Silence the inner chatter

A typical day in my mind goes something like this, as I'm rolling out the yoga mat, "I should do yoga twice a day, at least start meditating 3 times a day...Wonder how tight my hamstrings are today."  Pause breathe let it go.  I make it through the practice with only 3 interruptions from the puppies where I totally give in and let them love on me.  

Time to meditate.  Some days I'm in the zen, other days my mind has lots of noise "Okay so I have to wash Steve's pads today before his bath, and remember this time to put it in the dryer, I have to package those malas I was supposed to mail out last week, I have to start our taxes..."   Bell rings as a reminder to come back to the present moment, I shake my head like I'm shaking the thoughts out of my mind, like I would with water in my hair.  Deep breath, and, "Don't forget you need to take your test, oh and that chapter in the book still needs work...wonder what I will blog about..."  Shaking my head again I sigh as the bell rings. 

Burning sage I take a big inhale to clear the cobwebs which is interrupted by the phone ringing, talking to the pharmacy, "Why does Steve still have this lung infection?"  "What new tincture can I try?" I wonder how my herbs are doing?"  "Oh I better go water my plants."  

Off to water the plants, as I'm halfway done telling them my "I love yous...." 

Interrupted by Steve's alarm, that sounds much like a car, As I'm walking back to his room, "Oh I need to figure out why the VW won't start.  Why have a car that just sits in the driveway?"  Steve's up time to do his morning routine.  Suction, breathing treatment, trache care, brush teeth, wash face, "what am I forgetting?"  "How do I still forget things, I've been doing this how long?"  Oh yeah, empty pee, wash areas of skin that need washed daily, meds, rearrange arms after a nights sleep...Steve types, "Don't forget to call comcast about the TV out there, and follow up with the rat guy, and call pharmacy for refill, and find out where tax forms all are, you're running out of time." 

I walk out of the room, and suddenly I used up all my brain space, I know I have a list of 100 things to do but now there is too much chatter for me to be even able to focus on any task.  I'm ready for sleep and it's only 11 o'clock.

Does this sound familiar?  

This is a challenge, I'm sure many others face daily.  The inner chatter has left me exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to focus.  What now?  How am I supposed to accomplish anything?

Let me preface this with, I AM STILL practicing this.  I in no way have control of my mind 100% of the time, but I'm making progress.

How you ask?

When the chatter becomes overwhelming I stop everything.  I grab my trusty journal and write it all out.  The mundane tasks, the dreams, ideas, etc.  As I stop and sit and write it out, slowly the chatter of to do's turn into beautiful ideas, and inspirations.  

I then close my eyes and take 5 minutes to sit and breathe and to clear space for all I have to accomplish.  I then look at what I wrote down and prioritize.  What MUST get done today.  Okay I circle things, and then include a few what extra would I like to accomplish, and circle them.  I then go at it one thing at a time.  I have a mantra, Do what you can, and really do it, be there, and let the rest go.

Most importantly, I practice to only be working on that task.  Not to be thinking of the 15 other things I circled for that day.  I often say, "It's there in that journal to remember for me, I don't need to use this brain space right now," and come back to whatever it is I'm doing.

It's a practice and some days I do so well at clearing the inner chatter, I celebrate the control I have on my mind.  The next day I'm eating humble pie and reminded that I still have work to do.  

As you practice removing the inner chatter, much like practicing yoga, you see your mind stretch.  You find it easier to come back to the task (as long as you don't let the negative self talk derail you).  If you're like me where your mind is constantly going 100% of the time, try to have moments where you come in silence and work it out.  Don't be hard on yourself, and keep practicing.  Because in the end, it's our practice that shapes our life.