Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Burned Out

I was wiped out this weekend, and I tried to pinpoint why I felt so exhausted. The brain is a curious instrument, as it will help you find an answer provided you give it space and don't push it. I suppose that's a good idea for most relationships too. Stepping back and allowing a place for the process to work is not my strong suit, but the more I practice it, the better the results tend to be.

I am not actually in control of everything. For many years I thought I was, or at least fully in control of myself and my own emotions, but I see now that I was only fooling myself. So much of life is out of our grasp, and learning to ride the highs and suffer through the lows as they come to us provides a certain surrender to what is going on around us. It's quite freeing to accept that I'm not the puppet master. Often I'm the twig, bobbing along in the current of the river, floating down the stream. I can either enjoy that, and embrace it, or I can fight it.

It feels unnatural most of the time to surrender control, but I do see that the key to my personal happiness is wrapped up in how tightly my fist is clenched. When I uncurl my fingers, even a little, I discover some breathing room, and peace and joy seem to reside in that space. I wouldn't have thought of myself as burned out before I gave myself some time to reflect and be still, but that's the idea that descended softly, and it seemed to fit for me.

I'm tired of committees, and responsibilities, and schedules. Of school lunches and agendas and morning alarm clocks. Of organization and deadlines. After not understanding leisure for most of my life, I now crave it in an entirely new way. I recognize that Jason will not have the same break as I will when school is out because he will still go to work, and I appreciate deeply how wonderful it is for me to be home with the kids at this stage of our lives.

I crammed a lot into these last few weeks. The weather was warming up, and I was pushing harder to finish the YouTube commercial I'm filming with a local high school student to promote my Write-In Kit, and releasing the first high school newspaper I'm co-editing with a teacher, and planning a big book sale for our local library. I began checking those items from my list, one by one as they were wrapping up, and in the resulting void, I experienced the dragging sense of burn out.

We all need to weigh and measure our energy and time. When we expend more energy then we can replenish in a given time, we end up stressed and busy and our lives lack joy and balance. It happens to all of us at one point or another, and I'm trying to catch it earlier each time so I still have something left to give to my kids, my husband, my friends and anyone else who relies on me. We can't give what we don't possess ourselves, and it's my job to watch my energy reserves so they don't run dangerously low.

Recognizing where we can improve is the most important step. Taking time to stare into space and allow my emotions their free reign to do the work they are designed to do is part of identifying what the problem is. Then I have to go back to my boundaries and see where I said yes when I should have been saying no. Each person can only do their own part, and not everyone else's part. This is a hard lesson for me to learn, and I keep making mistakes, but as long as I can learn something each time, I'm further along than I've ever been before.

No comments:

Post a Comment