Sound familiar? How much of your fatigue is caused by a true medical condition, acclimation to daylight savings or jetlag, excessive caffeine late in the day, too many carbs in the diet, or not enough exercise? Does the stress of anxious thoughts play a role in your fatigue?
There’s a deep wisdom in knowing what constitutes your wet suit and life jacket when the waves rock your boat (even if the waves are factitious). A stress or spiritual toolkit can be a life saver. The following are some ideas of what you can put in your toolkit:
-lots of laughter and smiles throughout your day
-some form of creative expression
-pleasurable exercise, stretching
-time spent with supportive people or animals you love
-spiritual practices (prayer, yoga, meditation)
You can modify this toolkit in any way you like, adding things that are helpful, subtracting what isn’t useful.
What do you do when the waves are particularly large and unforgiving, when the waves leave you dizzy and disoriented, when your boat is far off course from True North? You’ve already checked your toolkit, but finding the right antidote to your distress only adds to the confusion.
In these moments, I find it’s best to keep the practice simple. Where is it easiest to locate my breath in my body? Am I exhaling fully to breathe into the here and now? Is my breath kind? Is it delivering messages of understanding and trust to all my stuck places, or adding more tension with judgements?
If these questions sound complex, you can distill the questions down to one question. Where are my mind and heart right now? Your thoughts might be in past regret or rumination, future worry or planning, or daydreaming. Trusting in the safe harbor of the present moment where life is most vibrant can be just the buoy you need in any given storm. Knowing if your heart is open or closed can also give you clues to what might energize or deplete you.
When all is said and done, I know that mindfulness is my lifejacket. It helps me float above waves of aversive thoughts and aligns me with the present moment. Metta is my wetsuit, keeping me warm against the bone-chilling criticism of how things should be, how others and I should be. Together mindfulness and metta are exactly what I need to travel in the direction of fearlessness, to orient my mindheart to True North.
What helps you travel in the direction of fearlessness, to orient your mindheart to True North? May this post inspire you to ask the question, and listen patiently for the answer.