Making Space for Your Energy to Flow

By Janie Loubser

Reading Time 5 mins

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Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.
— Albert Einstein

It happens slowly: we feel little more stressed and a little more tired. We tell ourselves to get out more; exercise more; even sleep more. Yet exhaustion is becoming a permanent feature of our lives and more and more people are coming to see me in the hope to get more energy. When I listen to how tired and overwhelmed we have become I hear a subtle question: when did life become so joyless? 


When we see exhaustion as a problem to be fixed we make lists of things to do as if we believe that energy is something that is outside of ourselves. We believe that our energy has been ‘destroyed’ and it is up to us to ‘create’ it again.  But if we look at Einstein’s quote is it possible then that we are going about it in an upside-down way? Are we by trying so hard to do the right thing causing ourselves more distress? And is this process leaving us more listless and duller than energised? Before we beat ourselves up for getting it wrong, let me just remind us that it is deeply ingrained in us to do rather than be. For some reason, as a society, we have regarded busyness as a badge of honour. 

This is one of the reasons I’m so thankful that I got to study Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction so early in my career as a clinical psychologist. It opened up a whole new world of healing and renewal. It’s also through these studies that I came across this enlightening poem by Judy Brown:

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Fire

by Judy Brown

_____

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.

A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.


Yes, we need the logs and we need to pack the fire - it is through action that we get from one place to another.
But we also need to make space so that our natural energy can flow freely. How do we do that? Sometimes we need to stop all goal directed action as well as the the incessant inner voice that fuels the never-ending action. It is when we relax that we can experience a renewed sense of energy that is already inside of us.

Join me on Instagram and Facebook as I continue to investigate this energy that’s inside us all and discover ways to allow it to flow freely. Also, I invite you to re-read Judy Brown’s poem and to keep it close (we’ve got a printable PDF version below…). It has become somewhat of a manifesto on why we need a more relaxed approach to life.

Here’s to re-energising ourselves! As Jon Kabat-Zinn writes, “As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than is wrong with you, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel.”

 
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Free Printable POSTER

3 Versions Featuring the poem ‘FIRE’ by Judy Brown