“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

The equation of busyness with success behind this and other cliches normalizes working too hard, doing too much and going too fast.  Between social kudos for accomplishments and my tendency for compulsive activity, my energy regulation skills are constantly being tested. Staying well fueled in body, mind and spirit is challenging in a culture that invites us to overwork, overplay, overspend, overeat…over do just about everything.

Energy Regulation

Last week a sinus infection got my attention, inviting me to reflect on how my lifestyle might be contributing to my illness.

– How well am I regulating my energy?
– Am I burning the candle at both ends?
– Am I doing too much?
– What am I doing and how am I doing it that might be burning me out?

I’m not overbooked with appointments or workshops and retreats as in the past.  I don’t have commitments scheduled back to back all day and into the evening.  Hooray! My calendar tells me that I’m doing a great job regulating my energy.

While an assessment of my energy output looks efficient on paper, I had to look more closely at where I was losing steam. In addition to a handful of regularly scheduled appointments and teaching commitments, I spend my work week prepping classes, working on publications, consulting with colleagues, answering emails and phone calls, taking care of my dogs and garden, cooking meals, meeting with people for both social and business meals, working out, practicing yoga and a host of other things.  During my work days I rarely “take a break.” All systems are “go” from early morning until evening.

It isn’t what I’m doing that’s zapping my energy. I’m proud of the changes I’ve made to create a less packed schedule.  But the way I do it that needs some loving attention.

Going Too Fast

There’s a rushing, spinning, going too fast energy that takes a hold of me when I’m not paying attention. Lost in the grip of hurriedness, I don’t use my energy efficiently.  I am more prone to accidents and mishaps in this mode. And, too many days of it often precedes the onset of an illness.

When you’ve lived your whole life in the fast lane, it’s tough to pull over to the right and go with the flow.  It’s even harder to pull into the slow lane and just take it easy.

A More Loving Pace and Place

After a lifetime of rushing to the future and missing the present moment, I’m learning to take the slow lane.   At this pace I am more able to sense the loving presence of God and as a result am a more loving presence in my world.  It is also the place where I’m most apt to hear the wisdom of God.

God moves with what spiritual writer Evelyn Underhill called the leisure of eternity.  No hurry.  No rush.  No urgency.

God’s got all the time in the world.  Why do I live as if I don’t?