The winter here in Australia seems to be biting down on people. I’m getting more inquiries than usual from clients who want to do something with their people who are really struggling with focus, energy and motivation.
“We are all tired and sick.”
“Don’t know how to keep people’s energy up, it feels like the winter won’t end.”
“People are feeling so jaded. I mean, is this what we can expect now?”
“It seems almost irrelevant to plan too much for the future. We’re just trying to get through each day, yet I know that’s not the right attitude to have.”
If this speaks to you, please read on (and check out a limited time offer program I’m running called Ember, to help with this. Details at the end of the newsletter).
It is really hard to authentically plan for and embrace a more optimistic future when we are frustrated with the past and weary in the present.
In these times, the answer is not necessarily more rest or time out – though you know I am a firm believer of both. But even with holidays and breaks people can still feel tired and lacking their spark. It may be, as poet David Whyte writes in Crossing the Sea, “You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest? … The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”
Wholeheartedness requires bringing all of our heart and experience into view and holding it with love and attentiveness. This includes that which we’ve lost, have been disappointed by, tried and failed, sickness merry-go-rounds, great plans for that didn’t work out… These losses we usually banish, avoid or try to work over the top of – but doing this only increases our malaise and lack of motivation.
This makes then any creation of the future at best an iteration of an already difficult past.
A foundation for wholeheartedness is to bring the past into focus.
It’s not something to ‘get over’, or ‘move on from’ or ‘stop complaining about.’ Let it be seen, felt, heard, and acknowledged.
We can do this by
- honouring the journey to date
- powerfully completing disappointments or failures with love and compassion, and
- celebrating how you’ve grown and what’s been achieved. (Even in the mire there is always a new seed or two.)
Without this recognition and honouring, the renewal of hope that we desperately need, along with the energy to bring it about, is very hard to achieve.
So how to do this?
Those that work with me know I love some good questions!
Some questions to help you bring the past into view for thoughtful reflection might include:
- What’s been tough for me this past ___ (insert your own time frame)
- Where did I struggle?
- What am I disappointed in?
- How did I keep going when things got tough?
- When did I show bravery?
- What am I proud of?
- What have I accomplished that I feel really good about. (It doesn’t even have to be something others would agree was amazing. But for you, you did it, and you feel so good about that.)
- What do I own about myself that I made happen?
- What am I not proud of?
- Where did I not show up as powerfully as I could? (Can I feel into that, notice the spiky edges, and let it soften?)
- What have I been holding on to, and that’s no longer serving me? (Hurts? Betrayals? Regrets? Things I’ve done to others? Things done to me?)
Completion is a huge part of coming into alignment again. Being complete isn’t about pretending things didn’t happen. It’s about bringing wholeness and healing to all that you have experienced.
- What needs to be said, done or let go for me to be complete? (This might be a conversation to be had, support to take up. It might be a ritual you do – I love writing stuff down and burning it, and even do this with some clients!) Sometimes simply acknowledging it all – that yes this has been tough but look how I have come through – is enough to be complete.
When we honour and recognise what’s been hard that we’ve been through, a new future becomes possible. Pay attention to what embers start to light once you’re complete with what was. Look out for new hope or fortitude that is now available to you – even if it’s the smallest light.
Till next week,
With much love