We’re all the heroes of our own stories, but the heroes we admire in literature and on the screen find themselves undergoing spiritual and emotional transformations more often than they find themselves using the bathroom. If all of us are heroes, each going on a continuous, limitless, and recursive journey throughout the stages of our lives, then where are you in your journey? How does it relate to your current struggles? What lessons are here for you to learn?
“Life can be magnificent and overwhelming—that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.”
Whatever the reason, you haven’t been able to find balance or homeostasis in your day-to-day life. Your opportunities aren’t lining up, and your plans seem to just be idle thoughts with no bearing on the outside world. You have taken the plunge, and the all-too-familiar uncertainties of adventure have left you drained and overwhelmed.
If we were to compare our conundrum to an example from fiction, as I love to do, I immediately think of how in every Spider-Man movie, we see Spider-Man get the absolute snot beat out of him. And in fact, on a certain level, we like to see Spider-Man get brutalized like this because it makes him seem more human when he doesn’t always win. If Spider-Man can be bloody, bruised, or defeated, it’s not quite so embarrassing if it happens to those of us mournfully unbitten by radioactive spiders.
We must be careful, because watching the mighty struggle to feel better about our own lack of progress can confirm a painful and unproductive personal narrative where we have no control over ourselves or our lives. If we let it, the overwhelming vastness of our problems can appear insurmountable and therefore unworthy of our time. This will certainly only make the inevitable confrontation with your problems all the more challenging.
The most paralyzing aspect of feeling overwhelmed is the creeping suspicion that life is entirely beyond our control.
It can be simple, easy and intoxicating to buy into the belief that there isn’t anything that we can do. If we play dead and close our eyes to our problems, we can briefly pretend like we aren’t afraid. But we don’t need to buy into ignorance to dissuade ourselves from fear. To thrive on your journey, you’ll need to actively cope, and use the skills you’ve acquired along the way.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Being overwhelmed is not just a common struggle for your fellow travelers, it can be a helpful feature for particularly wise or intrepid travelers.
Your trepidation serves to remind you of the massiveness and difficulty of the task you’re undertaking. Your exhaustion is your body asking you to take care of it.
After you’ve made the decision to leave behind your old way of being, travelers can expect to find themselves in an unstable and uncertain period of separation. If your troubles are centered around the growing pains involved with walking your path, then you might want to read about Separation.
But it’s not just as easy as leaving the old way behind, you also have to confront some of your most cherished and least necessary beliefs. If you’re feeling overwhelmed from the exhausting process of interrogating your old beliefs, then I’d recommend reading about The Trial.
But the best thing you can do if you’re directionless along your path is to book a counseling session with one of the many talented specialists in our practice!
Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.