Energy conservation is one of the biggest conversations of today. Yet, few are talking about conserving the most precious resource of all — your personal energy. And, you need it more than ever before. Especially if you value inner peace.
Everyday there are countless demands vying for your personal energy and attention. How much energy do you need to sustain your household, finances, health, families, businesses, marriages and friendships? How much more energy is needed if your intention is to thrive in these areas? Throw in a surprise health emergency, uncertainties with the economy or another family crisis and you’ll soon be running on empty. Perhaps worse, you’ll be cranky, argumentative and snappy with those you love.
As important as personal energy is, we all know how easy it is to waste precious energy with procrastination, fear, stress, worry, preoccupation or emotional reactions. It happens, doesn’t it?
These three traps could be unnecessarily zapping precious energy from you. Energy that could go toward growing your business or navigating your biggest challenges. Energy to ENJOY your life more fully and more peacefully.
Once aware of each trap, you can choose to bring your attention and energy back into the present moment where you’re best able to make powerful choices.
Trap #1. Artificially Speeding Things Up.
You artificially try to speed things up when you resist the here and now, while simultaneously wishing for a future that can’t occur in this moment, but — that inevitably WILL come to pass as part of destiny.
It’s a lot like trying to force bread to bake before its perfect time. You can pace, open the oven door, hope or pray, but in the end the dough becomes bread when it does. And, by artificially trying to speed things up, we may actually be slowing the process down!
Have you ever walked a very enthusiastic dog? At the end of the leash they keep pulling and tugging, expending LOTS of needless energy. Since you are in charge (much the way God is in our lives), you’re only going to walk as fast as you’d like. At best, you may speed up a tiny bit. But, generally, all the excessive tugging only wears out your enthusiastic dog, robbing him of valuable energy that could be used to chase a cat, eat a bone or play with the children. Your dog is artificially trying to speed things up. Who knows, if he weren’t trying so hard to speed things up, MAYBE through the natural flow, and you not having to counter-resist your dog’s eagerness, you’d actually reach your destination sooner while enjoying the journey.
Here’s another example: let’s say I’m driving in traffic, running late for an appointment. If I’m resisting this reality and the potential future reality of being late (which may or may not occur), I may be artificially trying to speed things up. Of course, this is impossible, right? Traffic flows, as traffic flows. There is only so much weaving in and out of cars I can do. To the extent I resist, is the extent I needlessly waste my energy in the form of stress, frustration and irritation.
Maybe I’m in a line at the grocery store, in a boring conversation, wishing this article was already complete. I can either be squarely in the present moment, allow the line, conversation or writing to flow — or I can allow my energy to be wasted in resistance. Resistance consumes valuable energy. And, as we let go of the resistance, the flow resumes, as does our peace and fulfillment.
Why would anyone try to artificially try to speed things up in life? Perhaps they believe their pain will lessened or pleasure will be enhanced by the future that isn’t here yet. Of course, the perceived pain or pleasure is a guess, which may or may not be true in reality.
2. Artificially Slowing Things Down.
You artificially try to slow things down when you resist the here and now, while avoiding the next indicated action — that inevitably WILL come to pass as part of destiny. Simply put, we waste energy by trying to put on the brakes in life.
Procrastination, fear, worry are all ways we “try,” to artificially slow things down. Sometimes we’re even successful at it, for awhile. But, delaying the inevitable is painful and zaps our energy. It takes considerable energy to put off something you know needs to be done. The greater the resistance, the greater the energy drain is on you. I can actively resist doing the dishes in the sink for three days, or I can simply allow myself to take action when I’m inspired to do so. Quite often the dishes get done, the second I drop my resistance to doing them.
Many people experience this kind of resistance before April 15th each year. It may begin in January or April, but I’ve never successfully found a way to “slow down” April 15th from coming.
I’ve seen people waste considerable energy in delaying the decision to divorce, file bankruptcy or to foreclose on a home they can’t afford. They are all “artificially trying to slow things down.”
People also waste considerable energy procrastinating on a positive decisions like getting married, making an important phone call (salespeople know this one), making a purchase (big or small), writing a book or pursuing a goal or dream.
Why would anyone try to artificially try to slow things down in life? Perhaps they believe pain will result with the very next step. Of course, most of the pain is PERCEIVED pain and is more often emotional, and not actually physical pain. Will they get rejected, hurt another human being, be seen as a failure (or something unfavorable). Will they be able to handle the NEW situation? Will their current inner security somehow be threatened?
Trap #3. Resisting and Replaying the Scary Movie
As life occurs, we witness each unfolding moment, one after another. Sometimes, a situation captures our attention and we consciously or unconsciously RESIST it and then REPLAY it in our minds, again and again. If the encounter is positive, we call these “positive memories” and they add pleasure to our day. However, if there is an element of “resistance,” I liken it to a “scary movie.”
Maybe your friend misinterprets something you said and is upset at you. Maybe your spouse did something you think is disrespectful, ignored you or didn’t help out — and you’re in resistance to this. Maybe you convince yourself that something should have occurred — and it didn’t, or something should NOT have occurred — and it did. In all these scenarios, I’m assuming you are both RESISTING what happened AND REPLAYING it. Both are traps for zapping your precious energy.
THE IDEAL WORLD
In the ideal world, you’re living in the present moment. You enjoy every step of your journey. You use your personal energy and creative flow to pursue your goals and dreams with ease. You respond to each life encounter in stride, with minimal or no resistance. You understand even the painful moments are temporary, so you no longer resist and replay moments of time that caused you pain.
You know life and time is unfolding perfectly. There is no need to artificially try to speed things up and you understand trying to do so is fruitless. There is no fear of the next step because you know you can handle anything coming your way. You trust the process of life. There is no need to artificially slow things down.
This is, of course, an ideal.
I won’t pretend I do this perfectly, and don’t expect you too either. After all, we’re human. Often, simply having awareness of the three traps is enough. But, I will share with you a personal strategy I use when I catch myself indulging in one of the traps above.
Bring your energy into present time.
When I’m trying to artificially SPEED things up:
* Wishing the next 10 items on my to-do list were done (a form of resistance).
* Trying to push myself to work faster than my brain cells can keep up (there is a point of diminishing returns).
* Taking myself into a time in the future when I know the outcome of a particular situation (a version of worry).
When I’m trying to articificially SLOW things down:
* Procrastinating on an important decision or making an important phone call.
* Avoiding going to bed at night (resisting the end of the evening).
* Being fearful of how a project may be received by subscribers and NOT taking action.
When I RESIST and REPLAY:
* My husband being out of town for a week (only to find out later he doesn’t have to go).
* How a friend responded or didn’t respond to an email (why replay something that doesn’t feel good?).
* How challenging a task is going to be (Isn’t doing the task once, enough?)
Here’s what I do.
The Retractable Leash Exercise
Imagine one of those retractable dog leashes that automatically pulls the cord IN with the touch of a button.
I do this for myself – metaphorically speaking.
With a little intention and focus, I bring ALL my energy into present time. It’s as though I were pressing the button on the retractable leash. But, instead of pushing a button, I focus on my breath. I engage my five senses. I step back into my body, feeling my butt in the chair, feet on the ground and arms on my desk. I recognize, that in the here and now “all is well.” And, I acknowledge, that so far, I’ve been able to handle everything life has thrown my way. Therefore I’m destined to handle whatever comes next.
With this collected energy, I’m now better able to complete an article, make a decision, respond with love to my spouse or friend, get a full night’s sleep, take care of myself or tackle my most challenging project with inspiration.
Who knows what you may accomplish when you have a full reservoir of energy available to you?
What is your experience with these 3 traps? I’d love to hear from you.