Just a few moments ago, I realized that my inbox is creeping up toward 1,000 messages (again). Unsorted. Many unread. I recognize that I’ve unsubscribed myself from a number of blogs and newsletters to try and stop this behavior (confession: I’ve added others). I wanted to get in the habit of reading my emails, responding as needed, then filing or deleting.
Best laid plans.I don’t recall when I had it down to 25-ish in my inbox. But, it’s ballooned back up, and I wonder what I want to do about it. I think about going through all of it, sorting and deciding, and reading…. wondering where the time to do that will come. I think about most mornings, when I get up, see my emails, and click on “read,” simply so I don’t see the looming red dot by my Email app. And yet, it just exacerbates the problem.
While we’re at it, can we also talk about how out of control my tabs in my phone’s browser are? I started an email to myself listing some of the URLs, because I have amazing friends who post really interesting things, and, confession: I don’t always take the time out of my FB scrolling to read the article in depth. So I push it out to my web browser for later reading that never comes.
And, to keep the ball rolling, there are also the amazing blogs I used to follow and stopped around the time that Google Reader left us (RIP Google Reader). And I really want to start reading (and commenting) on blogs again. But, there’s a part of me that feels I need to read from when I stopped (in June/July) through now. (And, I’m still looking for a RSS feed that works for me.)
enter really deep breath here
Confession: I see how all of doing, list making, piling on all the shoulds and that must-dos makes me anxious.
Confession: I see how I hold tightly to the expectations I have for myself of what MUST be done and what makes me “good person.” (As though somehow, all of this – and the ability to complete it all – is tied to my self-worth.)
Confession: I’ve run myself ragged in my life playing by these rules and by these expectations. And the anxiety keeps me in a place of shame, guilt, and feeling tired all of the time. (All that anxiety revs up our body’s flight-or-fight responses and keeps one on high alert.)
another deep breath
Reality: I only have so many hours in a day. Amidst that, I have to ask myself what is humanly possible? (Confession: I often have to reframe it to say what would I tell a friend if s/he saw my own list of to dos and what would I say.)
Reality: I needn’t do it all, right now. I needn’t be perfect. I needn’t be everywhere. I am able to engage and withdraw as I need to – because there are a lot of other reality factors I need to consider.
Reality: Whether I post, comment, read… none of that is tied to my self-worth as a human being.
Confession: I sometimes have a hard time believing that last reality for myself.
deep breath… let it out…
Today, I will accept where I am.
I will allow myself to have a growing inbox and a huge list of blog posts to read and multiple browser tabs open of things that caught my interest.
I will allow myself curiosity and not berate myself for unfinishedness.
I will breathe into the places that scream for space.
I will breathe into the parts of myself that continually play the “must-should-DO-IT” tape.
I will allow reality and heart guide me.
What is your go-to response when you’re feeling overwhelmed?