Have you ever been burned out? I have succumbed to complete exhaustion, frustration and disappointment when things were not working out or not headed in a direction that seemed worthwhile. It was like reaching for and chasing the carrot, sometimes for years, but never being able to catch it. After struggling very hard to find it but not being able to, I just wanted to give up.
Getting close to the carrot a few times in my life felt nearly fantastic. At one point I had a plan, or at least a dream, of ‘retiring’ at age 40. It would free me. It didn’t work out that way.
I reset the goal to age 50. That plan got completely torpedoed out of the water. I continued to struggle and strive for the one thing that would bring me peace and contentment, the elusive carrot, just out of hand’s grasp.
A dive into hopelessness shoved me right into burnout’s reality. I couldn’t function and felt like things would never get better, but always knew if I just hung on, I could pull myself back up out of its grip. I did.
After searching, reading and contemplating nature, I now realize there is no carrot. It is an illusion. We only have Now. Contentment only comes when we find a passion about what we are doing in the moment. Once we make a habit of it, we feel much more alive and involved.
I’m now looking happily toward the magic number of age 62 when I hope to ‘retire’ from my current job, but also living in the Now much more than I used to. My life is not always exactly how I want it to be, but no more thoughts of disillusionment exist in my mind. I now feel blessed that I am healthy and able to work and grateful for the opportunities it brings me daily.
It is with pure pleasure that I commute. My focus is on the traffic, surely, but also am thrilled in noticing nature open her gifts in the now, every day twice a day during my workweek.
Oh, my Now still has dreams and wants, no doubt. It is simple. It takes planning and is completely reachable. One step at a time gets me there. There is not really there, it is here. I enjoy the journey just as much as, if not more than, the destination. The carrot is no longer in my thought process. It doesn’t exist anymore.
I do have a wish list of things I want to do in life. I want to visit my family more often and share enjoyable activities. I want to become enchanted by synchronous fireflies in the Smokey Mountains and write about it. I want to hear sandhill cranes as they migrate through the Platte River and write about it.
I want to be mesmerized by the Northern Lights and write about it. I want be in the middle of the monarch butterfly migration and write about it. I want to drink in the beauty of fields of tulips in bloom and write about it.
I want to feel the earth tremor from the large animal migrations in Africa and write about it. I want to SCUBA in far off tropical places and come away with photos and stories of creatures and scenery and write about it. I want to become a better photographer and add my photos to my stories.
As for right now, this very instant, I am grateful for the sunrise, my morning tea, a good night’s sleep, the hilarious song of the mockingbird and the sound of rain falling. I never run out of things to be grateful for. Now is my ticket to freedom to engage with people through conversation and activities that encourage sharing of ideas and insight into looking at my world in new ways.
Since writing Burnout many years ago, I have come to understand fully that what we focus on, we create. I am responsible for creating my own burnout through my thoughts. I now have the power to create my own magic through my thoughts. Life is fantastic right Now, this very instant.
Great post about the Law of Creation.
When the contrast shows up, remember you are creating what you think about.
I have been doing a lot of work with the Law of Creation lately. What this law is showing me is remarkable! Like the Law of Attraction that I have practiced for years, I see the results of what I desire show up effortlessly and easily. However, I have often gotten stuck with the Law of Attraction in the areas of abundance and love.
Despite my ability to manifest trips, money to pay a certain bill, or any other thing that struck my fancy, I would often feel the panic arise when the issue of money came up. Each time I would receive or think about a big bill, I would have to “work” to get my mindset in a place that said, “I am always taken care of and I always have more than I need…
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Sometimes I forget to remember we are energy and as energy beings, our lives consist of a series of never-ending waves, with peaks and troughs, just like the ocean. Every living creature experiences these highs and lows along with everything in between. To deny it is to deny life.
It’s when we get stuck in the bottom of the trough that our body, mind and spirit can begin to shut down. We settle deeper into the valley and find ourselves sinking through it alone, down toward the realm of despair and hopelessness. I’ve had some experience with this in my life. Many of us have. Opening is written for all of us.
It’s as if we become frozen in our thoughts and cannot fathom any possibility of ever finding a way back up, toward the light and air and life. We must hang on for the duration of the ride. It does get better. It has no choice. We do have a choice of how to react to the feeling when despair is seeping into our thoughts.
Melancholy, like all else, does not last forever. Everything is changing, always. Nothing stands still in nature. It’s just a temporary lull in our energy body. We hold on because we know in our hearts things will get better. Nothing stays the same. It cannot.
Perhaps a change of scenery wakes us, or maybe talk therapy or sometimes medication, or a combination of these. We can choose to self-medicate, but it doesn’t help much and can make us feel worse. We owe it to ourselves and anyone we care about to hang on and get help. It’s always just a phone call away. We can also learn to be proactive.
We finally begin surfing back up the trough slowly toward the peak. When we finally reach it, we ride it with exuberance and joy, wanting the feeling to last forever. It cannot. We must focus on the joy we feel throughout our body; our happiness in that very moment. We must remember this feeling. It keeps us centered.
It is this beautiful memory that carries us through the next trough. It will come. When we prepare ourselves for it, we can remember and choose to ride through it much more easily and spend less time there.
Like nature, we sometimes shine brightly and other times not so much. If every sunrise was spectacular every day, completely predictable, the joy in watching it would fade quickly.
Birds will continue to sing and wind still blows. Rain falls down and leaves grow out. Seasons change for a reason. Nature needs her rest to gather energy for the next growth spurt. We remember this and know it deep in our bones. We begin again with our soul slate wiped clean, ready for a new day. We learn and grow. We open up to life.
When I see a particularly beautiful sunrise, I feel washed in perfection. Most mornings the sun comes up without much color or depth. That’s what makes a spectacular sunrise all the more special. It is rare and unique, just like each of us.
If we try to keep a baby from walking or a tree from budding or a star from shining, how successful do you think we will be? Opening reminds us to allow the darkness of the trough and sit with it for a time, because after the darkness, the sun always rises again in the eastern sky.
It gets easier and easier to navigate all the different waves of our lives, up and down and up again. We begin to notice as we surf, the peaks and valleys become easier each time. We come to see life as magical and beautiful. This is where contentment lives.