Extremist Supreme Court got you down? Us too. The endless intramural warfare on the left making you despondent? Same. Inflation and a sagging market taking a bite out of your fundraising projections? Welcome to the club.
Given the extreme nature of the moment, overwhelm is a predictable byproduct. Overwhelm hijacks your perspective, paralyzes you, constricts your creativity and just plain sucks.
Enter trauma and mindfulness guru David Treleaven. He works with all kinds of trauma patients and has a large toolkit for helping people weather nasty Mindstorms. Like overwhelm. Here’s one worth practicing. It’s called 3 by 3 by 3.
First take a deep breath. Now take another. Let your awareness drop out of your head and into your body. Overwhelm is a product of rumination. Put in layman’s terms, overthinking. Getting out of your head is half the battle. So now you’re halfway there.
Now, pick one of your five senses, for instance sight. Look around the room until you see something that catches your eye. Now out loud or to yourself, name that object and a descriptive quality of it. So as I look around one thing that captures my eye is ‘empty cereal bowl.’ Now find something else in your sight. For me: yellow wall. And now one more: empty coffee grinder.
Now pick another sense, perhaps touch and do the same. Cold glass, scratchy shirt, etc. And then another – choose from smell, taste or hearing.
Three senses, three sense objects, three descriptors. Three by three by three.
Life is profoundly dysregulating right now. Truly we are all traumatized. This practice will not change the composition of the Supreme Court. It will however help you gather yourself, find your footing, and do your best work for change.