resisting overwhelm and the temptation to speed up

what i am about to say is most definitely for my own sake and memory. it may also be beneficial to you.

yesterday, i had a lovely virtual tea/walk to different parts of the same river with ora grodsky (author of where does it hurt). of the many things we talked about in our 55m convo, these two have stuck with me.

the overwhelm of this moment is on purpose

my definition of “on purpose” is not the colloquial definition. when i use that phrase, i mean it more aligned with the way i hear it from the generative somatics community. to be “on purpose” means to be in acting in alignment with your intentions and goals. so when i say the overwhelm of this moment is “on purpose” i don’t mean that there are people over there, at some far removed levels of power intentionally creating overwhelm. of course, that might also be happening, but it’s not what i’m talking about.

i’m talking about the fact that this moment of american history being overwhelming is alignment with what america actually is. america has never been a place that works for all the people here. one of the ways that dysfunction is maintained (as it is maintained in really any economic system that is too big and out of alignment with life) is by spreading attention so thin in so many directions that concerted effort can’t be applied to shift the things that matter most.

one reaction to overwhelm is to speed up

“the temptation to speed up is so seductive.” — ora grodsky

ora said that and it kind of blew my mind. it SO true. the seduction is real. it is SO so tantalizing to just do more things in reaction to overwhelm. adding more meetings, trying to care about and for more people, issues, causes, places, etc. it’s all there. our news media infrastructure definitely encourages that pattern.

we must resist overwhelm and speeding up

what seems to be true to me is that it is actually resisting that overwhelm and acceleration of activity that is what will get us out of this situation. speeding up is an unconscious reaction and is how systems keep us burnt out, distracted, deeply desiring numbing (which is an easily capitalized on desire) instead of deeply desiring presence with ourselves, each other, and the planet. when we respond to overwhelm with slowing down, we get clear about what and who matters. it is how we realize all the ways we are systematically being distracted so that we can dig in where we need to. another friend (hi rae) said yesterday in a meeting that the fact that everything is changing so quickly on a daily basis is forcing folks she works with to answer the questions: who are we and what do we best? because trying to do too much really isn’t workable when you have to replan everything every time a major shift occurs (which seems to be constantly these days).

i think our capacity to get through the rest of 2020 well depends on our capacity to resist overwhelm.

it’s not looking good, tbh, but i have hope that whatever happens is what needed to happen.


words / writing / post-processing
559w / 12min / 5min