Over the past few days, the idea of “overwhelm” has been very much upon me. Like a gnarly beast. I see it in specific areas of my life experience – and hanging over the whole life experience.
I’ve been led to see overwhelm as an ego story – one that has kept me stuck for a very long time. It’s easy enough to see that it’s not true. I know that Spirit is guiding and protecting me, so I get just what I need and no more. I can do only what I can do – no more. When I’m in the moment and in flow, overwhelm is never an issue.
Overwhelm looks like an issue of confusion, so it’s no surprise to find it’s really a function of fear. I would describe that fear as the fear of being caught – of being found out – the fear of not being good enough. “Not good enough” is one of those notions lurking in the pit for most of us.
I did some work around this fear and felt better. But overwhelm did not entirely go away. So, early this morning – like in the middle of the night – I find myself up trying again to get straight about overwhelm. I couldn’t sleep. That’s one thing overwhelm does to us.
In the past, I’ve felt much better – much relieved of this feeling of overwhelm – when I get enough guidance to feel like I’m at least loosely on some sort of track that I can understand. I don’t need to know the details, just get my bearings and a sense of direction. Lying in bed, I saw that this cannot be the answer to overwhelm. Feels good – yes. Resolve overwhelm – no.
Before that, I made lists. Lots of lists. Get all the ideas and to-do’s out on paper. Then prioritize and move into action. Doesn’t work for long! lol
In my meditation chair, what came quickly was the idea of “rules.” If I don’t follow the rules, and I get caught, I will be punished. This is to be avoided. My entire life has been about avoiding punishment. I have used many, many tricks to avoid being punished. Through it all, I find myself breaking rules.
I find I have been punished by my parents, my teachers, my partners, my friends, my bosses, my clients – that’s a long enough list for now! lol
Let me throw in one more: I find myself punishing myself.
I have been deeply involved in changing the rules – have worked hard to understand the rules. I have spent countless moments calculating how far I could push the rules without being caught – or if I was caught, how to avoid being punished. I have – well, it goes on and on. Fixing and please are right in the middle of this. So is hiding out and my tendency to try to unearth every possible scenario and then manipulate the action to protect myself.
By the way, I have my own set of rules too. These include honoring my spiritual beliefs, my morals and ethics, my self. Unfortunately, my rules rarely match the rules I perceive in the world! lol
What I saw just now was that rules are not different than expectations. Rules always lead to judgment – were the rules followed or not – and what consequences shall there be. These judgments always lead to stories – I’m not good enough is one – overwhelm is another. These false stories always lead to actions – fixing and pleasing and hiding out – as well as a lot of what I’ll call negative energy unleashed into the world.
What is true for me is that I don’t control the world – can’t make it behave – can’t make its rules align with mine – can’t make it clarify and align it’s own rules – can’t predict what will happen. I don’t take responsibility for that which is so clearly outside my control – or even my influence. I don’t own the stories that come from this insanity – except my own. I don’t take on all the negative energy around rules and rule judgments.
What I do own are my own rules. Starting now, I say there are no rules. I’m putting my foot down on rules – I’ve had enough. I don’t need or want rules at all. I realize this has always been true about me. I have rebelled against authority, and turned to spirituality for a better set of rules to trump those of the world. Church didn’t work for me because of the rules. Now I see that there’s no point substituting a “higher” set of rules for a more earthly one.
I know that who I am is love – that’s enough. I know that who I am is a perfect child of God – that’s good enough. I know that I am guided and protected – that will do. I know that the situations that arise for me are there for my awakening – not about frightening me. I know that when I am present to now – in the flow of life – everything runs much smoother than fear-driven rules could ever allow.
I’m content to come from this knowing and place of peace. Because I know that, in this space, there is not fear. I am not touched by rules or expectations, judgments or stories, or negative energy. In this place, all is as it as. I’m fine with that.