Overthinking & Finding Your Way Into Feeling
If you're like me, you may be prone to overthinking at times. To viewing a "conflict" or situation from all angles and then reasoning it out, even strategizing if-this-then-that.
There's nothing wrong with thinking, and it's in my nature to reason things through, but sometimes feeling your way through a situation and its always-unfolding subtleties is much more effective and also more empowering.
Almost six years ago, my acupuncturist asked me if I wanted to join him in practicing acupuncture downtown in his warm and beautiful Center City office 15 floors up in the sky.
At that time, I had only been in business one month, already had an office in West Philly, and wasn't planning to expand for maybe a year. At that moment in my practice I had maybe 4 patients TOTAL and lots of time on my hands.
Looking back on those very first months of being an acupuncturist, there was so much sweetness in that start-up time.
Everything felt VAST and unknown potential was always just around the bend. The river of life was curvy and the shoreline ahead of me felt incredibly delightful and fresh.
Financially, taking on a second office made absolutely no sense. But then I sat with my hand on my heart and felt the excitement and the rightness of sharing that space. The rightness was much more encompassing than the healthy dose of fear that ran beneath the surface.
That one year sublet turned into my first commercial real estate lease and now I’m back in the whirlpool of renegotiating that lease during a global pandemic that’s both unpredictable and somewhat scary business-wise.
The river of life is unknowable in terms of its course but we can be in touch with the water all around us. Sometimes the water is soft and we feel like we’re bobbing in place, sometimes we are swept ahead by a swift and changeable current, sometimes there are rocks. Sometimes we are simply trying to keep breathing and to stay afloat.
Whatever the water is like for you today, please start to feel into it. Knowing how your own river of life is flowing, and how you’re flowing (or not) with it will help you stop struggling so that you can feel how to stay in sync with the currents of your life.
When my family moved from Ohio to the beach in Wilmington NC in the 90s, my then 10 year old sister was brave enough to take surfing lessons.
The first thing they warn you about is the riptides.
If you feel the ocean sucking you under, the instruction is to allow yourself to be taken beneath the surface and be carried (even dragged) along until you reach the edge of the riptide at which point you will feel the tug of the ocean lesson and then you simply pop back up.
Um, ok. So I just allow the ocean to take me into its depths and carry me some unknown distance and deposit me somewhere else????? That doesn’t even sound reasonable but it’s actually the best way to conserve your energy and not drown.
On her very first lesson, my sister got stuck in a riptide and actually allowed it to carry her underwater until she popped back up. My mother was horrified but that willingness to not struggle and to not be afraid when engaged with some very strong currents helped my family avoid what could have been a seriously dangerous situation for my baby sister.
It’s not the riptides but the thrashing and the fighting and the struggling against that get us into the most serious trouble.
Today, my deepest wish is that all of us can take time to feel the water of our rivers (or oceans or waterfalls or lakes, depending on where exactly you are right now). To take the time to pause and to feel how you’re doing.
Is your energy low? Ok then, how can you work with that current right now?
Are you angry or sad? If yes, then how can you nurture and care for yourself as you would care for a friend?
There is no wrong water to be immersed in and the nature of all water is that it will flow.
May each of us find the courage to be carried along in harmony with the flow of your life. With the troubles and the tribulations and the joys and the sorrows just the same.
May you make space for all of it and be deeply immersed in the river of your life.