This month, on one of my daily adventures to walk the dog, I noticed something pretty cool. A local park has hired goats to do some of their work! It sounds kind of funny- goats as the laborers, but it seems to be a great strategy!
The areas that the goats are “working” in have been overwhelmed by weeds & invasive plants. They are fairly large spaces that would take lots of manpower, time, & possibly equipment to tame, so the goats are a great solution. With a little chewing & chomping, they can easily get into areas that would otherwise be hard to access. They fertilize the soil as they work. And they are pretty quiet, compared to bringing in machinery!
I’m amazed by this solution and have continued to think about those goats; stopping by to check on their progress these past weeks. Being inspired.
Those goats & weeds have reminded me of how hard it can feel when you are stuck in overwhelm & then the relief that comes when you find a solution that makes life run a whole lot easier.
The weeds, overgrown bushes, & brambles are just like our overwhelm. Our thoughts feel out-of-control & wild- making it hard to keep perspective and make it easy to fall into one of these counterproductive patterns:
- Procrastinate & let the weeds of fear grow wild
- Chip away at it from all different directions- starting, stopping, & starting again but never making headway or getting to the root
- Power through like a bulldozer, fueled with frustration & resentment that sends the exhaust of gloom over everything else nearby
I’ve been known to fall into any one of these patterns without even realizing what I am doing because it’s hard to think outside-the-box when my mind is overloaded. It can be hard to step back when it feels like you are “in it.”
We automatically start doing things the way we have always done them, working with a mindset about how it should go or how things might be expected to happen. BUT, if we can pause at the start of overwhelm & notice we are on the verge, there might be just a few moments to make a shift.
The goats represent outside-the-box thinking. A solution that lifts hardship & heaviness. Asking for what you need & being ok with trying something new. And giving over to an idea that can open time & space for the things you’d rather turn your attention to.
Sometimes that means you have to let go of the idea that you need to do it alone or that you are the only one that can solve the problem. It might be time to outsource (bring in the goats!)-ask a friend, your partner, your child, or hiring someone to take on one of those overwhelming projects or jobs that drag you down.
It will take experimentation & practice, but the reward of trying something that brings light & ease into your life will motivate you to keep looking for other creative solutions to problems that seem overwhelming!
Look for inspiration. Ask for what you need. Think outside-the-box. Modify, shift & change when it doesn’t fit so that you can move forward. And begin to believe that making time to look for creative solutions will make life more enjoyable.
The next time you feel the weeds of overwhelm starting to take over your life, pause & take a step back to look at the problem from a new angle.
Try getting your overwhelm off your chest and out in the open. Journal about the problem, talk to a friend, send me an email. Often when you give voice to your fear and overwhelm, then a new light begins to shine & it doesn’t feel so heavy or hard. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a creative solution appears. It so often does when we are open & willing to try a new way!