It’s a frustrating day so far.  Nothing has happened that is terribly tragic. There has been nothing that I can’t handle. I just feel stressed up to my eyeballs and beyond.

There are reasons for the feelings of stress, some better than other — as if any feeling is more or less good than any other.  Feelings just are.  Feelings happen to us, and we have little control over when or how they will happen.  Once we recognize the physical and emotional symptoms of a particular feeling, then we can learn how to control our response to it. But feelings themselves are neither good nor bad.

So I feel stressed. Physically, I feel jumpy. My senses feel raw, as if my eyes and ears and tongue and nose and skin have all gotten abraded, rug-burned. Every thing that even comes near — doesn’t even have to make contact, just come close enough to be sensed – startles me and makes me jump.

I thought terribly uncharitable and self-righteous things about the co-worker across the room who plays music out loud in a cubicle environment. I fantasized about throwing his things out the window, leaving passive-aggressive notes, asking his manager to say something. Finally I just IMed him. “Hey, I’m reaching sensory overload. Could you maybe switch to headphones, please?”  He turned it down. That helped a lot. But I’m still stressed and jumpy.

I spent some time on a Zentangle, and that was good. But then I noticed emails coming in with questions I needed to respond to. And teammates needed to ask questions, and decisions needed to be made, and I had to quit treading water and jump back into the flow of work again… when what I really want is to float on my back for a while, closing my eyes, feeling the sun warming my skin,  knowing that the water is holding me up and supporting me, feeling that the world is giving me everything I need in that moment.

For now, I hold that image in my mind and heart – hear and feel and smell and taste it – until I need to start swimming again.

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