spread fresh ideas, compassion, and hope, but even those spaces can be too much.
Many of the books spread around my home relate to the topic, reflecting my ever-present desire to learn and grow, to be the best mom, the best coach, and best support person I can be. I want to know all there is to know in an unknowable field. As I glance around and see the titles, I feel the weight. It seems somehow the more I learn, the more inadequate I feel.
Working for myself from home also contributes to this sense of overwhelm. There’s never a distinct separation between work and home – no physical distance, especially in such a small space. No clear ending time unless there are other plans. It’s too easy for work thoughts, topics, programs, and conversations to seep into my “off hours.”
o·ver·whelm – verb - bury or drown beneath a huge mass.
Similar: swamp, submerge, engulf, bury, deluge, flood, inundate, clog, overload, overburden, bring someone to their knees
give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
"they were overwhelmed by farewell messages"
Phew, ok! Thanks, Oxford Languages for that clarity… yes, today, I feel the overwhelm brought on by my (very devoted and very well-meaning) obsession. I feel a need to unbury myself, to emerge from the swamp, to unclog and unload the weight I’ve been carrying. I have the ability to shut out the deluge of information and input. I get to choose how I spend my time, where I devote my energy, what I read and listen to, and to pace myself in a way that feels sustainable and onward-leading.
Before I am brought to my knees, let me remember that I have the choice for how I spend my time, where I put my attention, and who and what I allow into the sacred spaces of my heart and mind.
And, so my question for today’s #AtoZChallenge is: How can I create some space to nourish, nurture, and replenish myself? Not just immediately, but on a more regular basis. But, I’ll begin with today, this moment, because that’s what’s here. Then I’m sure that will inform my consciousness about life overall.
I need a break – a break that has nothing to do with travel or vacation; I have had plenty of that recently. I need a break in my own head, heart, and home, so I am giving myself a two-day break this weekend (after this piece is written).
Before I even wrote my morning pages, I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone for these days in order to resist the temptation to mindlessly grab, scroll, and get hooked in for an hour or more without even noticing. I immediately felt lighter. I know I might find myself checking the weather app more than usual, but that’s ok. It won’t hook me for too long!
I put my phone on Do Not Disturb, allowing only calls and messages from immediate family and close friends to come through. I need some breathing room. I’ve been way too cranky lately, on edge, unsettled… feel like I’m caving in on myself.
Thankfully some spark of inspiration showed me the way out! Thankfully, I remember that I’m in charge of my schedule and my environment.
I will choose to spend time doing things that uplift and inspire me. I will choose time with people I enjoy, doing things that are fun and unrelated to work. If I read, it will be a novel. If I listen, it will be to dance or sing or be inspired. If I watch, it will be to laugh or to cry, but it will be for pleasure (yes, I do love a good cry).
I will bake, I think. It’s a grey rainy, almost snowy day here, and so filling our home with warmth and good smells of cookies or corn bread sounds wonderful. We will cook a nice meal to enjoy with our son. I will change the tablecloth from fall colors to butterflies – that alone lightens up the space. I will clear the counter of its excess. Why do horizontal surfaces so quickly and easily get cluttered? Why are they so inviting for all the things I can’t immediately decide what to do with?
I will also work with my husband to continue cleaning and clearing space. We both feel the Springtime desire to purge. We need more room to breathe. There is simply too much stuff in this space. Sometimes I enjoy going through my wardrobe, dresser, and drawers to find what is ready to leave us. Something that will delight someone else, and choosing to let it go. That energy is alive within me this season, so I want to lean into it and let it support me in making the tough choices to release and let go.
I will devote time for practices that nurture my soul. Meditation has somehow slipped to the wayside too often lately. Tai Chi too. Yoga far too seldom. I need to flood myself with these things that calm my nervous system, that soothe my soul, that relax and restore me. Instead of 20 minutes doom scrolling, don’t you think I’ll feel better if I come into gentle presence with myself? I do!
So, how about you? Where do you feel overwhelm? Any obsessions that are getting more of your time and energy than they deserve? How might you create a little spaciousness in your heart, mind, and home? What is opening for you?