Abundance to me is spring leaves unfurled in summer, the many dishes prepared to be shared with friends, and the love we feel that keeps on wanting to give. But when abundance has no purpose beyond simply having and doing, it crosses into overwhelm which can leave us feeling ungrounded and anxious.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more sensitive to overwhelm and therefore managing this invasive emotion has been at the forefront of my mind lately.
How can we weed it out of our life?
I think the trick is not to mistake busyness with being productive and instead become mindful of what our actions are really cultivating. Are they grounded in your heartfelt goals? Do they enrich your connection with life and with others? Do they ground you in the present moment? Or is there a disconnect?
Having future goals is important but I find that if the steps that get you there aren’t grounded in the present moment, you risk living your life for a future that never arrives. So for example, if you want to become a writer, what things are you doing right now that make you feel like a writer? How are you engaging in this goal in the present moment?
I have found that shifting our focus from what we are doing to being mindful of why we are doing it helps to bring overwhelm under control. Also, being clear on what our goals are, helps to align our actions so that we are connected to the deeper, more meaningful purpose behind our actions.
What’s helped me to start dealing with the overwhelm I feel is writing down 5 things I want most at this stage of my life. Once I was clear on what I truly wanted, I thought of what I needed to be doing more of to support the goals that were most meaningful for me. Once I was clear on this, I let everything else go.
For example, the goal of reconnecting with my family was a big one for me this summer. And I thought that the best way to do this was to establish a routine of eating home-cooked meals together. So every day, I’ve been cooking meals from scratch and allowing the magic of intentional action to unfold. As a result, we feel more connected and no matter what is happening in the outside world, we feel a sense of home and gratitude around the kitchen table.
There are only so many hours in a day, meaning that our ability to care for things is limited. We need to choose what matters to us the most and cultivate our lives around that instead of allowing a range of possibilities and distractions to dictate our lives.
Here is my checklist for living a less overwhelming life:
- Be mindful of your life goals. Set priorities around what makes you feel good and fully embrace what you love. Build a framework around that to live by.
- Leave out negative things and say no to what doesn’t feel right. Set up rules for gatekeeping and establish clear thresholds.
- Find productive ways to navigate challenges that you have less control over and take action to shift trigger points.
- Find value in what you already have and always make choices around sustainability. Consume consciously and take time to understand your impact.
- Be mindful of having a scarcity mindset and find ways to overcome it.
- Come back to the present moment and check in to see how your actions are aligning with your goals.
The paradox I’ve discovered is that abundance isn’t a product of doing but comes as a result of making our lives more spacious and centred around the things that are most meaningful to us. Aligning ourselves, our actions and our thoughts to the heartfelt goals we want to achieve allows us to experience flow.
Abundance is contained in flow. And just like in the flow of the seasons, it comes in its own time as a natural by-product of living a life deeply rooted in what nourishes us.