setup for overwhelm

OverwhelmThis morning, I met with an acquaintance who is passing over the position of membership chairman in our Sonoma County writing organization, 294 members strong. Of course, it’s all new: new software, new checks and balances, new website to manage. The previous membership chair is very comfortable with the job and has done it for so long that it’s all seamless. Breaking it down into recognizable, smaller parts was difficult for her. Where to start?

I was receiving what I would call (respectfully–she did her very best) an information dump. This included talking for three hours, and handing over four computer folders with close to 8,000 files in them, two banker boxes, and a couple of bags of materials. This is a perfect setup for feeling overwhelmed–that is exactly what the mind would like to label it. However, what I noticed is that each moment was fresh and unknown. My mind could only have one thought at a time. In direct experience, there is no such thing as “overwhelm.”

After three hours–although the body was willing–the mind simply shut down. The hard disk had filled, and more information would overwrite the earlier (and equally important) material. So I called a halt. I also asked her to provide me with a list of tasks: what she does on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. That will provide the ground I need in order to master what this position requires.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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