Finding Movement In Overwhelm

Finding Movement In Overwhelm

The Swedish television channel TV4 reported yesterday on the violation of Swedish airspace by four Russian fighter jets on March 2nd. We already knew this happened a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday TV4 reported that two of these four jets carried nuclear weapons.

Perhaps you want to read that again. I certainly feel weird even writing these sentences. It feels like fake news. The Swedish official authorities so far have chosen to ‘not confirm nor deny’ this report. So I guess it’s up to everyone to decide how to regard this piece of information. True or not, this type of reporting affects me. It would be strange if it wouldn’t, I believe.

Lots of news reporting these days affect me deeply. There are so many places in the world where, for decades, human rights are violated on a daily basis. Now the Ukraine is added on this list – generating the largest refugee stream in Europe since WWII. Climate change, a global pandemic and are we now also on the brink of WWIII?

Overwhelmed. It’s a good word to describe how I quite often feel at the moment. The statistics are overwhelming. The human suffering worldwide is overwhelming. And my feeling of helplessness in the midst of everything that’s going on is overwhelming. It is important for me to write that I feel overwhelmed. I notice that I feel a bit calmer in my body now that I have written it down. Because it’s my truth at the moment. And how much I would wish it to be different, this is the way I feel right now. Life is like this: it’s not always smooth sailing. For millions of people it has never been smooth sailing and it might never be during their lifetime. How different the human experience is for each and every one of us living on this planet.

I am aware, once again, of my enormous privilege in life. I live in a comfortable house in a wealthy country, have food on my table, am loved, love, have regained my health from Long Covid (well, almost) and I have work that is extremely fulfilling. At the same time I feel overwhelmed about the state of the world. This feeling isn’t new at all, but since the pandemic it has increased and the invasion of Ukraine amplified it even more.

So what do I do with all of this? Well, I sit with it. I feel the pit in my stomach and the lump in my throat and I just sit with it. I don’t wish it to go away (even though it’s tempting to try sometimes). I sit with it. And what happens when I sit with it? I start to feel just a little bit more space inside my body. A bit more air. A bit more calmness and clarity. Just a tiny bit, but still. It makes a world of difference to me.

Automatically when I sit with my feelings of overwhelm, a movement happens inside me. Also very tiny, but I notice it. The movement is about realizing just that: the fact that I can move and a desire to do so. Even though I can’t move to stop the war in Ukraine or feed the starving people in Yemen by myself, I can move and do something. However small in the big scheme of things, I can do something. I not only can but I want to. It feels like my duty, as a privileged citizen of a wealthy country.

So I have found what it is I can, and want to do. I don’t feel like writing more about it, because it’s not about sharing what I do. It’s enough to write that it feels meaningful.

I also want to keep on reading the news, including reports of airplanes with possibly nuclear weapons on board flying near my home. I want to be here for real every day and I want to experience life in awareness of what’s going on. Not only outside myself but also inside me. I allow myself to sit with whatever is happening, and by doing so I find movement. Sometimes small movements, sometimes large movements. But I keep on moving, when it feels right. And otherwise I am still; being with the isness of life and noticing calmness inside myself. Always observing, accepting what’s going on. In awareness, and in my truth. It’s how I want to live my life. And writing about it helps me greatly in keeping myself grounded in that. Thank you for reading!

Photo: Masaaki Komori –

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