Gunk of Low-Energy Living: overwhelm

I want to take you back a few years and tell you what I used to think about overwhelm.

I thought overwhelm was because there was too much on my To Do list or because I had too much going on in my life.

In other words, when there’s lots to get done or lots going on, overwhelm is a likely emotion. That was my experience. Another way to say that: When I felt overwhelm, I assumed it was because of everything undone on my To Do list and the many irons I had in the fire.

My usual approach for dealing with this overwhelm was to try to work smarter and get more done.

To organize and prioritize my To Do list. I thought if I got clear on my priorities and tackled those, I wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed. And, of course, time management usually was to blame—or so I thought. If only I could manage my time better, then I wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

If it wasn’t my To Do list causing me to feel overwhelm, it was the business of life. You know, all the business of living—commuting to work and remembering so-and-so’s birthday and running errands and fixing meals, and calling Comcast about the mistake on my bill.

Maybe your business of life includes caring for kids or elderly parents, or both. Maybe your business of life includes volunteer work and community involvement.

Perhaps some of those tasks and activities also show up on your To Do list, but probably not all. There’s plenty you do in a given day that is just the stuff you do. So while it doesn’t show up anywhere on a list, you are still doing it daily or weekly or regularly or once in awhile, and it has you feeling overwhelmed.

This typical way of looking at overwhelm dovetails with the dictionary definition, which is to give too much of a thing to someone.

So when you believe you have too much to do, too much to handle, too much to juggle, well…you feel overwhelmed.

This is all to say the pre-LoA version of me thought the cause of overwhelm was one or all of these:

  • I have too much to do.
  • I need to manage my time better.
  • I need to stop procrastinating.
  • I need to be better organized.
  • I need to prioritize.
  • I need to work smarter.

With this old way of thinking about overwhelm, the focus was always on the need for more action or different action.

I have too much to do and so I need to find a way to get more of it done. I need to take more action. Because if I take more action, I’ll get more done and then I won’t feel overwhelmed. That was my belief.

I need to manage my time better is about action. I need to sit down with my To Do list and get clear on my priorities. That’s an action.

If I stop procrastinating, I won’t feel overwhelmed. The very definition of procrastinate is to delay or postpone action, so if I think I need to stop procrastinating, I’m saying I need to take action.

The thought that I need to work smarter was still about taking some kind of action that would magically allow me to be more productive and accomplish a bunch more stuff on my To Do list.

My point is the typical approach to feeling overwhelmed involves taking action. Many of us believe action is the way through and out of overwhelm.

So there I was going along with my To Do list…adding things to it, marking things off, trying to manage it better, trying to manage time better, trying to manage myself better.

I frequently felt overwhelm and blamed too much to do and not enough hours in the day. I very frequently felt the gap between where I stood and all that seemed possible “over there” if I could just be more productive or differently productive.

Back then I always thought the answer was to get stuff done. To get more done. To finally get it done. I had this belief that if I could ever get it all done, finally get “caught up”—whatever that meant—I would feel better. I would no longer feel overwhelmed.

Back then, I probably thought the opposite of overwhelm was a To Do list with everything marked off.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually did get a lot done back them. While my To Do list was long, most days I marked off a lot. But there was always more to add and there was always stuff left undone.

This cycle of action I needed to take and planned to take was ever-present.

Everything I planned to get done and getting stuff done was really a guiding force in my life.

While at times it felt great to do and to accomplish, there was a persistent, nagging, draining thread of overwhelm that ran through most days.

Then, in the midst of my To Do list life, I thankfully rediscovered Law of Attraction.

And I quickly discovered two things:

  1. If wanted to manifest with ease, I could no longer tolerate feeling overwhelmed so much of the time.
  2. My understanding of overwhelm was all wrong.

Let’s start with that second one about my understanding of overwhelm being all wrong. Or perhaps a better way to say it is: My belief that overwhelm was because I had too much to do and needed to take more action was wrong.

“The feeling of overwhelm always means the same thing: You are too heavy on the action and not heavy enough on the alignment of Energy.” —Abraham

What the what?! Too heavy on the action? Wait a minute—I thought the way to get rid of overwhelm was to get things done, to take action. To finally mark everything off my To Do list. To get caught up.

But that’s not what Abraham says.

Abraham is shifting the focus away from digging in and getting stuff done on that To Do list. In fact, Abraham is shifting the focus away from action altogether.

  • The feeling of overwhelm means you’re not in alignment.
  • The feeling of overwhelm is an issue with your energy.

The first time I heard that, something sort of cracked open for me. I felt the deep resonance of what Abraham was saying even as it was contrary to everything I had thought and believed, and how I had behaved up until that time.

Still, something about that new definition resonated. It opened up so much possibility. It offered me a different way of showing up. It most certainly offered me a different way to look at my To Do list and all that action I’d been taking or trying to take.

I had a strong sense—really a knowing—that finding a solution to my overwhelm would be key to manifesting more easily.

“A feeling of being overwhelmed is your indicator that you are denying yourself access to all manner of cooperation that could assist you if you were not disallowing them. As you begin to feel freer regarding the expenditure of time and money, doors will open, people will come to assist you, refreshing and productive ideas will occur to you, and circumstances and events will unfold. As you change the way you feel, you access the Energy that creates worlds. It is there for your ready access at all times.” —Abraham

Let’s unpack this wisdom.

We could say any negative emotion is an indication of something you want to pay attention to. Too many of us, though, have been feeling overwhelm, and simply thinking, It’s just the way it is. We haven’t been paying attention to the message of our overwhelm.

That feeling of overwhelm is a signal that you are disallowing, you are resisting. You are denying yourself all manner of cooperation that could assist you.

What does that really mean—all manner of cooperation?

Well, it’s really and truly all manner of help and assistance and support and guidance. It’s all manner of the perfect timing. It’s all manner of the right people coming along at just the right time. It’s all manner of resources. It’s all manner of ideas. It’s circumstances lining up for you and events unfolding just as you desire or even better than you could have imagined.

Abraham refers to all manner of cooperation as being the Energy that creates worlds. That sounds pretty good, right?

Wouldn’t you like some of that Energy that creates worlds supporting you and what you want? Would’t it be nice to have access to all those cooperative components?

Well, you can. You absolutely can.

It is there for you. But the pathway to it is not the feeling of overwhelm. Overwhelm is a vibrational block to these cooperative components.

The pathway to this Energy that creates worlds is freedom and ease, empowerment and appreciation, positive expectation and happiness. Quite simply, the pathway to all manner of cooperation is feeling good.

Overwhelment appears at #11 of 22 on the emotional scale.

Right in the middle of the scale, below frustration and above disappointment. Overwhelment is a gunky emotion, and one that’s easy to get mired in. The longer you stay in an emotional state of overwhelm, the easier it becomes to stay overwhelmed.

Don’t accept feeling overwhelmed as a fact of life. Overwhelm is not quote-unquote “just the way it is”. While overwhelm may be the way it’s been, it most certainly is not the way it has to be going forward.

You have a choice about your relationship with overwhelment. It doesn’t matter what your past experience has been. It matters what you choose to think and believe today.

My own relationship with overwhelm has changed dramatically since my obsession with all things Law of Attraction.

These days overwhelment is an emotion I rarely experience.

This shift happened because I now believe overwhelm is a sign I’m being too heavy on action and too light on alignment. So the answer is to focus on my alignment. Rather than prioritize my To Do list or buckle down and take a bunch of action to get things done, my first and most important task is to get in alignment.

I invite you to see overwhelm differently.

If you are someone who has felt overwhelmed and blamed your To Do list or your time management skills, who has blamed the season of life you are in with young kids or elderly parents, who has blamed procrastination or disorganization, I invite you to see overwhelm differently.

Overwhelm is a sign that you are putting action before alignment. And so I invite you to flip that around. Put your alignment first. Put alignment before any and all action you take. And enjoy the experience of leaving overwhelm in the rearview mirror.