If you are freaking out right now because Thanksgiving is looming (with Christmas right on its heels)and the guest bedroom is still messy or you can’t find truffle oil for the appetizers anywhere or your local market is completely out of your favorite red wine or your not quite sure where all the money is going to come from… you need to stop losing your mind and go out of your head.
“Going out of your head” is a three step process to help you stop the stress, worry, fear and anxiety dead in its tracks.
Step One – Recognize that you are making yourself crazy.
Do you hear that voice in your head? The one that is on the verge of hysteria (or maybe a little past the verge?). That is your voice.
It may seem like your mother-in-law’s voice or your judgemental neighbor’s but the truth is, there is no one in there but you. YOU are making yourself crazy trying to do… whatever it is that you are doing.
I don’t say that to belittle what you are doing. Whether you are freaking out about creating a clean, attractive, comfortable space for guests who are important to you or about buying the Thanksgiving food AND trying to find the rent money this week, your problems are real. It is not my place to say that this problem is more valid than that one. If it is real to you, it is real.
You are not going to solve anything by getting yourself so upset that you end up curled into the fetal position on your pantry floor, sucking your thumb and humming to the can of French-cut green beans you just named “Jacques.”
Tell the voice in your head (AKA – your voice) to simmer down.
Chances are, it won’t listen right away.
That’s where step two comes in.
Step two – Do something, for someone else, in direct opposition to your problem.
I may have not phrased that well. What do you expect from me? It’s not like I’m a writer or anything. Oh, wait….
What I mean to say is this: If you are worried about money you need to go to give something away. If it honestly (and you do need to be honest with yourself here. I’m not talking about giving out of your excess. I’m talking about giving from your heart.) can’t be cash, give some time. Or a bit of your talent as a cook, writer, care-giver, driver, painter, crafter or… whatever.
If you are folding laundry through tears because you know it will never get done in time, push it into the laundry room, close the door, and go fold laundry for the single mother of 4 that lives down the street.
If you are pulling your hair out over making the loveliest desserts, ask the soup kitchen down town if you can come chop veggies for 2 hours.
If you are sick to your stomach because you can’t possibly get all of your shopping done, call the oldest (or sickest or busiest) person you know and ask if you can make a grocery store run for them.
This seems counter-intuitive, I know. It’s hard to do. It goes against everything in you, when you feel like you don’t have enough (time/money/talent/etc) to give away a portion of what you do have but something miraculous will happen if you do this!
Either A) you will be so wildly, massively, beautifully blessed by the experience of giving that the original problem will stop seeming so important. It’s the old adage about “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
Or B) you will find that something miraculously happens. Call it Karma or The Law of Reciprocation or whatever you like but, when you give good things, there is a tendency for good things to come back to you. I could never list for you all the times that I’ve seen this in our lives. We give money and get an unexpected check in the mail. We give of our time and someone offers to watch my kids so I can get my own work done faster. It doesn’t happen every time, but it happens.
Or C) you will get so far behind that you will realize you simply are not going to be able to do everything and be everything and have everything and you will let it go. And there is unbelievable freedom in that.
If you’re really lucky you get D) all of the above.
Then it’s time for step three.
Step three – Come back and tackle your problem, renewed. Or don’t. You have a choice, you know.
At this point you’ll be feeling much better. “Jacques” will be back on the shelf next to the cranberry sauce that will always remain in the shape of the can no matter what you do to it, and you can now face the issue at hand in a calm, cool, collected manner.
Because you are now clear-headed you will work faster and smarter and you will be able to conquer that mole hill that was starting to look so very mountainous.
Maybe you’ll just get on a different path, go around the hill, and decide that the dust bunnies under the guest room bed and that little film of soap scum on the shower door are just going to need to stay there. The pie may come out burnt around the edges and you might have to skip the fourth side dish and the fancy bottle of wine to be able to have enough money to pay that electric bill that’s haunting you. And if the guests, whom you love enough to invite into your home, shelter, feed and entertain, aren’t OK with that… well… that’s not your problem to be upset about.
So… before you lose your mind, go out of your head and into your heart and remember:
This is a season for giving thanks for all that we have. And there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. (A list of 100 things, if you need some ideas)
A little note, before I go… this post was inspired by a Facebook Post from The Missing Niche. You should check out her great blog! She got out of her head this week and found herself wildly blessed and I want her know that she blessed me too when she told the tale of 3 turkeys and a helpful cashier. How can you not love a story that ends like this:
“Here we go, I am cry-laughing right now because 3 families have turkeys now, laughing because 3 families have turkeys right now and I got them at half price. What has happened to me?!”
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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