Is this what burnout looks like to you? It is certainly how I have felt before…
This is actually a monk seal resting (they hunt at night) on the beach in Kauai, Hawaii. If I were to be burned out again, Kauai would be a nice place for it.
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.