I felt so overwhelmed last week.
On the verge of burnout.
Honestly, I haven’t felt like that in a really long time (almost a decade).
By Thursday afternoon, I finally softened into myself and my experience; I accepted it. I accepted that my brain was unable and unwilling to do anything.
For the next several days, I took it easy.
I didn’t do anything “productive.” Well, apart from a bit of work, and cooking, and grocery shopping.
There are so many things I like to study, so many things I want to learn, and I’m usually so good about doing these things because I love them and they make my heart and soul feel so fulfilled.
But I couldn’t the last few days. I didn’t try to will, cajole, or force myself to do any of them.
I didn’t even want to try.
I was tired. Beat. Done.
I walked, I worked out, I meditated, I watched a lot of an addicting TV show with my boyfriend…close to something like binge-watching, which I haven’t done for a couple of years.
I allowed myself to accept that I had nothing left, that there was nothing else I felt in my heart I wanted to do.
I think so many of us have a tendency to push and force. We have goals, plans, things we need to do—things we want to do. Time feels limited and because we only have so much of it, we feel we need to utilize it all so “productively.”
If, for some reason, we don’t or we can’t do all of those things we think we should be doing, we get down on ourselves. Judge ourselves. Tell ourselves we’re lazy, or even something worse, like we’re useless or pathetic. How incredibly unkind is that? We’re always doing the best we can.
We may also even think about all of the other people who seem to be able to do so much…when it feels like we can’t do anything at all.
But the truth is that we all need rest. We all need to relax. We all need moments to pause. To breathe. To be.
To do nothing.
We can’t go at 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.
And even those people who seem to be able to do it all, also need moments to pause and breathe. They can’t do it all, all of the time, either.
No one can.
As with everything in life, our energy ebbs and flows.
There will be times where we’ll feel like we’re unstoppable, where we can wake up early, get in a good workout, work all day, and then do all of those other things we want or need to do. We might even have days or weeks or months like that.
But we’ll also have days or weeks or months where everything feels like a struggle. Where we’re tired. Where we feel like we have no energy—like we’re energy-less. Days where we need to sleep in or nap or rest or take extra breaks, where it takes all of the seeming willpower we have just to get through our “must-do” tasks.
If we can learn to flow with these moments, to recognize them, allow them, and soften into them, life can feel so much easier.
Our lives can be filled with so much more ease.
If we can recognize our needs, and attend to them, if we can soften the resistance, allowing for the truth of our present moment experience to be acknowledged, soulfully opening up to whatever it is we need, our lives will be filled with so much less unnecessary tension.
I thought to myself this morning, it’s a lot like running. I’ve been running for so many years that it often feels like, if I head out for a run, I should be able to run the whole way. But sometimes, I realize part way through that I don’t want to, that I don’t feel like it. Maybe I want to walk, or I know I’ll benefit if I take a few moments to walk. When I release the pressure to force myself to keep running, and allow myself to walk a little bit instead, it’s not only a more enjoyable experience, but I also, more often than not, find myself with more energy, more enthusiasm, more excitement to run, and the running portions feel even better.
The whole experience feels easier and lighter.
We’ll all have moments in our lives where we can’t do all of the things we normally do. It’s normal. It’s natural. It happens.
If we can honor ourselves through this, tend to our needs in each moment, we’ll feel more ease.
After several days of taking it easy, I woke up this morning feeling so awake and alive.
Happy. Rested. Reenergized. Reinspired.
Ready to take on this day.
And I know that I feel this way because I listened to my heart and I tended to my needs.
I allowed myself to rest and relax.
Sometimes, we just have to allow ourselves to do nothing.