Too many todos, too many balls in the air, too many pots on the stove

Well it’s certainly a common enough feeling to have this sense of an overload of problems.
There’s one expression that can be used is having too many balls in the air.
Juggling all these priorities, these unsolved problems, these open to-do list items.
There’s like this cloud of things that I need to think about, things that I need to resolve, and it’s easy for that to really weigh down on the mindset.
I believe the ideal is to have this kind of open, almost empty mind, where we can really be open to the present moment and what we are experiencing in the moment.
And that’s why it can be so helpful to do exercises that help to get us out of our head, out of the overthinking, and simply into feeling the body.
So bringing everything to the immediate sensory experience of the moment and stepping out of the world of circling thoughts.
And it seems like it doesn’t take a very high number for it to start to become this oppressive cloud.
Because it seems that the way our minds work is we can think about a small number of items at one time.
I believe some people say – is it 4 to 7? – some kind of small handful of a number of things that we can keep thinking about and have in our short-term memory, active in our minds to be able to process and think about and work on.
And as soon as we get over that number, it just feels like overwhelm.
Just like the idea of juggling balls, that, you know, even I, who knows nothing about juggling, I could sometimes maybe juggle two balls, and you know, a proper basic juggler could juggle three.
But once you get into higher numbers, it quickly becomes very difficult for even the best jugglers to be able to keep all those balls in the air.
So the same kind of metaphor applies to thinking about things that we have to keep in mind, things that we’re registering, like oh, I cannot forget about that, I must deal with that, I have to deal with this and that and that.
And it really can quickly become too much.
Even if each of the items is not some giant thing, just the fact of the number, just the fact of having this large number, is enough to create this kind of overload.
And even if it isn’t full overload and overwhelm, even having a manageable number that’s still a bit too high takes away from our ability to be completely present in the moment and completely open to the experience of life.
So it seems to me to be a very important and useful thing to be able to reduce this number.
How can I reduce the number of things that I’m thinking about? It’s almost like going backwards between- it’s almost childlike to imagine going to this kind of simple state where you can really think about only one thing.
Where it seems like this adult state is, you know, taking on more and more responsibilities, and, you know, almost like proudly.
There’s a certain pride to it, being able to juggle all these different things.
And there’s a certain kind of a feeling, you know, I got things going, I got this and that and that, and I’m, you know, I’m rolling everything, I got this, you know, all these different things, I’m keeping them going, keeping them going.
Just like the feeling of cooking, when you have like five different pots going at the same time, and you get into a roll.
And so in those moments when it’s on a roll, then it feels feels pretty good.
It feels like wow, I’m getting a lot done.
But, of course, we can’t be cooking with five pots, you know, throughout our entire waking day every day.
And to those chefs that can do that, I can only salute the ability to do that for such an extended period of time.
Because for most of us, we’re not always going to be in that flow state of the happy juggling.
It only takes one little thing being off, one pot too many, or one ball too many of juggling, one pot on the stove too many, simultaneously, for the cook, and the system can go from that kind of fun juggling, keeping everything going feeling, riding the chaos, managing the chaos to simply exploding into chaos and everything quickly falling apart.
So as much as that feeling of the multiple managing, keeping all these things going, that can be a fun feeling, but it seems to be very easy to go too far in that direction and into total chaos.
So it seems to me like reducing the number of things that we have to think about is a very useful thing to do.
And there’s no shortage.
There’s certainly no shortage of possible things that we can think about.
So in terms of being able to enjoy the fun of the chef on the stove with five pots, there’s no danger of, you know, simplifying things too much.
You never have to worry about making things too simple, because anytime you want to add complication, there’s just instantly a huge menu of things that you could possibly take on.
New concerns, new responsibilities, new things to think about, new things to do. […]

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