What to do when you’re tired.

I was listening to a podcast class the other day, “Breathing Space” from Hannah’s Harvest, and in it, she took us through a visualization, working with a place where you are stuck, identifying where it is in your body.  For me, it is my belly, my big, round belly, where all the pain and grief and struggle has settled.  We were asked to visualize what color it was: for me that was red, glowing hot, flames shooting from it like a raging fire, wanting to burn, destroy everything it could reach.

flaming gold

Picture by Palo

I know why there’s a fire.  For so long, I wouldn’t listen, didn’t honor this place that’s the seat of my intuition, my awareness, my truth.  It’s mad, hoarse from screaming, disgusted with trying and being ignored.  There are no more tears left, just aggression.

The visualization asked that we change the color of this space, that we honor it, heal it, release it.  I turned it blue, the exact color of the ocean and sky on a sunny day at Driftwood Beach.  The color and sound of the water. Water to put out the fire.  If I listen to it, honor it, it will let go and relax.

For the longest time, my internal mantra was “I’m so tired.”  Over and over again: I’m so tired. I’m so tired. I’m so tired. *sigh* I’m so tired.

Big yawn

Picture by Björn Rixman

A friend and I were talking about this and she suggested that feeling tired all the time can be a sign of unfulfilled purpose, that there is something you really want, something trying to be born that you are resisting or ignoring, and that struggle wears you down.  Trying to be someone you are not, and carrying the weight of unfulfilled dreams and the grief and suffering generated by that denial makes the act of simply breathing exhausting.

Of course, there’s the other kind of tired, the kind you’ve earned through direct action.  If you run a marathon, you’ll be tired.  After a long day of grading papers, for example, you’ll be tired.  But if you are tired from say the marathon, you’d don’t care for yourself by saying, “Now that I’m done with that, I guess I’ll go run another five miles.”

I struggle with both kinds of tired, with not being able to practice the sort of self-care that would allow for the necessary letting go, relaxing, and restoration.  I get in my own way when there’s something trying to be born, rather than clearing a space for it and gently coaxing it into being.  And when I am doing something that feels important, overdoing, being generous to the point of failure and collapse, I am not good at being able to see my limits, to respect them and step away and recharge.

So, I’ll make a deal with you.  I will continue to show up.  Like the lovely and loving Jen Lemen said in one of her recent blog posts,

Show up. Your presence, whether acknowledged or still unseen, is powerful and when you show up, no one can stay the same. The truth is there’s nothing like it. You, the real you, with all your faults and miscalculations, is magic.

But when I am tired, I will ask myself: am I blocking some truth that is trying to be born, or am I laboring without limit to manifest something else?  Am I being unkind to myself, either by getting in my own way or pushing too hard?  I will develop an awareness, and I will honor myself and REST.

  • How do you restore yourself when you are tired?

3 thoughts on “What to do when you’re tired.

  1. Pingback: The Thing with Teeth that Lives in the Dark « A Thousand Shades of Gray

  2. Emily

    This sentiment–that the background “I’m so tired” track that has also played in my head for many years is a symptom of energy being suppressed–rings really true for me. (But now? Now I really AM tired) (I also suppress a lot of things, so that I can get to next activity/ commitment/ enrichment-and-stability-creating thing.)


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