With this article, I want to focus on something that arose today in the daily Power Pause relating to energy and flow. This week we've intentionally focused on "sending energy" to various groups of people affected by the coronavirus, which some participants in the Power Pauses have found draining.
How Full Are You Keeping Your Cup?
People who work in service to others are by nature loving, giving, generous types. This is the hallmark of the leadership quality we call Relating: we form warm and caring relationships with other people. We thrive on helping, providing support, being there for them.
One occupational hazard of Relating is depletion. Imagine that your generosity and service is like cool clear water in the container of your being...your cup...let's say. If you are always pouring this water out of your own cup to help others, but not finding ways to continue filling your own cup, you will eventually find yourself exhausted, drained and depleted.
There are many ways to work with this. Let's look at a few:
Meet Your Simple Basic Needs
I joined a session earlier this week with Rhonda V. Magee, a thought leader who integrates mindfulness into higher education, law and social change work. I was heartened by her reminder of the importance of meeting our basic needs: drinking enough water to remain adequately hydrated, getting enough hours of sleep, spending time in nature and I'll add moving your body and eating nutritious food to the list.
I've noticed over the years that these simple basic needs sometimes fall off my agenda, especially when I'm fully engaged in work projects, or when there is a lot happening in my life.
Anytime, and especially during this COVID situation, if you notice that a sense of urgency is pulling you into ceaseless service, it's important to pause, ask yourself how you're doing on meeting these needs and give yourself the gift of attending to them. (I have kept a list of them on a sticky note in my workspace to keep a visual reminder within sight, since it's easy for my mind to talk me out of getting up to get that glass of water.)
Include Daily Indulgences that Feed Your Soul
When was the last time you played some music that lifted your spirits, or had an impromptu dance party with your kids? Maybe a warm bath is more your thing, or some time outside letting the sun and wind bathe your body. I enjoy writing in my journal, sipping a hot cup of green tea as the sun rises. It doesn't need to take a long time, a 5-minute walk around the block can be enough!
Whatever it is, now is not the time to deny yourself a daily dose of soul nourishment. Really! And if you need motivation to gift yourself in this way, read this piece I wrote about pausing for performance.
Consider This: Energy Is Not Finite
Much wisdom about personal energy and how to manage it is grounded in the assumption that we each have a finite amount of energy available to us. This is one way to think about energy and it is completely useful.
And, I invite you to consider another assumption to see what it offers you:
There is an infinite amount of energy that we can tap into, flow with and direct in service of healing.
One practice, for example, that I've been sharing widely is connecting to and filling ourselves with the energy of the Earth. Source energy, divine energy and the energy of intuition and guidance are other pools of energy we can train ourselves to tap into. In our meditations we join the flow by focusing on our breath.
Once you begin to build a sort of circuitry with yourself and these sources of energy, you can learn how to put the energy into service with ease and effortlessness, without using yourself up in the process.
You're being introduced to such practices in the Power Pauses, and we'll dive more deeply into ways to open ourselves to inviting and allowing our cooperation with this flow in our Power Circles, which you'll soon be able to join.
For now, I invite you to choose one thing from this article that keeps you flowing and practice it with intention this week. Then let me know how it's working for you!
Until we speak again...take good care.