©2011 Joan M. Newcomb
Years ago I worked for a spiritual organization. I loved my job but the schedule was challenging, a 70 hour week, 300 mile commute with one weekend off a month. Because it was spiritual, I thought I was working for God. And I had two kids, in preschool and kindergarten. I was totally fried.
As some point I woke up and realized I could serve God by volunteering in my kids' classrooms and doing weddings. I realized my relationship with my children would have a stronger impact on the world than impressing people on a Sunday morning. I quit the organization and for the last sixteen years have been doing my own spiritual growth business.
Since then, I have shied away from a full schedule. But in 2009 my youngest went to college and my energy was renewed to take on more. At the same time I increased my workload, my husband was laid off. And then in the summer my dog had surgery for cancer.
Through it all I've used my techniques and my awareness to stay on track, to have a higher perspective, to keep learning and growing. Yet I was struggling with the Eff word -- effort.
For the last several months, I've been in burnout mode. And I know better. I know that the energy of effort stops spiritual creation. I know you can 'work smarter, not harder' and be more prosperous.
In the "real world", effort is rewarded. People admire hard workers. An employee gets bonus points for showing up early and leaving late. Nobody questions what their home life must be like, much less their inner life.
People judge those who seem to have it easy, labeling them as lazy, when in reality they have figured out how to get off the hamster wheel and make real progress in life!
In the Bible it says God made the world in six days and 'on the seventh He rested'. So even the Supreme Being takes breaks! Actually, the story is a message on taking care of one's body. As Spirit we can be everywhere at once, our energy is boundless and our creativity neverending. Our phyical body needs to sleep every night and some need regular naps as well.
Kris Carr of CrazySexyLife.com shared her own coach's prescription for taking time off: 1 night a week, 1 weekend day and night each weekend, every 3-4 weeks a long weekend (Fri-Sun) and every 6-8 weeks a long weekend. (For people who are self-employed, even taking an evening off from marketing and email seems impossible!)
When you're over worked, you're disconnected from Source and running on empty. In Joan Borysenko's new book "Fried", she says the symptoms of burnout are similar to depression, but antidepressants don't work. You need to renew your zest for life (and her book contains suggestions and exercises how to do just that).
For me I haven't lost my zest for life, in fact I have a stack of ideas I'd love to take action on, I just haven't had the time or energy. It's become obvious I need change my schedule and what I'm doing.
In March I'm going to do less one-time readings and focus more on on-going client connections, through classes and coaching. I'll be developing ways for people to stay connected with me to fit different budgets.
Stay tuned for new developments!
So, where has the Eff word taken over your life? Where are you spinning your wheels? Where have you been putting in a lot of effort and showing no results? Wherever or whatever it is, this week STOP and take some time off. Sneak out to a matinee movie. Go to the local aquarium or zoo. Schedule an appointment with yourself and take a nap. And notice how much more actually gets done, with less effort!