Sooner or later, an appointment will be forgotten. Dishes will stack. Good food will go bad.
It happens to all of us—especially when we’ve got a lot on our plates. The more we add, the harder it is to manage, and inevitably, a ball gets dropped or something (or someone) gets neglected.
I’ve dropped my fair share of balls in my day.
Here’s a recent example.
There are a lot of big changes happening in my life right now. I’ve been searching for a new home, getting ready to move, and preparing for a trip—at the same time as launching a new program. I was handling things pretty well for a while, but then I started getting calls about a car I posted for sale a few weeks ago. As my teacher Dr. Liu says, “It was the last straw for the camel.”
The next thing I knew, I was forgetting to return phone calls, showing up late, and I felt like I was two steps behind myself. This was not only exhausting and overwhelming, but I was letting other people down in the process.
You know that hot, heavy, cringy feeling that washes over when you’re unable to follow through with your plans? It feels terribly uncomfortable, but it’s also a gift. Your body and heart are trying to tell you that your output and your income are out-of-balance.
It’s time to recalculate.
Manage your resources
In Chinese medicine, we define the word “integrity” in a couple of different ways. One way refers to strong principles and doing the “right” thing. The other version (which is the focus on this post) specifically relates to walking your talk or doing what you say you’re going to do. This is an aspect of a healthy Earth Element.
In order to have this kind of integrity, we need to be in touch with our resources.
In other words, how much time, energy, or wherewithal do you have to work with? Do you feel fruitful and energized and ready to take on the world? Or are you spread thin and exhausted, relying on caffeine and adrenalin to get through the day?
It’s no different than managing your finances—in fact, money is another important resource to consider. For example, a beach house in the Hamptons may not be practical if you’re making minimum wage. Neither would a day full of demanding tasks when you’re already out of steam.
This is not a time for self-judgment. It’s a time for collecting information to help you assess the feasibility of your plans—before you commit.
So how do you go from a scattered tizzy to walking your talk?
Be honest with yourself
Sometimes life is just plain busy and things fall apart. But oftentimes, this kind of overload is a habit that we’ve created without even realizing it.
For instance, there’s not a whole lot I can do about having to move in a month. We’ve been housesitting, and I don’t think the owners would appreciate it if we’re still hanging around when they get back from Mexico. Just a hunch. And my new consultation series is not only manageable but it’s also healing and rejuvenating, so that’s not going anywhere. But if I’m totally honest with myself, there were a LOT of things (big and small) that don’t need to get done right now—despite how important they feel in my mind.
That’s where it can get tricky.
Your mind will give you all kinds of very rational reasons why you should keep doing one more thing. That’s why it’s so important to drop deeper down into your heart and belly—which know far better what is realistic and healthy.
Give yourself some time to do this. Silence your phone. Close your eyes. Maybe put a hand on your heart or belly. Prepare to get very real with yourself.
Check your list
Once you’ve created a little calm in the storm, take another look at your list. If you don’t have one already written, write down all the things you’ve been trying to accomplish lately.
For every item on your list, ask yourself the following questions…
I used this exercise during my own recent tizzy, and I immediately felt calmer and more relaxed. I cleared a lot from my list. I started saying “no” more confidently and open-heartedly. I was more conscious of the time. Everything seems to flow more naturally.
Remember, this isn’t just about doing less. It’s about reconnecting with the part of you that knows what you can healthfully commit to. Being more conscious and honest about this will not only make your day more manageable, but you’ll feel a whole lot more grounded, energized, and happy.
And that’s better for everyone.
Have you dropped any balls lately? If so, what’s one thing you can do (or not do) to manage your day a little easier? Please share in the comments below!
And if you need more help getting in touch with your resources, check out my new program, Healing the Earth Element. Let’s walk our talk together.
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I’m an acupuncturist and Eastern medicine practitioner, specializing in digestive health. When I’m not teaching or writing, I’m most likely growing vegetables, plunking my banjo, or making an impressive mess in the kitchen. Learn more…