Sometimes the “things that happen” are small. Last night my little guy woke up at midnight with a stomach bug and he and I spent most of the night huddled on the bathroom floor with him whimpering or vomiting or napping and me stroking his head and whispering soothing motherly words while wondering how on earth I’d have the energy to get through the jam-packed upcoming day. And yet here I am. Getting through it with some reserve of energy that presented itself just when I needed it.
And sometimes the things are big. An unexpected turn of events that radically reshapes the plans we had for the rest of our tomorrows. The reserves we require to navigate these changes are far more significant and require more careful cultivation to have available when they are needed. It doesn’t matter if the unexpected event is catastrophic or overwhelmingly joyous – it calls upon us to deliver energy we never knew we had. I’ve had a few of these show up lately too – fortunately all of the joyful variety – but they require energy in order to say “YES” to them!
I often talk to my clients about the idea of creating energy for life’s possibilities. When we dream together about what their very best life would look like and they immediately articulate a clear vision and their path to get there (trust me – sometimes it happens!), I try to get them to leave room in that vision for the unexpected. For the husband’s new job in another city. For the birth of another child. For the blossoming of a hobby into a passion. For an accelerated promotion. For illness or injury or winning the lottery!
When we hold tightly to control over our original plans (and yes, I’m absolutely prone to do this, too) we can miss the even bigger things the world has planned for us. Staying open to the wonder of possibilities – living the questions so to speak – allows for a much richer life.
Yet, to take advantage of those opportunities, we need to have energy in reserve. If life shows up with a big, beautiful, wrapped present and we’re too tired to open it, we simply miss out. There’s rarely a second chance to say YES when life offers us an opportunity.
It’s why I feel so strongly about living a vibrant, energized life and about NOT walking around in a chronic state of depletion. Moments of depletion? Normal. (Just ask the woman who was up all night on the bathroom floor!) But a life of depletion? Daunting! Finding ways to replenish ourselves in small everyday ways (a walk outside at lunchtime, a killer iPod mix for the morning run, a jar of sun tea on the patio) and through bigger, more intentional actions (a spa day, sending the kids to Grandma’s for a weekend, a family summer vacation, a sabbatical or leave of absence) funnels energy into our reserve so it’s there when we most need it. These activities also clear our minds enough to SEE the possibilities set before us. In our daily head-down, fast-paced, don’t-get-in-my-way lives we rarely pick our heads up long enough to see the big gift that may be sitting in front of us. It shows up as a distraction or an obstacle rather than as a possibility.
If you’re living in a state of depletion, you can feel it. Ask yourself why you’re allowing this to happen. What would have to be true to find moments of replenishment? What would it take to carve out a real chunk of time for more intense renewal? What’s stopping you? Your best life is waiting for you to be ready to take it on….