How many plates are you spinning right now?
Emails, voicemails, text messages, Facebook, Google are plates. Work duties, home devotions, extracurriculars with kids and family and friends are plates. Clutter is a plate that slows you down, cluelessness is a plate that trips you up. Thoughts, feelings, worries, regrets are plates. Complaining is a plate that saps energy. Criticizing is a plate that alienates. Punishing is a plate that demoralizes. Praising is a plate that uplifts. Gratitude is a plate that gives. Wonderment is a plate that inspires. Forgiveness is a plate that relieves.
How many plates are you spinning? What are they? And why do you keep spinning?
Your Plate Spinning Style
Are you an overspinner–a chronic plate spinner, spinning by rote, spinning because that’s what experience taught you you must do to be acceptable and successful, spinning because you’re anxiety prone and worried about what others may think of you or worried that your world will fall if you don’t keep spinning those plates, spinning yourself silly?
Are you an underspinner, a refugee of the spinning plate wars, flat out, worn out, adrenal fatigued, disappointed, depressed, derailed?
Are you a spin doctor, denying, deflecting, obfuscating, causing confusion for others?
Are you a spin dandy, adept at getting others to spin your plates for you, making all kinds of excuses about why you can’t spin the plates yourself?
Or are you a spinning maestro or spinning maestra?
We Are Designed For Spin Mastery
Spinning plates is an actual balancing skill. A master plate spinner can keep a lot of plates up at a time. Most of us have seen the master spinner add plate after plate to stick after stick. Most of us have seen the comically crazy outcome of the tipping point.
Spinning plates has a critical mass point—depending upon the spinner’s ability and other factors—where spinning tips into its opposite: a crashing mess.
Our biopsychospiritual wholeness is designed to handle stress. That’s why we have such a complex nervous system, an intricate sensory network, and a complex perceptual net ranging from our senses to our heart to our head, from instinct through feeling, into imagination and thought. We live and have always lived in a dynamic world, whether 100,000 years ago or now. We can manage spinning—to a point, to that critical point.
We spin many plates daily, sometimes knowing that we’re spinning, sometimes not knowing. Knowing that you’re spinning plates is way better than not knowing how many and what plates you’re spinning and why. But choosing your plates is the most healthy and fulfilling path through the whirling confusion.
Not knowing you’re spinning so many plates has the obvious stress related results: overwhelm, overload, overreactions and underreactions, explosions and implosions.
Knowing that you’re spinning too many plates doesn’t help you to stop the spinning, but may help you manage your behaviour better.
Knowing what you’re spinning may help you to begin to stop the spinning altogether from time to time and put you on the way to becoming a master spinner—one who spins by choice.
The Results Of Over Spinning And Underspinning
Over spinning is usually the result of an anxious under current. Under spinning is the result of a depressive under current.
In either of these undercurrents, we’re being dragged along by subconscious factors embedded as beliefs from our earliest and/or most repetitious experience. We believe what we’re taught to believe, we’re programmed to do what we do. It’s all rote action and repeated result. Most of us were taught that spinning plates gets you somewhere.
When we send an excess of attention to too many places in one day, we’re using up vital resources within our magnificent cellular structure and thereby depleting vital carrying energy in our bodies, eroding vital connecting energy in our hearts, and eating up vital focus energy in our heads. By midday we can feel exhausted.
Where your attention flows, there your cell tissue goes.
Where your attention flows, there your cell tissue goes.
So much of our cell tissue gets used up in spinning the plates that we’ve got none left over for pleasure, for joy, for wonderment, for simplicity, for patience, for kindness, for listening.
Moreover, when we exhaust our cells, illness is the ultimate result. The illness can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. In some way, a collapse follows chronic and ongoing over and under spinning.
How To Stop Under Spinning And Over Spinning
1) Self Examination
To stop spinning so many plates all the time or to build the energy to spin the plates your life needs up and going, requires that you look into yourself and your circumstances. What you’ll discover is: you don’t have to spin all those plates. All those plates don’t come crashing down if you pause and look at why you do it. You have a choice.
But you don’t believe that. So, you have to tune into yourself and identify your beliefs and values and motives about your behaviours. Why do you spin so many plates? Why have you given up? What’s behind the spinning? And what’s on those plates anyway?
Then you have to look at your life circumstance and prioritize the spinning plates according to your real values, your most cherished relationships, your most beneficial beliefs, your most self-supportive desire.
That takes courage, honesty, and commitment. You can do all that on your own, but having an accountability partner like a coach, therapist, or best friend who’s in the know is optimal. A spin maestra is responsible for her plates. A spin maestro is accountable. Having a sounding board helps to build responsibility and accountability.
2) Going Within, Not Without
If you’re spinning too many plates and doing the anxiety number, or not spinning plates due to depression factors, then your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are caught up in spinning the negativity in each of those.
Practices that can help you look into yourself honestly and revive your precious cellular tissue are the meditative quiet mind practices. A conscious, intentional, daily quiet mind practice will, in time and not too long a time, take you to the master spinning level.
When you go within, you will not go without. That means, of course, that when you look inside—svadhyaya in yoga, contemplation in Christian mystical practices, self-reflection in Zen, vipassana in Buddhist psychology, self-examination or self analysis in psychology—you’re not looking outside. But it also means that when you look within, you won’t go without the simple pleasure and joy and meaningfulness in life.
It means you’ll stop spinning those plates physically, that is, you won’t be running around in busy mode and running away from real connection.
It means you’ll stop spinning those plates mentally. The mind learns to quiet the more you practice simple meditative things like meditation itself or any deeply focussing practice that gets your attention on one thing. Creative passions really help focus.
It also means you’ll stop spinning emotionally and settle into a peaceful, easeful, restful, wonderful place.
3) Practice Praise, Wonderment, Gratitude, Forgiveness
I named these plates at the top of this blog. These qualities are makers of wellbeing and results of Spinning Mastery. In rote spinning, praise, wonderment, gratitude, forgiveness are the first plates to fall. They’re also the first plates we return to when we become a Spin Maestro or Spin Maestra. And each of us is designed for mastery. Go for it. Spin!