By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(March 15, 2013)
I woke up one morning last August, my mind racing with projects that called to me for completion. The biggest one involved the prolific peach tree in our backyard. Hundreds of ripe peaches awaited my knife and freezer bags.
Normally my husband, Steve, and I partner in this annual venture of peach harvesting. However, Steve had plans to leave for Japan early the next morning to lead a tour (see www.adventuresinjapan.com). This tour had come up suddenly, so he had his own overwhelm to deal with.
That left me to handle the peaches by myself. In addition, I had several projects in the works for my coaching business, all of which take time and planning.
In the face of so much to do, I woke up that particular morning, and the tasks seemed daunting. My mind dashed madly from one thing to the next, whipping up a froth of frenzy. Do this; no, do this. No! Do this! If you don’t hurry, it won’t all get done!
Since I didn’t know what to tackle first, I stopped. I chose to do nothing. I sat on the couch, closed my eyes, and focused on… nothing. I let go of all thinking (as best I could) and let myself float in silence. I determined that I would sit there until I had calmness and clarity.
After a short time, the mind’s chatter slowed down and a sense of relaxation settled over me. In that quiet space, I began to see how Life wanted to move through me to accomplish the tasks that needed my attention.
In the silence, a plan began to form: do this first, then this. Forget about that for a while. Focus on one thing at a time. Trust that there is enough time to accomplish, with ease, everything that needs to get done.
I felt a sense of relief. I didn’t have to do everything at once. I could avoid the craze and agitation of constantly thinking ahead to all that I must do. In fact, when I am present to one task at a time, I’m much more efficient and actually accomplish more than when I rush so I can get to the next thing.
I arose from the couch with the calmness and clarity I had sought.
The lesson? When you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, take the counter-intuitive action. Be still. Do nothing. When ideas for actions start to flow out of the stillness, then is the time to move. If you take action before that, you will likely spin your wheels.
Strange, isn’t it? Do nothing when you feel driven and overwhelmed? That goes against everything we’ve ever been taught. Yet a deep wisdom dwells within the stillness of doing nothing. Then, when you take action from that stillness, you do so more efficiently, and you avoid burnout.
I’m amazed and humbled by this experience and at the counter-intuitive adjustments necessary to live life in the Zone.