Are any of you feeling this way right now – tired, drained, sucked dry by life? Tapped out, so to speak. I’ve never really thought about the phrase “tapped out” before this morning, but if it refers to the idea of a keg or beer barrel being drunk from to the point of dryness, I’m there. I feel like each day I refill myself enough to just get through the day, but then life drinks me up – my students, my writing, my life in general – and by the time I hit bed, I’m drained again. To be honest, sometimes this feeling is good – like I’ve given all I have to give without holding anything back – but sometimes, when these days come one after the other as they usually do during this part of the semester, I don’t take much joy in this. I simply make it through each day.
That said, I am reminding myself of what I’ve been taught about rejuvenation.
1. I need silence sometimes. Complete silence. No music, no movie, no conversation. Just silence. So yesterday, before I taught my night class, I turned off the music, leaned back in my office chair (I might have laid on the floor if I knew how clean it was), closed my eyes, and just sat there. In those moments – about ten minutes actually – I felt a little tiny spring of energy pour into the basic of my spirit. And then I had enough to get through one more class.
2. I need relaxation, real relaxation. My yoga teacher tells us that we each need to rest – with no stimulus – for 15 minutes a day. I absolutely know what she means. Sometimes the noise of even the radio makes me start to vibrate with frustration and anxiety. In those moments, I need to learn to step back, make silence, and let myself wind down. When I’m all tight and nervous, I can’t absorb energy at all.
3. I need to realize that it is only God, the Divine, that can really fill me up. If I try to do it myself, I’m just leeching strength. If I look to other people to do it for me, I will be disappointed, even though my dear ones always mean well. I must learn, again, that God is the source. Here’s what Thomas Merton says, “God is a consuming fire. [God] alone can refine us like gold, and separate us from the slag and dross of our selfish individualities to fuse us into this wholeness of perfect unity that will reflect [God’s] own Triune Life forever. As long as we do not permit [God’s] love to consume us entirely and to unite us in [Godself], the gold that is in us will be hidden by the rock and dirt which keep us separate from one another” (New Seeds of Contemplation And that, for me, is the key. I feel often very separate from other people, as is part of the nature of humanity, but part of the reason that separation exists, I feel, is because I keep letting the “dross” and “dirt” of life to get in the way. I keep clinging to things – my identity as I see it, my pride, my control – as ways to bring myself contentment. But the reality is that it’s only when I let those things go, when I let myself be truly free in the glory that is God, that I can actually be rejuvenated rather than “tapped out” by life. This teaching is true for my faith, Christianity, but is also in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam – this seems to be a basic tenet of God’s nature. If we but allow God to move through us, then we live from the power of God. The question I must ask myself is how to keep that in mind . . .
May you have energy and strength for today, and may you know God loves you deeply.