|This is a fox I painted, whose nose is too broad, making him look like a Corgi dog. Still, I like the colours.|
Struggling with feeling overwhelmed? Can’t make a decision? Too many choices? Too much on your plate? Fret not, I have the solution. Add more on. Yes, that’s right - do what I do, and add more to your plate of ever-expanding options. Never mind that the more you add the less you find yourself able to choose or, ultimately, do anything at all. Instead you’ll become catatonic with chaos, paralysed by perplexity, incapacitated by information overload. Embrace it! After all, variety is the spice of life (so they say).
And look what fun you’ll have, spending oodles of hours (not to mention money, probably) accumulating all of this wealth of ‘stuff’, which will ultimately leave you poverty-stricken - poorer in mind, spirit, body, and bank balance. But go on, I say, throw caution to the wind. You only live once, so you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to drown in all the wealth of choices life has to offer.
And now I would like to make an interjection, in order to clarify that I am, of course, being ironic. Please do NOT do what I’ve just suggested. On the contrary, my advice would be to ignore it completely (if you can). My point is that this is what I do, and a fat lot of good it does me. It appears to be my default mode - something to do with a fault in the wiring which leads me to confuse the words “more” with “less”, and “complicated” with “simple”. Beyond that, I cannot explain the bizarre and perplexing nature of this particular ‘quirk’.
As a consequence of the undesirable results of this behaviour, I am now trying to make a change by doing the opposite - whilst, simultaneously, attempting not to do the other thing I do, which is to go to the polar opposite i.e. rather than lessening my options, ending up removing them completely, and deciding to become a minimalist, or go and live as a yogi on the top of a Tibetan mountain. Ah, the vagaries of being a person of extremes, with no middle ground to speak of (never mind live in).
So here, hopefully for your edification (and my own amusement), are a few examples of where I have tried applying my version of simplification.
Compared to a lot of the artists I’ve seen on YouTube, I don’t have an excessive amount of stuff. However, for me what I did have felt overwhelming as it was (all the choices left me with barely enough time or energy for the painting itself). So I came up with the stonking good idea for how to lessen the overwhelm - I gave myself more options. Yes, I added more, and now I have double the overwhelming choice I had before. Marvellous.
And still on the subject of art, which is an endless source of overwhelm… I find most of my ideas for my paintings on-line (Pixabay is a good site); but, as with everything, I can’t just have one photo at a time to use, I have to look at and download more (despite the fact I already have a collection of photos for this purpose on my computer), thus adding to my woes when it comes to trying to decide what to paint.
I couldn’t decide where to start with re-reading the books I already owned, so I decided I should try the minimalist route (having recently become obsessed with reading about the idea on the internet), and get rid of any books which weren’t my favourites, and wouldn’t be re-read. Strangely, there was a major fault in the way my brain translated this instruction because, rather than getting rid of any of my books, I ended up buying more instead, and dramatically increasing my library. I’m still quite baffled as to how this happened.
Do you know how many yoga mantras, meditation techniques, mudras, gurus/teachers, and schools of thought there are? No, neither do I, but I’ve tried incorporating many of them, and then wondered why I don’t feel particularly serene. It’s because I was too busy worrying about all of the other options I thought I was missing out on, and how in the name of Shiva’s socks I was going to fit them in. I am happy (and relieved) to say that here, at least, I have managed somewhat to simplify my practice, mostly by giving up wandering about on the internet looking at yoga sites. As you may have noticed, that’s the third time the internet has been implicated. It has a lot to answer for. Speaking of which…
Yes, the very thing which is the source of too much information and too many choices is the first thing to which I head when I feel confused and overwhelmed by too much information and too many choices - thus adding to my ever-expanding pile of options, and my ever-increasing confusion as to what to choose. And yes, I know it’s obvious what to do when it’s written down, but not when you’re in it: and not when you have an addiction to excessive (and inappropriate) internet use. *sigh*
And finally, I have even managed to complicate the process of blogging. Not content with simply writing things and then posting them, I decided that they needed to be categorised, and also embellished with photos, the way I’ve seen other people do on theirs: you know, “proper, professional-style” blogs - the kind I can get distracted by for hours. Copying again. *sigh* I also imagined that it would inspire me to write more consistently for my blog, but it’s simply overwhelmed me, and now I can barely remember all the categories that I’ve implemented. Plus, the purpose of my blog has become rather obfuscated in amongst all these supposed ‘simplifications’.
And there you have it - but a small selection of all of the opportunities available to me for making my life more complicated and overwhelming, to which I run at the drop of a hat. Now I just have to learn to recognise when it’s happening (which is relatively easy to spot - it’s when I’m thinking about things, unattended by the guidance of God/a Higher Power; or another, sensible, human being who knows me well enough to recognise the signs), and then run in the opposite direction. Screaming.