Do you ever find yourself PUSHING through life? Adding more and more to your to do list feeling like you’ll be more valuable if only you could do it all?
I must admit I’ve definitely been the one to take on ‘too much’ in my life. During school this would equate to me balling my eyes out the night before a big assignment was due wondering how I’d get it all done. During university this would equate to me burning out my physical body, glandular fever, complete exhaustion. Thereafter it has shown up in many different ways – from taking on everything at work, and still wanting to be social every night, to studying a part-time masters at the peak of a work project, to travelling every single weekend and filling my diary to the brim. Through all of these times I still maintained this mantra of wanting everything to feel ‘perfect’. I wanted a happy healthy body, career, family relationships. I wanted my house to be spotless. I wanted to enjoy the fullness of life through experiences, travel, coffee, socialising, reading, learning.
The biggest moment of stuck and burnt out in my life was also the biggest moment of starting to understand what ‘put me first’ really looks like. And WHY it mattered. I’ve tried lots of things to nourish myself, to reconnect, to de-stress, to get my energy back. Whatever you want to call it. From massage, to energy healing, to acupuncture, naturopathy, bootcamp, counselling, yoga and meditation. Every single one of these experiences have given me something, supported me in some way to move forward. Yet the most significant of it all has been they have taught me to tune in to my soul. They have shown me that at times my inner self, my body, my soul is crying out for attention. If I continued to ignore it, I would end up depleted, flat, burnt out. Again.
These days I pay more attention to the subtle cues. I listen intently. I’m still learning. And some days I listen better than ideas. What I do know is that when I do is when I feel my best. My most centred, generous, energetic, loving, authentic self. This afternoon was a pure moment of tuning in completely:
To my soul I must give thanks. For guiding me. For caring for me. For always knowing what is best and yet still sitting with me when I choose otherwise. Over the years I am learning more and more to give you warmth, care and attention.
To my soul I must give thanks. For loving me always. For giving me light, joy and strength. For knowing at all times what is best for me. For sitting with me always.
I am listening more and these days and every time I do I feel you more and more. I give thanks.
This afternoon I felt the drain was pulled completely. My energy zapped and my body pulled to the ground. The headache that has been lurking behind my eyes for days, that I have acknowledge yet also gently brushed aside was there still. Feeling the drain this time I chose to respond. Even the air outside has been teasing me, moving from sun and brisk beautiful fresh air, to grey cloud and gusts of cold chills. To which in each moment my heart and soul flutter with the allure of a walk. Fresh air. Energising. DOING more. FITTING in more to my day.
Noticing the drain I acknowledge. I surrendered. I let go. I climbed into bed and pulled the covers over my head. The warmth and gentle heaviness of the pillow resting on my head gave me comfort from the dull ache that had been pushed aside to KEEP DOING. I let go. I said yes to me. To you, my soul. Thank you for giving me the cues to know when I need rest most. Thank you for showing me how to recharge, even when it doesn’t feel like the ‘right’ thing.
I woke from rest an hour and a half later, taking a further half hour to stay still, in quiet surrender, before moving my body once again. As I awoke I knew immediately I had given my body, mind and soul exactly what it needed. I had responded with care and compassion. And they too are responding back. I feel nurtured, grounded and more in tune with me.
To my soul I must give thanks. I am listening. I am learning. Thank you for looking out for me.
If you have absolutely no idea how to tune into your soul right now, that’s perfectly okay. I reckon you’re over-thinking it anyhow. And the soul’s language tends to be more about feeling than thinking. Here’s a super short exercise that Marie Forleo shared once on her Blog, that I now use to help me tune into what I most need, or when I feel a little off track and want to work out why so I can change things:
- Grab a pen and paper.
- Split your page in two columns.
- On the one side draw a plus and on the other, a minus.
Now think about everything that has happened in your last week. (Or you could even do this for the last 24 hours). Think about what activities you were involved in, who you spoke to, what were the major goings on.
And for every single item that pops into your head, I want you to ask: Did that give me energy, or did that drain my energy? Then pop it into the corresponding list.
Once you’ve written out everything you can think of, sit back and review your plus and minus columns. And with curiosity look ahead for the next seven days and see where you can schedule more pluses into your life. Literally! If that means getting out your diary and blocking out time for them, then do that.
It’s such a great way to tune into the flow of our energy. And energy after all is our life fuel. It’s how we connect with ourselves move through our experiences.
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