blessings self-compassion

For when it’s all too much…

My friend’s dad died this week. We have been friends since 2011, back when we were both graduate students, young adults without kids. So much has changed since then: moves, marriage, careers, babies. We now live half a country apart. We both have young children. And we both lost our fathers within the course of a year. 

Connecting with my friend this week reminded me of this permission slip I wrote to myself months ago, on a day when the combination of parenting and grief and work and household management was all too much. I did not write it to share it. But here it is: for me, for my friend, and for you, for when it (and “it” can be anything) is all too much. 

For the day when
the tears flow freely,
becoming sobs,
but there are no words
to describe the hard,
when sighs and groans
are the language of prayer…

Breathe in and out.
Sigh, scream, cry.
Curse if it helps.
Throw punches at your pillow.
Make a cup of tea.
Stare out the window.
Walk, run, flee…

Do whatever enables you
to set down
this too-muchness,
that threatens to
overtake you,
this overhwhelming-ness
that is trying to crush you…


This is your permission slip
to pause your spinning mind,
to be attentive to your body,
to connect with your soul,
to ask what it is that you need…
and then DO it,
without delay or excuses.

And if you can’t figure out
what you need,
be counterintuitive.
Do the opposite
of what you usually would,
do anything for the good
of your mind, body, soul.

It may seem easier
to say than to do,
but the doing
is what will get you through,
and let me be clear,
I mean the kind of doing
that is focused on YOU.

2 thoughts on “For when it’s all too much…

  1. You invite us to follow your long trail – It would be winding if walked. – down the page through its difficult twists.

  2. Thank you for sharing. The last 3 years have been filled with too muchness – covid, cancer and disaffiliation. Since retiring the end of December, I have been able to STOP – to cry and scream and laugh and pray and I am slowly letting go of so much of the too much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *