“The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.”
– David Whyte
Whenever I hear myself say “I’m tired”, I’m learning to dig a little deeper and ask “What is it that I’m tired of?”
It’s a question that’s helping me discern whether I actually need sleep or if what I really need is to look at what’s depleting my energy.
I notice when I spend energy on things that don’t enliven me, I feel it in my body. I feel dull and slow and tired. It’s hard to focus or feel motivated. I’d rather just zone out or take a nap.
Conversely, when I do things that intrigue or inspire me, my body feels energized, as though I’ve been plugged into a light socket. I feel lit up from the inside and my whole being is engaged. I feel life literally pulsing through me.
To me, that’s wholeheartedness: when I bring my whole self into what I’m doing and feel a sense of aliveness. Whether it’s in my work, friendships, conversations or hobbies, the feeling I have is that I’m being given energy.
While I don’t think it’s possible to feel jazzed and on purpose every moment of every day (in fact, that’d be really annoying!) I do think it’s worth paying attention to where I spend my energy and how I feel as a result.
Doing so has become an incredibly clarifying exercise.
Want to try it?
The next time you hear yourself say ‘I’m tired’ (‘exhausted’, ‘worn out’, whatever word you use), do this (for one whole week):
• Make a note of everything you’re doing–and with whom.
• Pay attention to when your energy ebbs and flows, rises and falls.
• Who/what makes you feel uplifted and alive? Sluggish or drained?
• Notice where you feel that in your body.
• Jot down your observations. There’s no judgment here, you’re simply gathering information as a way to assess what’s what.
At the end of the week, look over your notes. Chances are good you’ll be able to discern if your exhaustion warrants rest or a much needed infusion of wholeheartedness*.
*If it’s the latter, (you’re certainly not alone), choose one thing you could do today that will help you feel more alive and uplifted. It could be dancing in your kitchen, making a favorite soup or taking a walk in the woods. Calling a friend. Listening to a podcast. Making jewelry. It doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant. The main thing is……DO IT!
Our energy is a precious resource–we get only so much and then it’s gone. Paying attention to where we’re investing it is a rather worthy pursuit.
I’d love to hear your experience and/or reflections on this. Xo