Although it's supposed to be a quiet and comtemplative time the weeks before Christmas can be experienced as extremely stressfull. Everyone is so busy, one appointment after the other, the presents are still to be bought and nicely wrapped up. But now and again there are some people who radiate peace and seem not to be affected by all the hustling around them. Why? What's there secret? Just not so much to do?

Most of them still have a packed to-do-list. The reason is the difference between overload and overwhelm. And what's exactly the difference? Let me explain this way: Imagine a trailer you want to transport sand with. The trailer can load 500kg but you want to carry 1000kg. If you put everything on the trailer in one go it might break because it is overloaded. It's just more than he can objectively handle. Nothing about personal view on things. Just plain physics. And overwhelmed? If the same trailer would be looking at the hill of 500kg sand and would says: "OMG - look at that huge amount of sand! How am I supposed to carry all that. What are people thinking? Why always me...?" I guess you get the point ;-)

What can you do? First check if you are actually overloaded meaning there are just too many things to do in the amount of time given. Or check if you make a mountain out of a molehill. If the first is the case: prioritize and delegate. If the second is the case - stop moaning. No seriously - I know it really can look like it is too much. So be honest with yourself. And most of the time it really just looks like. And if you stop wasting your energy talking and thinking about the stuff you have to do and just start doing them it doesn't take long before you feel better. Because the hill gets smaller, you automatically feel better when you actually do something and because you just think less :-)

I'm a big fan of adressing things on several levels to be able to work on multiple causes at the same time. Last time I went to see my Chiropractor she asked me to watch my shoulders during meditation. I tend to pull them up and my wholer upper body was closed down because of that. Which meant I wasn't able to breath as deeply as I should be able to. I followed her advice and also during the day I realised how again my shoulders were up to my ears. Sometimes only a bit, sometimes more. Suddenly it dawned on me why I was doing it. I used to feel quite unprotected and unsafe and that was I way to make myself feel safer. The thing is - I don't feel unsafe any more. Quite the opposite indeed. But it looks like my body is still locked in this behaviour because it has be become "normal" to me. Another thing is - when my shoulders are in this position I tend to feel a bit more uncomfortable. I watch it and it doesn't affect me but still there is something going on. It's easy to see why - the body and mind are connected. So if my body signals "unsafe" there tend to be more "unsafe thoughts" in my mind. These kind of thought patterns are activated more easy. The actually did a study where participants had to hold a pencil with their teeth or with their lips. The one holding it with their teetch (which looks a bit like smiling) rated a comic book more funny than the other group. Interesting, isn't it?

So what does that tell me? I'll pay more attention to my body posture. It's easier to not make up certain feelings and impressions than to deal with them. So: shoulders down, corner of mouth up and cut capers! ;-)

This morning I had an insight. Suddenly and totally unexpected. And I have no idea why. And also I have no idea why I didn't see that before. You know - all the time I knew that it was just a thought bugging me. But it felt so real! What happened? We have two cats and one of them needs medication twice a day. She is having problems with her thyroid. In the morning it's my turn to make sure she takes the pill. In the evening it's my husband's turn. And just in case you don't know what it means to have to give a cat a pill read this (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC372253/). Luckily our cat isn't that bad. You just have to hide the pill inside some treats and she takes it. Just sometimes she somehow manages to spit it out when my husband is trying to give it to her. And the next morning when I find the pill lying somewhere I get really upset about it. Because the cat needs the pill.

So this morning when just giving her the treats I suddenly think: "It's really no big deal if she doesn't swallow the stupid pill one time. Why are you so upset about it?" And it really isn't a big deal. The cat was very happy without the pills for several weeks before we realized something was wrong with her. It didn't kill her instantly. She is just very slim now. I realized that I myself was making it a big deal. Not my husband, not my cat. Just me believing the thoughts. And than I wondered how it was possible that I didn't see that before. And herein lies the magic...

You can only see what you see at the time you see it. And as long as you don't see - there is no use in beating yourself up. For whatever reason in that particular moment I was open for a new thought. Rally open and I really got it. Not just theorie but really, really got it. The point is - you can't make yourself see something. It just happens. The only thing you can do is stay open. Look in the direction and hopefully the day will come that you see. And until that day - just be kind to yourself.

In one of my last coaching session we came across a wonderfull example how we create the world with our thoughts. How we see other people especially our partner. And how the objective identical behaviour leads to different judgements in different situations.

The objective behaviour could be "being calm, doing everything at their own pace". Depending on the situation we encounter this behaviour will be judged as either "deeply relaxed, giving me strenght" oder "slow, annoying". The thing is - the other person is doing exactly the same as he is always doing. He just is himself and lives his life at his own pace. What's the difference? The thoughts! The thoughts and the feelings that arise from those thoughts. You might think something like "wow, he is so calm although around him there's just chaos. that really helps me to stay calmer too". Or you might think "WTF is wrong with him? Can't he just hurry up once? I really want to go now or I will be late!" You see - it's all about what is going on in our heads. And not about what the other person is doing as the way he is doing things hasn't changed. One time we judge it as good the other as bad. But it's just made up. Nothing of that is happening. What is happening is just happening. Nothing else...

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