Becoming energized: developing a zest for life from the wellspring inside

I awake and lie in bed, thinking of all the things I could accomplish today. My house is a mess. I just returned from a trip, and there is stuff everywhere to put away–both from rushing around before the trip and from the trip itself. Not only that, but there is just stuff everywhere. My husband and I are in the middle of a major project to declutter our life. Our stuff is driving me crazy! My goal is to get rid of everything unnecessary so we can travel the world without too much baggage. Every time I look around at all the clutter we still have, I feel my energy draining away.

On days when my husband is gone at school, I try to get a ton done, but I just cannot seem to make headway. Instead I scan paper after paper, trying to digitize my files, and the lethargy sets in. I look around at all the dishes, think about how many hours I spent on them yesterday, and just cannot find the willpower to clean the kitchen today. I glance around the living room and see all my daughter’s toys scattered everywhere, but I cannot find it in me to pick them up. So that is how my husband finds me when he gets home–depressed and bored.

Today in my contemplation I took the question of energy. Where does my energy come from? What gives me the ability to get things done?

Have you ever worked a job you hated? I have, several times, and I find myself just barely able to go through the motions. I count the hours until I can leave. On the other hand, I have had plenty of energy for most of the jobs I have had. My creativity was stimulated, my problem-solving skills were in demand, and people were depending on me to finish my projects. I derived energy from the things I had to do. So much so that I became completely unbalanced, not having energy for fun or life outside of work. I simply was not happy unless I was working or thinking about work.

Now there is a certain energy to be derived from working with other people: the synergy that comes from sharing a common goal and working towards it together. I used to love that kind of thing, but at the end of the day, I would be miserable, knowing that I was not living out my true self.  So I no longer want to live my life for other people’s goals.

Even though I am not working at a job with a team of people right now, I still rely on other people’s energy an awful lot. This is not necessarily a bad thing–I feel the synergy when my husband and I work together on decluttering, and I have been very inspired lately by reading blogs such as Married with Luggage and Miss Minimalist. Married with Luggage inspired me to take big steps to change my life into the way I want it to be. Miss Minimalist inspires me to get rid of the crap from my old life that is keeping me from coming into my new life. The other day I read her post about a minimalist kitchen, and I got up, walked into my kitchen, and took a whole box of stuff out and into the storage room (I’ll garage sale or thrift store it all later after I see what it is like to live without it).

Yet I find that other people’s energy is not enough to sustain me, and reading blogs can turn into a distraction that keeps me from having to face the big jobs in my path, like cleaning out my pantry and selling stuff on ebay.

When I start to feel drained, I often turn to cooking and eating. While cooking is an activity that I enjoy, and food does give energy to my physical body, it does not deliver much energy to my soul. Instead it often has the opposite effect of making me even more lethargic.

So in my contemplation today, I realized that all those papers I am scanning have a low energy flow. Even though it feels good to be rid of them, I am not getting through them fast enough to keep up my energy while I declutter. Moreover, those papers are not my source of life; actually they are something I am trying to rid myself of.

In reality, all those sources of energy–working with others, reading inspirational writing, eating, doing stuff, having stuff, decluttering stuff–all come from outside me. Though I can feel energized from these sources, the energy does not last. It does not make me reverberate with a steady hum from who I really am, and at the end of the day, I feel low, like nothing got done, and I go to bed depressed. My happiness comes from what I have accomplished, and I usually have not accomplished enough to feel happy with myself.

I dream of the day when I can look around at my house and see hardly anything in it. I think then my energy will be able to flow more freely, yet I have come to the realization that as long as I derive my energy from outside sources, I will never be happy or balanced. Worse, I will never be myself. Always striving for yet another project just to try wring a little more energy from it, to live a little longer–all this effort pales in comparison to true reality. When I gaze at the ball of fire inside that is God, decluttering my puny little papers seems like a stupid way to try to get energy.

What I heard this morning centers around the meaning of the name “Jehovah,” the English version of the Jewish name of God. I was taught that “Jehovah” means something like “I am that I am.” This has been a powerful idea for me every time that I contemplate the being-ness of God. I got the idea this morning that “Jehovah” is not only the identity of God, but also of each of God’s children. That is the part of me that is divine: I am that I am. I am who I am. I am not saying that I am the person of Jehovah, but that I am the person of myself. I am.

And in my being, there is a wellspring of abundant energy, not just to scan puny papers, but to really LIVE. Living off the energy of doing stuff is fake. It’s a fraud. It’s nothingness and distraction and lifelessness and busywork that keeps me from living. I cast it off!

In contemplation, I center myself on who I am. As I come into the core of my being, I tap into a limitless well of energy that will never run dry.

Today I challenge myself that whenever I feel my energy running low, I am going to close my eyes to the outside world and contemplate, even if just for a minute. I hope that in this way, I can connect to the energy of my being, not my doing.

How do you get energy? Do you find it easy to derive energy from the core of your being? Do you have any method you use to switch to “being energy” from “doing energy”? Let me know in the comments.

3 Comments to “Becoming energized: developing a zest for life from the wellspring inside”

  1. this is how it feels moving into and living in a renovation; thanks for making me not feel alone

  2. I have long believed that we don’t own things, things end up owning us. As a single woman (Scotland) with no fall-back on husband’s salary, on my third owned property… At 27 I thought i was buying my own place, and upgrading each time, remodelling and decorating it how I wanted and one day live there with no obligations. But there will always be taxes to pay, and the more stuff that owns me the more need to buy a bigger place. At 41 I end up decorating with a view to ‘what if I needed to sell it?’ and still have flattened boxes for next time I need to move. I bought into the Great Con.

    Hung up on my boyfriend tonight, as we are generally great together but he can’t get over the need to get rid of things, in fact pre-me he almost bankrupted himself remortgaging to buy crap he doesn’t need and/or has never used in years (still in the wrapper) while neglecting basic vet treatment for dog and cat. He still suffers from the finacial fallout, and vacations are at my expense. His place is more suitable than mine for self-sustainable living, However if he can’t fit me and my basics in – and what he wants more than anything is this woman to share his life with – then what is the point of having all that stuff? He is a truly lovely but disorgainzed person, has made great progress, but still can’t get his front door open! Five motorbikes in the garage, only one works. At least both of mine (summer and winter) run, and I have a fall-back to get me to work if the other one won’t start… is that a hobby or an excuse?!

    Agree re the paperwork, most of mine is going to the shredder/brazier. I have access to a high-speed scanner to digitize it all, but the whole process is soul destroying even though it is well ordered.

    And totally agree re job. I work for a big multinational, who publish scientific research which I do believe is valuable to a wide audience and I enjoy my work. But I take on too much both inside and outside of my job, which seems to use up a vast amount of my grace energy reserve. How to backtrack and take on simpler living is something I have been asking myself for some time now…

    How do I get energy? During the summer months there are many bike rallies (100s to 1000s of bikers attending) where we all kip in a field for Friday to Sunday, with wetwipes, dry shampoo and portaloos comprising hygiene, and for some reason being outdoors with like-minded mingers recharges my batteries. I have suggested to dear BF that hols may take this form if he doesn’t get it together, but I think that’s not a bad thing. I have camped in Glencoe in the winter at -10C and enjoyed it, albeit one’s bladder has the bad habit of contracting after one is settled in one’s sleeping bag – but maybe it is the way forward :-)

    • I don’t think it’s wrong to have a hobby, but I do think that too many hobbies are bad for the soul. If you love your bikes and use them frequently, I don’t see a problem with that. My husband had stuff to do probably 20 different hobbies before we moved. He sold or gave away almost all of them, with me encouraging him to just focus on one thing, which is his drawing ability. I am so proud of him for letting go of stuff he has had for 20 years and barely used, and for giving up the idea of being a carpenter / tile setter / house painter / fine artist / lots of other things. We just moved with about 6 suitcases to Ecuador, and that is for both of us and our baby. It’s still too much, but we simply ran out of time to figure out whether we really need the rest of our stuff.

      As for giving up paperwork, I discovered that it is much faster to take pictures of everything than to scan it, as long as it is something that I just need to be able to read and don’t necessarily need to look perfect. I ended up getting rid of all my files and nearly all of my husband’s files that way.

      I hope you and your boyfriend can work out your differences or be able to move on. In relationships, there are usually things people have in common and things they don’t, but I am very glad that my husband and I are in agreement on the really big things, like the desire to have a relationship with God without religion, the desire to be free of too much clutter and live in another country, and the desire to live a simple life rather than be in bondage to some corporation.

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