There are times when I want to do so many things I feel impossibly fractured, as though I’ve left little parts of myself all over town while running my errands.
Call my representatives. Join that group making reusable bags for the store down the street. Read. Reach out to that coach with a gentle nudge to invite a more diverse group of contributors for her offering.Take a nap. Hold the baby all night while she cries. Write the book. Go away for the weekend. Figure out how to take a greater stand, locally and nationally, about climate change. Cook dinner.
My energy becomes more diffuse with each racing thought. Tendrils of my attention run loose, traveling the length of my life as I attempt to prioritize everything needed for my work, taking care of my family, and enacting change in the world around me.
This wild race of ideas and scrambled energy does not invigorate me.
It exhausts me.
I am not actually taking action when I am in this place. I am not DOING anything.
Instead, I am spending a lot of energy every day worrying and trying to figure out what to do.
This is the internal scramble of inaction. This frantic energy causes your ideas run amuck as you attempt read the future and figure out how each decision will impact you five minutes or ten years down the line.
In these moments of prioritization paralysis, the anxious churn of rolling things over and over in your mind feels like action.
It makes us feel busy to scramble around this way, believing that we are doing something even when we aren’t sure what to do.
But, worrying isn’t an action step.
Try as I might, it is not actually possible to know how my choices will impact me down the road. There is no way to know how taking this job or making this decision or prioritizing one creative project over another will alter my life.
The only thing that is within my control is making the next best choice in any moment, given the tools and the information that I have on hand.
In this life, I cannot do everything but I can do something.
The only antidote for worry is doing something – anything – tangible.
I may not be able to alter the trajectory of our national political scene by myself, but I can make one call. I can gather with other like-minded humans in solidarity. I can financially and energetically support organizations that are doing work aligned with my beliefs. I can have the uncomfortable conversation when someone says something deeply offensive, or reach out to the organizer of an event I have been invited to participate in that has a line-up of only White speakers.
I may not be able to write a whole book today or this week, but I could write a couple of pages.
I may not be able to join every group that I am interested in, but I could reach out to one group I am passionate about and start there.
Those are action steps.
Make things with my hands. Do 10 sun salutations. Offer to carry someone’s groceries. Get on the floor to play with my baby. Cook dinner. Email a client.
Those are action steps.
They require me to pull that diffused energy back into my physical body to make the best choice that I can today, in this body and this set of circumstances that stand before me.
I can choose to let that be enough. I can choose these small successes and mundane victories, because I know that when my mind is racing with grand plans and worrying about what to tackle first, I am not actually getting anything done.
I will gather my many pieces. I will honor the fact that I am a human with many big, exciting ideas and varying interests. I will remind myself that there is nothing wrong with the fact that there is A LOT that I want to do with my life, but I will remind myself that I cannot do everything all at once.
I will choose one thing to start with and I will let that be enough.