I’ve been in kind of a fog recently. I guess you could call it brain-fog, but it’s not quite that bad though. It’s more like a state of anticipation, on the verge of being anxiety. I feel like I haven’t been thinking clearly.
I’ve been very busy planning my pilgrimage on the way of St. James, figuring out what I need to take with me, what I should leave behind, and constantly reassuring myself.
Doubt and fear have been making regular appearances in my mind in the last few weeks. I’m no longer fully in the wonderful state of bliss I experienced after my last mushroom trip, although the experience was very helpful for me to overcome the residual depression of my midnight of the soul.
After that beautiful trip I felt invincible, fully at peace and present, for a whole month. Much of that bliss can be attributed to the fact that I started to meditate for two hours every day and writing many pages in my journal daily. I also started this blog after some magnificent revelations, and it continues to give me a sense of purpose and happiness.
However, after a few weeks I felt that wonderfully peaceful feeling starting to fade, as I became immersed in everyday life once more. The feeling never faded completely, and with mindfulness I’m able to reconnect to it without much hassle, but it takes some effort. And that’s fine. Life would be boring if there weren’t ups and downs.
One thing I learned in the last few weeks, a sort of epiphany, was that as life starts to get more stressful, the first things to be thrown overboard tend to be our most nourishing activities.
For example, when all the ‘important’ stuff starts to pile up, like having to pay rent, or looking for work, or traveling to my grandparents for my granddad’s 87th birthday, the things I started to cut down on to make the time for it were meditation, journaling and reading.
Now, writing it out like this makes me feel a bit ridiculous, because I know from bitter experience what happens when I don’t give myself the time I need to do these nourishing activities. It happens slowly, but it’s also insidious. Our energy slowly drains, and having removed the things that normally replenish it, it just keeps draining.
This becomes dangerous. Literally. It’s called burnout. In my own life, it came to the point of suicidal thoughts. Granted, that was after a horrific illness had shredded me down to a shadow of my former self (makes me sound like Voldemort). It’s a very real thing, and way worse than you think if you haven’t experienced it for yourself.
What I’ve been working on today is figuring out what exactly drains my energy, and what replenishes it. We can split our day into two rough categories, plus and minus.
For me, my morning might look something like this:
Wake up, get a glass of water and drink it – PLUS
Sit down for an hour meditation session – PLUS
Have a cup of organic black tea – PLUS
So far so good right? Starting the day off like this is wonderful, and gives you the energy you need to tackle the less attractive things you need to do. But what if it looks more like this.
Wake up to the sound of my phone ringing – MINUS
Talk to a pushy salesman on the phone, trying to hang up – MINUS
Realize I don’t have time to meditate any more, or have tea – MINUS MINUS
Rush to school/work – MINUS
Shitty. This happens. We try to plan our day, to make it the way we want it to be, but sometimes something comes up, something doesn’t go the way we expected, or we just oversleep. Does that actually have to ruin our entire day though? I don’t believe so.
We have a tendency to manifest our day as a continuation of the way it started. What I mean is that if we have a shitty morning, we project that shittiness out onto the rest of our day.
In the second example, I can a) go to school, work all day on minus activities, then go home exhausted and watch TV or whatever, or I can b) go to school, work on minus activities but taking frequent breaks for mindful contemplation, to make up for my lack of morning meditation, and even go home early to have time to chill out and have a cup of tea.
Sometimes we feel like something requires our full attention, so much attention that we can’t afford to do the things we enjoy and give us meaning. But nothing is that important. Would I lose my job to keep my sanity? Absolutely. It’s all a question of priorities. I know it’s hard to put yourself first, but it is a choice.
After experiencing burnout first hand, I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience, and it’s a hole that’s difficult to get out of. For your own sake, make the decision now to put yourself, your energy, your love and joy and awareness before all else.
Until next time, much love.