It has happened to me more then once recently. I know when it's coming, too. Before, I never knew how burdened I was until I got down sick. Sick and tired, and then I got angry because I was sick and tired. Now when I'm coming to a breaking point because of juggling all the things I need to do within a day, I feel the tears behind my eyes getting hot. So I stop, I let everything drop, and I cry. Stop, drop, and cry. That's my survival skill.
There is something miraculous about crying. Something magical happens when you just let everything go. It's not giving up, it's giving over to the moment, because you see, sometimes the moment knows better then you do what needs to be done. And stopping, dropping the "to do" list, and releasing the burdens through your tears is many times your best and healthiest option. Those closest to us never like to see this either. It's not for the weak at heart, or for the "fair weather" friend to see. It takes strength to cry. And a box of Kleenex.
I cried last week. I sat on my couch and cried from deep down within me. It was the kind of cry every overburdened mother knows. Throw in a hefty dose of single motherhood, and you've got a recipe for a cleansing cry that will release endorphins you didn't even know you had. Then you feel better. Then you get yourself up, you make some tea, and set about the business of reviewing and revamping your life. And for many of us, this will be the umpteenth time to do so. But not to worry.
Just do it.
Get ruthless. Make a list of all the "stuff" you need to do within a week, and then cross out half of it. Say "no" to the extra things you willingly took on, call those you promised to lend a hand to and tell them, "I'm terribly sorry, but you see if I follow through and make all those cupcakes for the class party, on top of the project I took on for my church, (neighbor, best friend, spouse, family, community, whatever), I will have a nervous breakdown and scare the living hell out of my child, let alone all my cats, and I don't look too pretty when when I lose it". Or, something else along those lines that would be less dramatic. Be diplomatic, but be honest. Something like, "I believe I have overextended myself and I must bow out of assisting you this time around", might be better then spewing what is really on your mind.
Then let it go. No guilt allowed. There is no virtue in being a multi-tasker. There is no honor in "playing the room" and giving people what they want from us. But there is great strength in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, open, honest. And there is great self-love in saying, "No".
I offended a lot of people last week by saying "No". Be prepared for this. Get a tougher skin and let whoever would make you feel bad about your decisions own their own feelings. This is not selfish. There are times in our lives when we have to focus on ourselves, our own home, our own needs and wants. I have crafted a whole new weekly schedule for me and mine. I have simplified my life (again), and I have narrowed my intentions onto just a few necessary tasks. The world will be forever tugging at our sleeve. People will be forever thinking you can take on just one more thing. But, look around you. Is your home suffering? Are your children missing the time you used to spend with them? Are you falling into bed at night at 12:30am because you had to stay up that late just to accomplish the tasks necessary so your home can run smoothly? Have you been able to simply enjoy your home lately? No? Well then, get ruthless and cut out the superfluous "stuff" of your life.
"But I can't do this! I can't upset my friends or family"!
They'll get over it. Stick to your intention to simplify your life. Get far from the "madding crowd" and ask yourself what you truly need. And if it's nap, then take one. Then get on with the business of streamlining the things that have made you crazy. You're worth it. And it beats the alternative, babe.
Don't end up getting down and sick and angry. Cut it off at the pass. Put yourself first, for once. This is spiritual maturity. This is wisdom. This will be supported by the Universe, and once you re-prioritize and get serious about restoring sanity to your daily round, you will find an ease and grace return to your days. And if you're not familiar with these companions, you're in for a treat. You'll wonder why you waited so long to honor your needs.
And get out into nature. Let nature heal you, let it show you how to stay within the season of your life. Watch how nature tends to itself without much effort. Watch a tree blow in the wind, watch the branches bend without breaking. Just watch, observe and ask for inspiration. But first you may need to cry...
And that's okay. It's the beginning of strength.
Until next time...blessings upon your weary heart