RUNNING ON EMPTY
Each one of us has invisible fuel tanks. We're born with them. Emotional tanks, spiritual tanks, physical tanks, all filled with potentiality. But what we don't realize, is that they are not refillable. We see this with our own aging and change of appearance. Our tank of youth runs lower and lower. A friend of mine, Forrest, once said when he was 94 ... "getting old is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end of the roll, the faster it goes." Wise words, from a wonderful man.
We have a tendency to use our fuel inadequately. At times, using more than we should. For example, if you go to the gym and work out every day, you're drawing fuel from your physical reserves. If you're going to do this, then do only this. While you're working out, leave your mind at rest. Don't think about troubles at work, bills you have to pay, whether your prayers will be answered, how to make more money ... just use your physical reserves. Draw only from your physical fuel without also drawing from emotional, intellectual, instinctual, and spiritual reserves. You'll get pretty rotten fuel mileage. It would be like driving two or three SUVS at the same time when you can do with one.
The same process works for other events in your life. If you're going to draw from your spiritual tank, do it through meditation or contemplative prayer but do it in isolation. Either among nature, or in a quiet room or setting with no distractions. Sometimes, you might want to take a walk. But spend your walk time just taking in nature. Looking at the trees, birds, flowers, lakes ... don't jet your mind wander to other stuff. Don't waste your thinking fuel, on walking energy. When you relax, then just relax. Don't mix your quiet, resting, downtime with energy reserved for logic, work, or study. Just chill. Go for a ride and empty your stress based thoughts. Let your thoughts some and go. Don't label them or judge them. Don't worry or have concern. Just enjoy the moment.
Listen to the signs that come from within you. If you're mentally tired, give the mind a break and get some extra sleep or a nap once in a while. If you push your body too hard at the gym and you have signs of pain, give it a rest for a couple of days. Be sure to take vacation time, and a 3 or 4 day weekend here and there. Do nothing, or do something. Make it YOUR time.
And while you're at it ... lose the years of guilt and fear that have overburdened you, not just emotionally, but physically as well. So you ate a burger today, so you had a soft drink today, so you had a piece of chocolate. So what? We're animals. We can handle it. Just don't overburden the body's filtration systems. Soft drinks have no nutritional value, but once a week enjoy your soda. Stay away from GMO foods whenever possible. But by all means, listen to your body, and the voice within. Balance your activities evenly. Get enough of it all, but don't try and do it all at the same time. You'll burn too much fuel, and there is no way to refill what you arrived here with. Remember, you can't eat a pizza whole, but you can cut it into pieces, and eat it once piece at a time.
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.