Physical exhaustion hit me hard in March.
'Hit me' is an apt description because it quite literally felt like I'd been hit by a truck.
Everything ached, my muscles and tendons were so stiff it often took until late afternoon before I could fully stretch out my legs.
Some days holding my arm up to brush my hair was so tiring that I would have to have a little break half way through.
And then there was the day that I walked down to the office, and when I say down I don't mean across the vast estate, or a few floors down in the palace that I live in, I mean down the corridor of a single storey 3 bedroom house - and when I realised I had forgotten something in the kitchen I actually sat down and cried because I felt so overwhelmed at having to walk all the way back to get it.
This was a deep down in my bones exhaustion and my body felt literally weighed down by an anchor.
Putting it in these words now makes me realise my body was saying STOP and Be Here, Now and don't take one more step until we sort some things out.
For many months after the onset of these symptoms I spent everyday having magnesium baths, sometimes for up to 2 hours.
This gave me a lot of time to read and a lot of time to be still and 'reflect' - water is good that way. It immerses you in reflection.
During one of these baths I put my book down and clearly heard the words - 'Something about the way you are living is not sustainable.'
I, we, most of us living in these times are becoming more and more focused on sustainability. We think about it with food sources, besides the ethical reasons it's a big part of why I am vegetarian, we think about it with water, waste and household energy uses but what about our own energy?
What about how we use and source our physical energy?
I have for a number of decades now been very good at balancing between doing and being. I have regular rest days, and I'm mindful about not 'overdoing'. So what is it that is not sustainable?
Energy flow and filling up...
Do you know that up until a few years ago I didn't know that I was an introvert?
Oh my Lord! The realisation of this was a life changer and brought my anxiety and stress levels down so much.
I just always assumed I was an extrovert...I'm talkative, I'm not remotely shy, I'm quite loud at times and put me in any room and within a few minutes I'll feel fairly comfortable to talk to anyone in there. Surely that's an extrovert?!
And so on my days off from work, work that has always been with people, giving to people and holding space for them, I would make time to catch up with....people!
Friends would message or call and ask to catch up and I would make 'dates' thinking I was filling my days off with things that were filling me up and yet I never felt rested.
The confusing thing was that I was doing things that I enjoyed and seeing people that I wanted to spend time with.
So how come every time the phone rang I felt resentful?
How come when I looked at my diary and it was full of catch up dates scheduled in I felt anxious and overwhelmed?
Because I am an introvert! A massive introvert.
I can't fill up when I am with other people. No matter how much I love you, no matter how much fun we are having my energy levels will slowly be decreasing. (Slowly if I'm with someone that I want be spending time with but heamorrhaging rapidly if it's someone that is draining.)
The only way I can increase my energy levels and fill up is by being alone. Being quiet. In the peace of just me and 'source'.
Once I realised this so much made sense...
I hate talking on the phone. I will literally text you 3000 words before ringing you. I hate people dropping in. Living in a house with an 'open door' policy would be hell on earth for me. I love that time of evening when I close all the blinds and put my phone away and shut the whole world out. Heaven!!
Imagine me thinking that I'm an extrovert?!
So all of this I already realised some years ago so what is the lesson now?
That this extends to social media and to the mobile phone.
Texting, messenger, posting, writing, emails, enquiries, bookings, DM's...
When you are running a business the list is endless.
All of this is of course done from the comfort of your own home so you think you are having time out. You think you are filling up.
If you are an extrovert social media isn't filling you up because it's not enough for you. You might be using it like a drug - needing more and more but always left wanting and unsatisfied because the interactions aren't real enough for you.
And if you are introvert, like me, you think you aren't 'among people' but you are.
Messenger and texting has made us into greedy, needy little monsters. We think we can have access to people at any time and that they should tend to us immediately.
"Why hasn't she text back?"
"I can see that he has read the message, why hasn't he responded?"
Needy, greedy little monster Ego is getting all uppidy and needing to be seen and heard NOW.
For me there is an extra layer to these lessons about social media...
I love writing for social media. I love sharing quotes, insights and teachings that come through me. I totally get off on seeing people empowered, growing and thriving as a direct result of my work.
I need regular time away from social media so that the messages aren't always just for US but also sometimes just for ME.
A good analogy would be someone who loves cooking. Just cooking a meal for others is rewarding and fills up their energy well.
If they are only thinking about 'what can I create for my guests? What will they wan't to eat and what will make their bodies thrive?' then eventually there will be an imbalance in flow.
Even something we love to do must be balanced.
Ideally we need to regularly sit down and ask 'what do I want to eat? What nutrients does my body need?' and then open the doors and windows and invite everyone to the table who wants to eat the same meal.
I benefit from all the messages that come through me, I benefit from all the insights that come up in each and every session or workshop that I do with clients but if I don't have regular time out from being that channel and close off the outflow then there is an imbalance that is unsustainable.
I'm happy to be able to say that my energy levels are now improving all the time. I still need to be mindful to do less than what my normal capabilities were but I am very optimistic that not only will my capacity return but that with this wisdom landing and being integrated my energy will be better than it ever was!
So I'm sharing these insights with you so that you ask yourself 'Is my life sustainable?'
For you it may not be exhaustion, maybe you are often tired, maybe you are always tired? Maybe it presents in your life as anxiety, headaches, digestive problems...
Is your schedule sustainable?
Do you get enough rest?
We live in a world where overdoing and busy are worn like a badge of honour. These days primary school children have schedules that would make me have regular panic attacks.
We can easily get stuck in - 'I just need to get through this year and then we'll see if we can change the way we do things.' Well here is another year and how much have you changed?
Where are you depleted?
How do you fill up?
Are you an extrovert? Do you get your energy from going out, being with people, socialising?
Or are you an introvert? Do you get your energy from being alone, or with just one or two people. From being inward, and quiet?
In regards to social media and mobile phones what are your expectations of others?
Do you expect them to hear you and see you NOW?
Do you allow yourself to dial the world down for a while and just Be Here, Now?
Let me know, I'd love to hear your insights.