Updated: Oct 17
There are moments in life when the weight of our circumstances can be overwhelming. This sensation is akin to standing at the foot of a mountain, gazing upwards, and wondering how on earth you're going to make the ascent. One such moment overcame me when I had just returned from living abroad. The familiar sensations of home were coupled with an intense feeling of disorientation. My mind raced with countless tasks to do, yet a paralyzing uncertainty about where to begin held me captive.
Every option seemed like the right one, and yet none at all. Should I shower? Maybe exercise would help? Every decision felt monumental, every step forward was countered with two steps back. The overwhelming feeling wasn't just about tasks—it was deeper, touching on fear and the disorientation of reintegrating back home.
In this whirlpool of emotions, I heard a familiar, grounding echo: "Pause." This wasn’t a new voice, but a compilation of many meditation teachers whose wisdom I had imbibed over the years. Taking this sage advice, I first sought physical rejuvenation through a shower, followed by a brief lay down. Though sleep evaded me, the rest was an acknowledgment of the fatigue I felt.
Turning to my most trusted tool during times of emotional unrest, I reached for my iPad, which housed a collection of guided meditations. As I sat on the floor, the voice of my teacher resonated, guiding me through the storm within. Each breath was a journey inward, to the very heart of my anxiety. It was a direct confrontation with the fear and overwhelm that had threatened to consume me.
This meditation was more than just relaxation. It was an acknowledgment of my vulnerabilities. As I placed my hand on my heart, I admitted to myself the depth of my fears. However, with every inhale and exhale, a transformation took place. A smile surfaced, replacing the earlier despair. With gratitude, I recognized the enduring power of this ancient practice in navigating modern challenges.
Emerging from this meditative state, the path ahead was no longer obscured by anxiety. Instead, it was illuminated by compassion, primarily towards myself. That day, I was reminded of invaluable lessons: the power of rest, the magic in pausing, and the importance of self-kindness. In the face of overwhelm, sometimes the bravest thing we can do is not to power through but to pause, reflect, and not let it get worse.
About the Author: Phillip McKnight
Phillip McKnight is a distinguished mindfulness teacher who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the realm of awareness and compassion-based practices. Completing a rigorous two-year training program accredited by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association, Phillip has cultivated a profound expertise in teaching mindfulness across diverse ages, backgrounds, and abilities. His academic prowess shines through his MA in Instructional Systems Design, a foundation that enables him to meticulously tailor programs to meet individual needs and promote holistic development in mindfulness meditation. Under the tutelage of renowned mindfulness experts like Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, Phillip has honed his skill set, arming him with the tools necessary to foster body, heart, mind, and community interconnectedness in his teaching practices.
Phillip's Mindfulness Coaching:
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