The Seven Stones Blog

Too Much

By Shea Adelson

If life resides in the present moment, life might have felt like too much for many of us last week. I’m not even sure we needed to live in or near Boston to feel rattled by the bombing that radically effected so many people. It’s still too raw, still too early, too many unknowns.


Too much.

What does that mean anyway? I’ve been saying to people how the event was too much for me to take in. Not five days prior  a mother of two children died in a car accident. The loss sent many of us reeling. So when the bomb went off in Boston, I thought: I just can’t take this in, not right now.

But if life is present moment, and the present moment starts layering on losses, how can life be too much? If it just is?

Too much, for me, right now. This mantra lead me to consider a few questions:

  • Am I in shape to take on being the change in the world in a way I say I want to take it on?
  • How could I take in the news, allow my “bubble of denial” (as my Seven Stones’ colleague Jen Cohen puts it) to be burst, and still carry on, do the next right thing?
  • What does it mean – look like, feel like – to take in the news, do the next right thing, and not drown in it, not get lost in those arising and strong emotions?
  • How would I know I was in shape and was relating to the happenings of our world – local, regional and global – from a place of enough? What would those indicators be?

In other words, what is my enough line when I am not in charge of what’s happening, when life just does feel too much? In my commitment to be in right relationship with life, regardless of its presenting scarcity or excess, the best way I know how to begin answering these questions is to return home, to my center, through the body. We are teaching a Somatic Practice Day on Friday, and I am grateful to be heading towards that immersion, of discovering my very own center in a world that continues to astonish in its beauty and in its suffering.

2 thoughts on “Too Much

  1. Thanks for this interesting question. You seem to be asking: How can there be too much if we live in the present moment?
    Certainly there are times when I find myself shaking my head and saying: “It’s just too much.” As you point out, this kind of too much is not about abundance of something desirable, but like a mountain has just been transported and placed on top of my heart. Grief, like that after the senseless death of innocent people, can bring it about.

    In my personal experience I do not see a conflict between present moment awareness and this judgment of “too much.” I think the judgment is an outflow from a feeling of overwhelm, or as I’ve heard others call it: “horrified anxiety.” The sheer intensity of the feelings might seem to demand screaming and yelling and crying and tiredness, all at the same time. That energy is crazy-making. Emotional overload of this sort happens all at once and is consistent, I think, with being present if there is an ability to stay in it. A question is: HOW to stay in it completely? There is a lot of fear and resistance to staying in it completely, to feeling the feelings, and so I think your instinct about returning to the body makes perfect sense. In the arms and the legs, the hands and the feet, the stomach and the throat, I suppose we can trust that there is room for all these feelings, even if the head might say otherwise.

  2. Michael, so so great. I love that you bring up the emotional energy. It is what it’s all about, I think. Wars are fought over hurt and difficult feelings. I’ve begun to consider and to experiment with a hypothesis I have, which is that personal power and mastery has something – a lot I am thinking – with our ability to be with sensation, whether that is emotional energy, strong waves of vitality, pain, “horrified anxiety”, and more. I think there is room indeed, in theory, but I/we have taken shapes to protect ourselves from what feels hard or hurtful. What if we were vessels, open for everything (that doesn’t actually kill us)? And then of course, where do we draw the line when there is injustice, or inappropriateness, etc.? That’s extreme of course, and for this conversation, I am more interested in the possibility of open heart, open mind, opening beyond my current shape and comfort zone for the possibility of being of greater service. Thanks for the great dialogue.

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