A sea of people. The noise of 400 Pilates teachers trying to squeeze a year of catching up into two days. The heat from 400 bodies straight out of morning class.

This is what greeted me coming down the stairs at break time. For someone with a preference for peace it felt overwhelming.

Then I realised: overwhelm is something I can feel when the world doesn’t match up to how I arbitrarily decided it should be. It actually seemed suddenly pretty unreasonable to expect 400 excited Pilates teachers to meet my expectation of calmness.

So I threw myself into the crowd…

… Are you looking for a “happy ever after”? Then you are looking in the wrong place!

I didn’t love it. I felt uncomfortable. I milled aimlessly; I found a nice quiet corner; I chatted to the occasional passer by. I made it through most of the sessions, some with more grace than others. I walked out of one, when the crush of bodies stopped me following even the simplest of movements. In the process, I learned a lot about becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable.

It’s okay to have preferences, and it’s okay for those preferences not to be met. It’s okay not to enjoy something and it’s okay to run away, or find somewhere to hide. And it’s okay to stay and learn something new, even if only about resilience.

When we see how life works, we don’t have to decide which of these is the “right” course of action. Decisions come that bit easier when you know overwhelming doesn’t last forever – my experience changed many times in that one weekend. If you feel overwhelmed by life sometimes, get in touch, I’d like to help you.

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