Last month I talked about Ambiguity, the fourth in my Five-Part series on our relationship with time,
how we respond to it in the forms it takes in our lives. This month let’s look at the final aspect in this series: what happens when you move successfully from Ambiguity into Novelty.
If Ambiguity is about having no focus or passion with too many options to choose from, Novelty is the state you reach when you choose what you want to focus on, and your passions get ignited to get them going. All of them. At once.
For example, you just came out of the post-holiday season, weathered the dark of Winter, and are seeing the beginnings of Spring – you’re pulled into the daytime sunshine and able to feel how warm it can be. It’s a novel feeling to have after the cold and short days.
When Novelty thaws us, we are able to focus on our passions again. You want to put your winter sweaters away, get the garden prepped for planting, start researching summer vacation spots. You’re
touring schools with your college-bound senior, taking on the long-put-off bathroom renovation, cleaning out the garage, starting an exercise program, reducing sugar from the family diet, planning the visit from your relatives, finishing up a huge project at work, hiring new staff…you get the picture.
Instead of your list looking daunting or insurmountable, you’re energized to get them ALL done NOW.
You feel productive, gain a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and pride as you complete your projects. You power through any exhaustion and that nagging frazzled-feeling because the powerful sense of showing up in the world can be intoxicating.
Are you there? If you’re not sure, listen to how you describe your days—do you say things like, ‘I’m
crazy-busy’ or ‘my life is insane’? Look for signs that you may be becoming overwhelmed, or anxious. Panic-attacks, storm-eating, and sleeplessness, over-indulging alcohol or recreational drugs, watching TV or Social Media for many hours a day, are just a few of the signals you may be too occupied to keep up the pace you’ve set for yourself.
What’s happening is a shift into over-drive where you are captive to the high energy and excitement of all the projects you have going on. And, while your creative surges are filling your tank in some aspects, they are also keeping you from self-calming, and unwinding which leads to anxiety and overwhelm.
Here are a few tools I use with my clients to help them self-regulate and move from Novelty into Still-
ness—(the point where we began this series).
Recognize one overwhelm pattern like staying on Facebook for hours a day:
Set an alarm and put your device down when it sounds. Stand up, move away from your device and shake your body – dance around – sing – walk outside for five minutes to break up the energy.
Practice relaxation techniques that are repetitive:
If you don’t have one, one of my favorites is box breathing. 4 counts breathe in, 4 counts hold, 4 counts breathe out, 4 counts hold. Repeat at least 3 times.
Welcome your empty mind:
When a thought keeps cycling without a resolution, stop and thank it, then let it know you will give it attention – record a day and time. Notice how your mind clears.