Spinning Plates

syracuse_suzanneSometimes we are so caught up in worrying about a number of subjects that it can feel like our head is spinning.  Today a friend said he felt like each issue that was bothering him was like a leaf in a whirlwind of leaves, impossible to grab hold of as it whirled and whirled.

It reminded me of another analogy I use for the same experience.  We can feel like one of those acrobats who put plate after plate up on poles, racing from one to the next to give another spin to keep them up in the air.  As our mental plates (thoughts) spin, nothing changes; there is no new content.  We go faster and faster, twirling the poles until we’re exhausted; then the plates fall and shatter—unless we take them down one by one.

In this instance, to take a plate down would be to write about the concern, putting as many thoughts about it as we can on paper (or in a computer document).  Once the thoughts are articulated clearly, we may more easily see what action needs to be taken: research, communication with someone else, scheduling it for a later time, biting the bullet and making a decision, and so on.  

Then, when we notice we’re spinning again (probably by feeling the energy as much as noticing the thoughts), we can first bow to and thank that worry part of ourselves, calmly think about if there is anything new to write down, and see if we need to make a new plan.  Often, though, we can simply interrupt the spinning with a gentle “not, now, honey, unless you have something new to add,” and return to what’s right in front of us.

Photo:  my mother’s china recently came to live with me.  It’s called Suzanne.

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2 Responses to Spinning Plates

  1. Kim says:

    Suzanne is lovely and so is the reminder that writing things down really helps clarify what needs to be done. <3

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