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Even if…

Even if you’re only doing what’s fun, it’s still 𝙙𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜.
Enjoying one’s work is not permission to continually extract.
Fallow & replenishment are necessary.

Nature has day and night, cold and warm, wet and dry, and four seasons for a reason. Humans have a multitude of circadian rhythms. We can work with them or, to our peril, fight them.

In a podcast episode entitled Burnout and Renewal, Charles Eisenstein opened up and bared himself. He started by doing what he always does, investigate the substratum of life. In this case, he became the subject of enquiry. Devorah Brous beautifully went down the rabbit hole with him. Charles describes this part of the conversation as, “engag[ing] my own burnout and fatigue… it gets a bit personal.”
(A New and Ancient Story, 21.04.24)

I’m a goal-oriented person. This has both served me and subverted me. Often in my life I’ve put on the hip waders then promptly jumped in neck-deep. Sometimes, so wrapped up in my fervour (er, impatience) I haven’t even bothered with the long boots. It’s gotten me into sticky situations. It’s been costly in a myriad of ways. Impulsivity can cause me unnecessary stress, even regret. On the other hand, earnestness bolsters determination and infuses energy into objectives. And spontaneity can vitalise play. The point is, I know what it’s like to drive hard for a purpose; I just have to remember to remove the blinders.

My best outcomes come when my actions are made sustainable with awareness and recharge. As an emergency medical practitioner, there are occasions when time is of the essence, but, in all cases, a level head is needed. One of the best lessons I learned from an instructor, when I was myself a patient, was to pause, even if only for a moment or few. I watched him stop, evaluate, take inventory of the situation and the resources, then move forward with intent. This methodology also means having a portion of attention open to receiving new information—from the patient, from the environment, and others. This is what Charles did in his vulnerability with Devorah.

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the dangers of running a well dry, even if the aim is commendable, for whatever reason. It’s not possible to help anyone if I make myself into another patient. I’ve run myself into the wall a few times; I don’t recommend it. The interplay between mind and body is deep and visceral for me. I have to exercise to be mentally and physically healthy but overcooking it empties both tanks. When the lights start dimming inside then the rest of my life (including my body) suffers. Mind and body support each other, but this means that both suffer when the principle and aiding systems are drained. If either battery becomes critically low recovery time mounts exponentially. What’s more, there always seems to be something years and decades-old that needs healing. This has to be accounted for in the equation of energy flow and ebb.

I wish I could say that my fits-of-flurry these days are more infrequent. But the truth is that they happen with great regularity. Fortunately, however, they are much subtler: washing the dishes to have them done… as quickly as possible; driving too fast; or grabbing my phone as I rush out the door… only to see it go crashing to the floor, cracking the screen.

As an endurance athlete, my goals help provide infrastructure to the training. Regular, consistent exercise and nutrition are essential ingredients. So too is downtime in the form of sleep, recovery modalities, and time away from training. This allows the body and mind to recharge so that I may return stronger for the next steps.

In life, my daily meditation practice is essential. It provides time and space to practice 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 stillness. It helps set the tone that I want to carry through the day for who I want to be in the world.

How do you replenish your mind and body?
How do you allow energy to flow?
Do you allow depletion to become chronic?

❝ There’s a need for silence and stillness and reflection. We’ve created a society where there’s no room for any of that because we’re filling every waking moment. So, you have to have the courage to say, “I value my inner world and my inner thoughts and thinking on my own instead of in response to so many other people. And I need to carve out that space.”❞ ~Tiffany Shlain
(On Being with Krista Tippett, 21.05.03)

Even if you’re only doing what’s fun, it’s still 𝙙𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜.
Enjoying one’s work is not permission to continually extract.
Fallow & replenishment are necessary.

✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏