In today’s world of hyper-scheduling, modern convenience, and always being accessible, energy has become our modern day currency and our most important asset. I was reminded of that when I had someone impatiently and repeatedly ping me on a messaging app on my phone, demanding an instant response and my immediate attention. They were rather taken aback when I explained that I have no alerts (pings, vibrations, pop-up banners) on my phone. Rather, I choose when I direct my energy to go in to check my messages, emails, and alerts on my phone.
In real personal or work emergencies, friends and colleagues have always called, and they know that is how best to get ahold of me. It’s how I have set my energy boundary. Responding to others’ agendas through a barrage of messaging or emails used to distract me from my most important work. I have often found myself losing focus on what I needed to get done and reacting to the drama in the moment. I used to almost jump at an incoming vibration or message ping, anticipating what was to come, especially when I saw who the message was coming from. It drained me, often created tension, and scattered my thoughts. I quickly realized that I had served their agendas and not mine. I also realized how overused the term ‘urgent’ has become, as many lack focus and leave things to the last minute.
Everything we are doing is transforming our energy into something that is either supporting or draining us, emotionally or physically. I took a good hard look at what I was doing daily and questioned how my daily tasks were transforming my energy and whether it was supportive or harmful to my energy. I quickly learned to focus on creating and replenishing my energy by designing my day and my habits to support my life, rather than everyone else’s. I’m no longer granting others free reign to dip their cup into my pool of energy and drink freely. I may give my energy to others in service and support, but that’s a choice made in love.
I think of my energy as either a tightly clenched fist versus gently unfurling fingers to an open palm. I know which version I choose. The ease, expansiveness, and openness of an unfurled hand, ready to receive, feels so much more at ease than the closed off fist. Modern day stress, constant pressure, juggling, rushing, scheduling, and the drive to be constantly delivering and performing in our work have led many to live with a nervous system, body, and energy that feels like a tightly closed fist.
For many, more than 70% of our day is spent in a state of stress, whether we are conscious of it or not. Stress helps us deliver in a high performing state. However, we are not meant to stay in a state of stress with our nervous systems stuck in fight or flight. A state of freeze, as many of us live there, make our homes there, and feel like something is missing if we’re not rushing, busy, and needed. We often feel like we’re not doing enough (or are not enough) if we’re not busy and in demand. Busy and stressed out is not a badge of honor. Rather, it should be the early warning sign from your body or the alarm bell that something needs to change. It is the absence of rest and periods of recovery that does the damage and depletes our resilience, as we run our body mind and soul on empty.
Thuli Madonsela, a previous Public Protector in South Africa, once replied to a question on juggling all her responsibilities, that she doesn’t drop the proverbial ball in the air. She puts it down. She chooses what her focus areas will be and gives them her all. That focus is your choice.
I’ve been on a journey to find flow. A sense of ease and grace as we live in tune with our bodies, not just our minds. A grounded and centered way that is fully aligned. We have ignored our bodies signals and nudges for too long, existing only in rational thought, justification, and judgement that is often out of sync and out of flow. I’m on a journey to find flow. Join me.