The other night, I watched a TedTalk by Justine Musk – “The art of the deep yes”. In it, she spoke about saying “No” to certain things that take up too much energy and being more selective about how you share and direct your energy. Which got me thinking…or overthinking…about how I balance and my own energy.
What is Energy?
Without getting overly scientific, the dictionary defines energy as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.
Energy is in everything we do, think and feel; we are energy. When we direct our actions or project our thoughts or emotions toward anything, we are giving it our energy. So, imagine using all of that strength and vitality and directing it in a million different directions – family, work, social, eating, exercising, the news, books, TV shows etc.
Every part of our lives requires some level of energy, this makes it critical to pay attention to what we allow to absorb our time and energy and to observe where we can make changes, mentally, physically and emotionally, to protect our resources.
Once you become more aware of where your energy is going, you can begin to find ways to eliminate the things that drain you and start investing in the thoughts and activities that serve you.
“Protect your resources so you can channel them toward your own goal.” ~ Justine Musk
Imagine poking a tiny hole in a water balloon and watching water slowly leak out. Now, poke another hole, and watch the water come out of that. And a third hole and so on. Now, (without getting too technical in where the holes are etc.) imagine you are the balloon and those holes are areas that hold your attention, and the water pouring out is your energy. If you have energy spilling from all sides, eventually, it will become difficult to manage the leaks, all of the water will drain, and you will not even be able to account for where that water went…
The things that hold our thoughts and attention, the things we do, or anything that generates a reaction of any kind, is a use of energy and resources. So ask yourself – what are you thinking about every day? What activities are you engaging in on a day-to-day? What is tugging at your heartstrings on a regular basis? Are they helping you move toward your goals or hindering you? What can you eliminate from your life that is using up unnecessary resources?
Balance comes in the moment when you stand up for the life you truly want for yourself, by making choices that align with that. ~ Unknown
One example is TV. It could be such a time sink and energy drainer. We invest so much time in two (or ten) shows, they get you all emotional, and sometimes that feeling lasts for days. Getting upset about a fictional character that died or a relationship that failed. I mean, those are not even our stories and we invest so much in them. Read my article here about the benefits of cutting down on or eliminating TV altogether.
Another form of energy management is to control your reactions. For example, if you know you will encounter traffic if you leave certain time or take a certain route, getting upset about it is not going to change a thing, so work on managing your own reaction to it instead. Self-control takes practice, but your reaction to a circumstance dictates the level of energy, you will or will not expend (non-reaction is a skill that can be developed, which I will talk about in another post).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you shut yourself out from society, and I’m also not telling you to sit around and avoid anything that may trigger an emotional reaction or exhaust your resources. You need these situations to arise so you can practice the art of self-control and learn to channel your strength and vitality effectively.
Over time, when you bring awareness into your daily activities and begin to identify what brings joy and what doesn’t, you will want to focus more on the joyful things and eventually notice that the spaces you focus on begin to expand. This is true for anything, good or bad, because that level of focus is directing and driving your energy to that one area, and like the water balloon example if the water continues to flow in that one controlled direction, there is no choice but to fill and expand it. This is why it was so important not to focus on bullshit.
Protect Your Resources
When you eliminate the parts of your life that annoy or frustrate you, you create space for the things you enjoy and actually want to focus on and do, whatever that is for you; yourself, family, personal goals etc. It’s not just the time that you are saving that you could make better use of, it is the energy you are preserving for other, more productive activities.
When you say “no” to the things you do not want to participate in, you are saying “yes” to yourself. When you say “no” to negative thoughts and reactions the minute they arise out of habit, you are saying “yes” to a more positive outlook and subconsciously taking your power back. Over time, this practice will become easier and you will begin to follow your intuition, doing what you want to do, and feeling how you really want to feel. You are finding ways to tap into your inner guide.
“Behind every “no” is a deeper “yes” to whatever it is that you do want.” ~ Justine Musk
Make the time for the things that make you happy. Be around the people that bring the best out of you. Think the thoughts that make you feel good. Let go of the things you cannot change. If you cannot change them, why even worry about them? Change yourself! That is where your power is.