Maintain Control When Life Sends You Spinning

by Diane Sweeney on May 7, 2015

Big Spinner 2


How to Control the Big Spinner of Life!

Remember that playground equipment known as the Big Spinner or the Merry Go Round?

You know, that large round plank of wood or steel that multiple kids could pile up on, some sitting, some standing begging some strong older kid or adult to push and spin it (hard) – waiting and watching until it spun and accelerated so fast so as to whip you or one of your of the 45 pound little friends off into the stony patch of earth in the playground? (This was before rubber surfaced playgrounds!)

That kid (hopefully not you) would stand up scratched and dirt covered, dizzy as all heck, but smiling! And the rest of the kids who were still hanging on would be stumbling off the slowly revolving circle in a dizzy, dazed frenetic dance.


As a kid, you were either the kid who loved the dizziness and kept going back, or the one who would rather sit on the sidelines and watch.


Unfortunately, adult life doesn’t always seem to allow us to choose if we want to go on the ride or not.

What a Month!

This last month has brought a gamut of emotions for me. As a family we celebrated a special anniversary milestone for my aunt and uncle (62!), a close friend received bad health news about her daughter, and yet another friend was made to feel like her hard work for a volunteer organization was all for naught.

At the same time we were preparing to leave for a wedding of a very close friend in San Diego and keeping our eye on our son’s graduation from college, which happens this week.


There were small business victories for myself, steps in the right direction for the future of each of my sons, and minor setbacks in the life and businesses of close friends.

And for a few hours on one day, I felt like all the information – good, bad, scheduling, celebrating and grieving were channeled through me.

I was on the Big Spinner of information overload and emotional support maintenance. My head and heart were spinning round and round between texts, calls and emails.

There I was processing one bit of news when the next bit of news came through. Happy for one person, saddened for another, trying to find the right words for the third and planning for the big events. All the while thinking … this was NOT the afternoon I had planned.

The Big Spinner had been pushed hard by a strong adult hand!

It was in that moment that I realized I did have a choice of how I was going to adapt to the ride. I could go in circles until I was dizzy and dazed, or fall off and get up smiling, having survived the ride.

No one was really looking for my advice – they were all looking to share their news, their emotion, their life changing event, whether it was happy or sad.

My work could wait. These were real people, with real situations to share – and my work, at that moment was not as important as was my ear and heart. I needed to listen.

I can hear some of you saying, “You were wrong. Set your priorities. Stick to the list.”

And most days I would give you that advice too!

But, YOU also have the power of Choice.

There are days you can choose to shut down, close up and hide away to do whatever work you need to do.

And then there are the days that you can recognize that others needs might need to come before yours. You can choose to answer the phone, read the texts, respond and allow yourself to be open to what news and events are coming your way.

When confronted with overwhelm:


1.  Stop. For five minutes stop it all. What has to be done, what should be done and ignore the beeping phone and computer.

2. Center yourself by walking into a different space, listening to the sounds of nature or of something different from the space where you were, and taking 3 deep breaths.

3. Decide how much time really has to be spent on anything that is immediately calling for your attention. Prioritize the top 3 things/people/projects that should or must be attended to and take care of them first.

Every day we choose. As the article states, even simplifying our lives becomes a choice that involves other choices.

But it doesn’t have to always be complicated. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, ride the ride, and come back up knowing you made the choice of whether to hang on or to just let go. Either way….

You made the choice.

Have you had your turn on the Big Spinner of life lately? Tell us how you made it the ride in the comments below.

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