"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
with one, wild, precious thing called your life." Our lives can so easily be
filled to the brim. Some, maybe a lot, of which is not always beneficial
to our well being.
Yes, there will always be draining situations that are unavoidable.
And someone has to do the laundry, but I am referring to other stuff that depletes us--everyday stuff such as those all-consuming thoughts like
always feeling like we're falling behind, spending time with wrong people
for our growth, or doing things you don't really want just because you're afraid of what other's might think of you.
If we are not careful, those choices can fill our days but add little substance, or worse, contribute to our stress and eventually to our health. In her book Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Dr. Christiane Northrup refers to this misguided energy as "energy leaks." To stay healthy, we must become aware of where our energy is going or slowly leaking. In the last few years, I have been giving more thought to people, places, activities, and behaviors that impact my time and energy. Eeek, and I hate to say it, but with very little return.
Conserving my energy is something I didn't always know how to do; and
to be quite honest, it is still a work in progress. I've always taken on more than is what is healthy for me. Most women that I know, do. As I have gotten more in tune with my own self-care needs, I know that asking for support and help is a strength. Doing everything on our own and then building resentments is probably one of the most subtle and most damaging energy leaks.
So last week after I dropped the kids at school, I spent the day in bed reading. No, I wasn't sick. As women, being ill is probably one of the few times when it's 'okay' to lay in bed. I had tons of things I could have done.
But I've been surrendering to my desire for more SPACIOUSNESS in my life. This is how it manifested. Though I felt bad (for a bit) about being unproductive, it was empowering to give myself permission to do nothing.
"By doing nothing everything gets done." Lao Tzu
There is a friend that I have. She is a woman with healthy boundaries and clear priorities. I have watched her kindly say "no, thank you" and NOT explain herself on several occasions. I am in awe of her ability to do this and not give it a second thought. How many times do we say no and then follow up with some lengthy reason and justification, to then later, feel guilty about it. I've come to learn that saying yes when you want to say no is not
kind, it's dishonest. This person is protective of her time and energy, and she is honest to herself and others.
Unlike my friend, I need to work at it a bit more. There are so much written about being more efficient and getting better at time management, but one of my treasured books on caring for ourselves productively is,
The Art of Extreme Self Care, by Cheryl Richardson. In it, she discusses a great suggestion for protecting our time and energy, called
the Absolute yes/no list.
By brainstorming and writing down what you need on a daily, weekly,
and monthly basis,
we can get more clarity on managing our priorities-- or releasing what no longer serves us. For example, some of the things I have on my lists are basic self-care like sleeping 8 hours, journaling, and not rushing. Keeping my distance from those persons whom I don't feel aligned with is also on my list. Once again, I am reminded that good and true self-care begins with awareness, knowing ourselves more fully, and healthy boundaries.
Here are Some Ideas to Protect our Energy
consume our energy; but if we are so exhausted and overwhelmed, we won't have the energy to do the bigger, more important things in this world and to make the bigger, more important decisions in our lives.
We are all meant for BIGGER things.
From my heart,