1. Truth: I am still in the midst of burnout. Or maybe I was out and now I’m back in? I had started to feel better in spring, early summer even, but I’m finding myself back in the weeds: physical and emotional exhaustion, poor performance and feeling unaccomplished, cynicism and detachment — all the markers of burnout. I thought I was getting better, and probably was, then: COVID-19, Eric started working from home in my office so my “office” was my laptop at the kitchen table, I lost my yoga teaching gig, we canceled our trip to visit family we haven’t seen in over a year and don’t know now when we’ll see them again or if they’ll all still be there, Sam died, Angela died, the biggest wild fire Colorado has ever had burned (is burning) within 25 miles of our house, and I’m trying to prepare myself for if we have to live under the current administration for another four years. Hello, burnout. Time to return my attention back to learning as much as I can and healing this particular dis-ease.
2. Truth: Burnout is similar to the Buddhist teachings on the three types of laziness. Adreanna Limbach gives the best description I ever heard of them, says the three types are: having a lack of vision, speedy business, and disheartenment. We forget our intention, why we’ve said “yes” to something in the first place, lose our sense of purpose, and this can make us feel stuck, apathetic. Or, in a culture which sees productivity as a virtue, we fill up our time doing things that aren’t in line with our vision, our intention, our mission, and we treat busyness as a badge of honor. And finally, we might feel unworthy or disappointed in our efforts and lose patience, maybe even give up.
3. Truth: It’s hard to keep going not knowing when/if things will get better. I was trying to describe what this feels like this morning while I was writing in my journal and I came up with this: the current moment feels like running a marathon of unknown length in extreme weather with a mountain lion chasing you. It’s hard to pace yourself when there is no clear end in sight and additional dangers and complications are constantly arising. I absolutely will allow myself to feel some relief and even joy if the election goes the way I’d like it to even knowing all the work there still is to do to turn things around, and I can’t help but be wary remembering four years ago when I was so sure there would be a different outcome, and for the four years that followed, watching the level of dishonesty, abuse, and violence rise as the efforts that had been made to protect the resources we need to survive were dismantled.
One wish: We are holding space for so much, making so much effort, and doing so is tiring, disappointing, but I’m not giving up, and I hope you won’t either. Even if this ship is going down, staying connected, comforting each other as we give it everything we have, all the love and the effort — if we are together, helping and loving each other, we’ll be okay even if we fail.
I shared this in my last Something Good post, and I feel like it’s worth sharing again, says what I’m trying to say:
Every action I’ve ever taken, and ever will take, and every action that has been taken for me, creates an energy that expands out into the entire universe. And energy can never be destroyed, but only transformed, so even after I die, the energy of every good thing I’ve done and every good thing done for me will continue to ripple out forever, into eternity. There it will exist for everyone, always. ~God’s Promise by Elana Miller
Don’t give up, kind and gentle reader. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open. ❤