“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”
— Joseph Campbell
Here begins our four-week exploration of the conscious use of energy. This week, we’ll look at spiritual energy—how a sense of purpose beyond personal pleasure and survival can provide both fuel for our life journeys and a means of focusing that energy in the service of an "experience of being alive.” In the following weeks we’ll look at the physical, mental and emotional aspects of energy.
As I write this, I’m feeling tension because there are other things I feel I am neglecting in order to sit and compose this newsletter. I have chosen to turn my phone off, delay checking my e-mail, and ignore some household chores that await my attention. In addition to coaching I have a business writing and editing and providing marketing support for several businesses. There are projects I want to finish today for my clients and there’s a strong urge to attend to them NOW. Fear is whispering in my ear, “If you don’t do these other things first you’re going to lose your livelihood and be out on the street.”
And yet the reason this newsletter is going out today instead of earlier in the week is because I kept putting other projects ahead of this one and then running out of steam at the end of the day before I had done more than write a note here and there as part of drafting this. Does this sound familiar to you or am I the only being on this planet who feels torn apart by competing priorities and then finds himself running farther and farther behind?
Have you ever watched a bird bringing food to a clutch of hungry nestlings? The babies are insatiable and competing loudly to “Feed me, FEED ME!” I know I’m projecting, but the mama or papa bird always seems so harried and exhausted to me. That’s probably because I feel that way myself much more often than I want to.
All of these tasks are important and I intend to perform them. How do I choose what to focus on in this moment? How can I be more intentional instead of reactive? For that I need a map and a compass. The map is my guiding “big picture” vision of what my life looks like when I’m at my best. The compass is the clear awareness that I use to evaluate my choices so I can pick the right one in this moment that will keep me in alignment with that vision. We started talking about this a few weeks ago in our session on “Living from the Inside Out.”
I am choosing to write this newsletter right now because I remembered the joy and sense of meaning I get from doing this work and sharing it with you and the way it feeds my spirit. When I finish, I’ll take a few breaths, look at the map, and choose the next thing I’m going to do. The fears will arise and I’ll remember the joy and turn to face it. Again and again and again.
Here’s another opportunity to work on creating your map. Pick three personal qualities you value. For this week, I’m choosing courage, kindness, and creativity.
How will you apply these qualities to the next decision you make? How will you remind yourself to come back to them when the busyness of your life and its competing demands distract you?
Set aside some time to reflect on this and write down your intentions. As the week unfolds be sure to give yourself credit each time you remember and each time you notice that you have forgotten. Reward the behavior you want to reinforce; don’t punish yourself for what doing you don’t want.
Who you are is important! Remember that!
Copyright 2008 Eugene Y. Smith, III. All rights reserved.