Have you ever had so many things coming at you, so much that needs to be done, that you just … stop?

Sometimes you’re not meant to power through that massive overwhelming mound of to-do immediately. Sometimes you’re meant to step back, wipe your brow, say “Wow … that’s a giant heaping pile of obligation!”, and then go do something else for awhile.

Brainfreeze happens when we take in too much, too fast. If you keep going after that point, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Our fear drives us forward, even when we know it’s time to take a break.

Letting go of that fear … whether it’s of not getting it all done, or what people will think if they see you take a break … is key to shifting your perspective. When I allow myself to walk away for awhile, I’m giving myself the gift of being able to look at that mountain of work with a clearer head, more objectivity and less panic when I return.

Looking at the things I must do through the eyes of love and gratitude beats the living heck out of letting fear give me brainfreeze.

–Image: khawkins04

Turning the Heel

SocksI recently discovered the addictive joys of knitting socks! After many false starts, I found a method that works for me (toe-up on two circs) and am part-way through the second sock of the pair. And although I knit every night before I go to bed, that poor half-done sock has been untouched for a week now.

Why? Because it’s time to turn the heel.

If you look at the bottom of a sock (go ahead, I’ll wait), you’ll see that the material on the sole of your foot is a pretty straight line. But to accommodate the curve of the heel, adjustments must be made so that the sock gets narrower, swoops around the back of your heel, and then widens and resumes its relatively straight course up your leg.

It’s a lot harder to knit a smooth curve than it is to just mindlessly go back and forth making rows in a straight line.

When I turned the heel on my first sock, it took me about two hours of fierce concentration to work my way through it. But I did produce a vaguely heel-like shape. And the finished sock looks more or less like a sock.

Now it’s time to turn the heel on the second sock, and I’m putting it off.

Recently, I was talking with a client about the difficult transition she was going through. She’d been laid off from a job which, although it wasn’t very exciting, didn’t require much of her. Kind of the equivalent of just knitting in a straight line.

Now, she was feeling pushed to change. Even as she balked at that, she realized that the old pattern of being wasn’t relevant … it didn’t serve her anymore.

Going through a major life change is a lot like turning the heel. We are required to slow down, concentrate, and be willing to make changes that can sometimes be uncomfortable. The end result may not be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. What matters is our ability to turn the heel … to expand or contract as needed, and then to go where we’re needed as elegantly as possible.

What I Learned From My Lint Screen

I’m the mom of two energetic boys, and that means I do laundry. A LOT of laundry. The steps to our basement laundry room get so much use they remind me of the ancient worn stone steps in cathedrals. Just think of the generations of pilgrims making their way up and down these steps hoping to get closer to God! And just think of me, cursing and dragging my overflowing basket up and down my steps to get closer to the washer.

Anyway, I went down a few minutes ago to pull clothes out of the dryer and put in a new batch. The lint screen on my dryer has been messed up since the first day I used it. The fabric seal that runs around the bottom edge of the lint screen keeps coming out of its track, and that means lint gets stuck on the fabric seal and in the little track. Every time I empty the dryer, I curse at the lint screen, give it a halfhearted cleanup, and then shove it back in the track. And every time I do that, the dryer flashes its “check lint screen” light at me to remind me that I didn’t do a very good job. So I curse the light, too.

But today when I was in the middle of jamming the half-cleaned fabric seal back into the track, it occurred to me I had a choice. I could choose to take an extra 15 seconds to clean the seal carefully and put it back in the track. Or I could continue in my old pattern with the predictable results (cursing and flashing lights).

The patterns we hold onto are like those worn stone steps. We move in our accustomed paths from day to day, often no longer noticing what we’re doing or why. One of the steps that can help us break the cycle of fear-based thinking is to become aware that we have a choice … in any moment, no matter how small … about what our next step will be, and about what our attitude is as we take that step. Learning to be present, to be aware of what we’re doing, can lead to greater clarity … and even lint-free clothing!

Allow Yourself Joy

Just got off the air (great show tonight, by the way!) and although it’s late, I wanted to jot this down before it got away from me.

We had a caller tonight who was feeling very down, very stuck. The clairvoyant image I had for him was that he was sitting in a chair with his head down … just feeling miserable and afraid. He’d had a job interview that went well, but the company hired someone else.

The guest reader tonight was master intuitive Susan Sloane, and she saw the caller surrounded by bicycles. “What does that mean?” she asked him.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about getting a bicycle because I have to get back in shape. But I don’t know …”

I jumped in and encouraged the caller to allow himself joy … to take action that will help him feel good. Not as a punishment because he didn’t get the job or is out of shape, but because he is allowed to do things that help him feel better! Whether that’s stepping outside and taking a deep breath of clean air, getting up out of the chair and making a phone call to a friend, taking a moment to center yourself and ask your guides and angels for help … just do it!

Allow yourself joy! Even when everything seems horrible, shifting your perspective away from punishing yourself makes a big difference in your ability to see opportunities when they arise.

Is Fear Holding You Back?

You know what I was afraid of? Creating this blog.

Late last night my family and I staggered off a plane after a long vacation. We came back home with FIVE suitcases full of dirty laundry, and I brought some extra baggage of my own.

See, I was supposed to be spending some of my vacation time putting stuff together for the new radio show launch in the fall, upcoming classes, continuing to write bits and pieces of the book I’m working on, creating a 30-second ad spot to air on Transformation Talk Radio … oh, and did I mention creating a blog for my website? And the list goes on.

How much of that did I accomplish on my vacation? None. Instead I just made a giant to-do list. And when I got to the office this morning, jumping into that list felt about as appealing as sorting through the five bags of smelly clothes.

Last week, I had the chance to sit down with Chris Williams. We were talking about the enormous, wonderful shift that’s happened in my life since Fog City Psychic was born three years ago, and I told her that I want to get my message out to as many people as I can … whether that’s through the radio show, one-on-one work with clients, the book-in-progress, and all the ways I haven’t thought of yet. “I’m so grateful for all these opportunities,” I told her, “but I’m struggling with how to keep up with it all.”

Chris doesn’t beat around the bush. She cocked her head. “Karen, what would you say your message is?”

I knew she knew. This had to be some kind of cunning trap.

“I teach people that shifting their perspective from fear to love will allow them to reconnect with Source, get back in touch with their own intuitive guidance, and move forward with more clarity and confidence.”

“Hmmm. So what you’re saying is that you want to reach more people with your message about not being afraid … but you’re afraid to take the next step in actually reaching out?”

I remembered that conversation this morning when I sat down. And instead of allowing myself to be paralyzed … I did something to move myself forward. It only took a few minutes, and now I’ve got some momentum going.

Is there something you’ve been putting off? Pushing through the paralysis to do one small part of that dreaded thing may provide a powerful shift!

(And if you’re reading this and you don’t have anything you should be doing instead … please come over and help me unpack the five smelly suitcases!)