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This Sense-ational Life {overwhelm}

sensational

This Sense-ational Life is a blogging series that explores the senses as a way of cultivating a more mindful, connected life.  This week’s post features guest blogger Jessica Brogen of In Search of Dessert ~ A Metaphor for a Transformed Life.  

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Sense of Overwhelm

Greetings fellow creative spirits! I’m so happy to be blogging to you today from my friend Rachél Payne’s fantastic site. Of course, if you’ve been following along, you already know that Rachél has chosen 2013 to be the year of discovering, encouraging and exploring our senses. When I first heard Rachél’s call for blog posts around the “Senses” and a “Sensational Life,” I have to admit, my left brain immediately piped up: “Well then she’ll only be able to run this for 6 weeks!” My left brain was thinking only of the five main senses + the fabled “sixth sense.”

DSC_0354Image by Jessica Brogen

I appreciate my left brain, I really do, but I have a creative right-brain just like you, and I knew this was one of those situations in which I needed to call upon my creativity. Actually, I asked it to intercede and help me think “outside the box.”

For the next 4 weeks I diligently went about reminding my right-brain to come up with a thought-provoking and entertaining sense-related subject for this blog series. I reminded it…and reminded it…and reminded it.  Meanwhile, the holidays showed up, in all their hustle and bustle. There was a 3,000 mile roadtrip taken, boyfriend’s family met, and not a day spent without numerous people and pets. Upon entering the New Year, we acquired the recent flu bug, which lingered just around a week. Just as it was tapering off, my boyfriend and I walked into an apartment complex and nervously, but of course excitedly, applied for a bigger apartment – one that we would live in together…with both of our children. Since then, there have been boxes to pack, items to purge, a home to scour and oh, a six week old puppy to train.

Just this morning, in between carting oversized Tupperware bins of belongings out into the garage, answering emails about my coaching services and attempting to keep the dog from biting my small boy square on the you-know-what, I happened to ask myself: “Come up with anything for Rachél’s Blog Series yet?”

DSC_0389Image by Jessica Brogen

I laughed out loud.

So  I answered myself (You do this too, right?): “Uhh, no. Who has time to write blog posts? And just what do you think I’m feeling that I could write about?!”

My inner voice replied: “I feel OVERWHELMED, how ‘bout you?”

And my other voice went to snap back something witty about how Overwhelm was no type of sense, and how I wasn’t in the mood for feeling guilty that I still hadn’t written this blog post, when suddenly I stopped in my tracks.

“Hmm”, I thought, “maybe overwhelm is a sense!”

DSC_0924Image by Jessica Brogen

The more I mused on it, the more convinced I became that we actually have a sensory perception geared towards Overwhelm. At least we should. If we didn’t, there’d be nothing to stop us from piling on one thing after another into our lives! Unfortunately, much like how we acclimate to antibiotics, or the taste of salt in our food, we as a culture have also acclimated to our own sense of overwhelm, to the point that some of us are able to continue piling it on, ignoring the warning signs, until we crack (either physically, mentally, or both). We are often carrying out our daily lives dangerously unaware of how overwhelmed we are, while behind the scenes, realized or not, that stress is wreaking havoc on our health.

So if we’re inured to our body’s natural sensory alarms that should tell us we’re overwhelmed, how can we determine if we are in fact seriously overwhelmed?

Aren’t sure how Overwhelmed you really are? Okay, ask the Big Five:

  • Are you tasting the food that you put in your mouth or are you shoveling food in, while simultaneously doing some other activity.
  • Are you hearing what people are really saying to you or are you anticipating their needs, possibly unaware of what they’re really trying to say, and not genuinely communicating?
  • Are you aware of the smells in your environment (or that you may smell like you haven’t taken the time to shower in the last three days!)? What’s the last smell you purposely introduced into your life?
  • Are you being touched by other human beings?
  • Are you seeing the Big Picture, or just trying to jump from one to-do to the next?
  • Bonus Question 1: Are you sleeping well? 
  • Bonus Question 2: Do you know what really matters in life? Are the things on your to-do list that you’re aggressively trying to check off the same things on your “what really matters” list?

DSC_0935Image by Jessica Brogen

Okay, did you answer these questions? Truthfully? Doing so may sting a little. We may discover that we are not even engaging our natural main senses in our daily life anymore. If that is the case, what else are we losing? It’s a scary thought. If you’re like me, the last question really got you! I know that when I’ve been blessed with a moment of serenity (it’s usually unplanned), the happiness rush I feel when I am calm + engaging my senses gives me a wake-up call, and I immediately want to re-evaluate my daily life activities.

The under-use or down-right absence of our main senses is significant and immediately tells us that our life has become overwhelmed, and potentially focused on things that do not necessarily matter nor nourish our souls. It may be scary to realize, but at least we become aware. And of course, awareness is the first step in undoing any problem. In this case, awareness is the first step in reengaging your senses, slowing down and enjoying your daily life. Anytime you begin to feel you might be doing too much, take a quick evaluation of your senses, and they’ll tell you exactly what you need to know!

To your peace,
Jessica Brogan

Jessica_Brogen

 

Jessica is a writer, painter, and coach to women with creative drive who are seeking help with overwhelm. She is currently running the third round of the Inspirational Card Deck Swap – a popular International Artist’s Swap.  Click here to get your card deck of 52 unique pieces of art from women artists around the world.

And would love to connect with you at: http://www.facebook.com/jessicaleighbrogan
Feeling inspired by Jessica’s post about a Sense of Overwhelm?  Join the conversation!  Write your own post in response to this one, include a link to this post in it, and drop the link in the linky widget below. Let’s connect!

 

Full Moon Mindfulness

Body Wisdom Project

A few weeks ago, at the dark of the moon to be exact, I began a personal exploration of my relationship with my body.  I am approaching this journey with my friend, Jessica.  We call it the Body Wisdom Project.  Our intention during this moon cycle is to LISTEN.

It seems like a no brainer; LISTEN to the body.  But how often do we do it?  How often do we get quiet enough to tune out the world and  its messages and messiness, and tune into the body’s subtle whispers.  How often do we follow the body’s advice?  How often do we honor the wisdom it offers?

The Body Wisdom Project puts LISTENING at the center of what I value during the day.

Full Moon in Trees

Connecting the Body Wisdom Project with the cycle of the moon has helped me connect more deeply with my body.  Towards the end of 2012 I offered a moon wisdoms e-course called Touch the Moon.  The course helped me amplify my awareness of the moon, its rhythms, and meanings.  As I have watched the moon these past couple of weeks since the Body Wisdom Project began, the connection with my body has grown more intense.  Something has shifted.

I began at the dark of the moon, when the moon was void of all light, and have continued to allow my connection to grow as the light of the moon has.  The moon has become an outward reminder of an inward journey.

Where the journey has taken me…

In the first couple of days as I listened, I became aware of some of the aches and pains in my body.  The most prevalent one being a pain I have had in my neck for nearly 6 months.  I asked what the neck needed. I discovered that it is very tense. I often tighten it for no reason. And so as I listened more and became aware of the tension, I would send my breath to the muscle and invite it to release.  This has been very helpful and has brought me some relief.

Water Angel PS

I also heard my body telling me it was thirsty and starving.  These surprised me to some degree.  When I asked what it was starving for, I discovered that I need more greens and root vegetables.  That is how I fell in love with brussel sprouts.

This week, I began hearing that my body wanted to move….more specifically, to dance. I reached out to a friend and on Friday we met at my house to dance to Gabrielle Roth’s Inner Wave.  Gabrielle’s dance is spiritual, mindful, meditative. It didn’t take long for me to find myself in a sort of communion with my body, tenderly moving it to its own rhythms, taking on the shapes that gave meaning to what it needed to express.  Expressions like….relief that I was willing to honor it with this delicate movement, grief over the messages it receives from the world, delight at the memories of dances past, hope from more dancing in the future, dreams of bringing moving meditation to others.  All that wrapped up in the nuance of a flit of the hip, a carefully placed step, breath pulled in and guided out, heat across the brow, a growing joy in my spirit.

With the arrival of the full moon on Saturday, I payed special attention to the body.  I LISTENED.  And heard….rest.  And so these last couple of days, I have given myself rest as the body has needed it, letting go of any notions that I need to get more done.  The body says rest.  And I am trusting that the rest will be just what I need.

Join Jessica and me in LISTENING.  Let’s start a movement.  A gentle, loving movement.

Rachel_Payne

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