I’ve begun to implement a technique to monitor my level of crisis. In other words, I often (many times a day) get to the point of feeling completely overwhelmed by all the things I’m juggling, by the challenges I encounter, by the people in my life who are emoting, whining, begging, or otherwise creating an atmosphere of desperate urgency.
I truly believe that paying attention, as the Buddha suggests, is the first step toward healing and strengthening. So I am trying to ask myself, when I’m on the verge of panic, How bad is this situation I find myself in? On a scale of 1 to 10. One being a situation in which one might enjoy total relaxation of body, mind and spirit, ten being some sort of life-or-death catastrophe inducing full-blown fight-or-flight stress.
I think it helps when I remember to do it. I think I get down in the trenches and forget to come up for a panoramic view of the situation, to reassess. I get too close to a small little piece of my life, and then when I don’t think it’s going exactly right, it looks like the whole world is falling apart. Because if that one little thing is your whole world, then it really is all falling apart.
If I pull back and try to judge based on everything as far as I can see, chances are there will be enough things that are calm, secure, at peace, that I can put my tiny crisis into perspective and not freak out about it.
Or, if the sky really is falling, I can problem solve for that instead. Either way, I’m looking to cultivate an appropriate response to my situation rather than an overblown conniption fit.
Do you have a way to keep from being overwhelmed by your day-to-day challenges?