When Life Is Too Much

Posted July 9, 2014 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five
Woman looking stressed at her desk

When life gets overwhelming we all wish we had a magic reset button that would clear away the busyness, worry, and clutter and let us start over. Well, guess what, you have the ability to do that whenever you choose. By becoming a master at observing you can reset and shift your perspective in any moment.

The laundry may not get done this way, but the piles of it won’t stress you out. That obnoxious co-worker will still yapp away dramatically like they always do, but you won’t be caught up in it. You’ll still have a long to-do list, but it won’t be the end of the world when it doesn’t all get done, because you’ll remember what’s truly important.

Think for a moment of a time when you were able to step back and shift your perspective. Perhaps you were on vacation. Or took a ride out on a boat far away from the busyness of your life. Maybe it was a movie that allowed you to think about your relationship in a whole new way. Whatever it is, we’ve all had those experiences.

They allow us, if only for a moment, to gain some space and observe… to see the world around us, and ourselves, with higher levels of awareness and clarity.

This ability to observe is how we can start to find more of the peace we’ve all been searching for. Peace isn’t somewhere out there, it’s inside of you. The same thing goes for joy, love, abundance, and fulfillment. All of it can be found inside, if we can get beyond the chaos of our outer circumstance, and beyond the blur of our own thoughts and feelings.

This mode of observing is the mind body awareness or higher level of consciousness you hear a lot of big wig spiritual leaders talking about. Deepak Chopra, Oprah, Wayne Dyer, they’re all speaking to this ability to go deeply inside of ourselves to see things and experience life in a whole new way. It is what Michael Stinger talks about in one of my favorite books, untethered soul. 

When you are able to observe your own thoughts and feelings, free from attachment and judgment, resistance fades and your life becomes incredibly peaceful.

Think about watching a movie. You lose all concept of yourself sitting in a chair in a dark theatre, and become completely engrossed in the events in the film. The same thing happens in real life; we lose our center and perspective and get wrapped up in the drama and action of our daily lives. We forget that at any moment we can step back and observe.

Take a moment right now to observe. What are you thinking? What are you feeling?

Listen. Observe. Breathe.

When you’re observing, you tap into the wisest, strongest, most powerful part of yourself. You aren’t wrapped up in drama. You aren’t attached to outcomes. You aren’t worrying about the future or regretting the past, you’re totally present. This isn’t the easiest task because there are millions of things to distract us, block us, and pull us away from observing. With practice, it gets easier and life begins to flow with a lot more joy and happiness.

So, how do we do it? How do we observe? How do we begin, or continue, the life long practice?

Here are 3 of my favorite ways to practice observing:

  1. Meditate. I say it a lot, but meditation is so effective as an observation tool. There’s nothing I’ve found that works quite as well. Drop down and into the depths of your own mind and let yourself watch life unfolding in front of you for a moment. Start with 3 minutes in a quiet safe space. Sit down, and observe what’s going on around you with your sense. What do you see, feel, smell, taste, and touch? Now close your eyes, and observe your breath and body. What physical sensations do you feel in your body? Then notice and thoughts coming up. Watch your thoughts as your would clouds floating by in the sky. End with gratitude.
  2. Be in nature. There’s no denying the power of mother earth. Swim in gorgeous waters, hike big mountains, stroll through serene gardens, lay in the grass, dance in the rain, run among butterflies, sit in the sun. Observe the world around you. The same energy that makes all of this beauty is what you’re made of. Allow yourself to feel incredibly small and infinitely powerful at the same time.
  3. Reflect and Release. Give yourself a certain amount of time (5-20 minutes) to stay in observer mode. Then let your thoughts and feelings flow. Write them out. Cry them out. Dance them out. Talk them out. Some people love journaling. I prefer getting in deep and powerful conversation with someone I love. The whole time just let whatever is happening happen. Stop resisting and start opening.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.