Interpreters have big hearts
As practitioners in a profession that demands the full and undivided attention of our bodies and minds, burn out is a legitimate risk if our hearts are not engaged in an equally inspiring task. When we show up day after day, with the belief that only our hands are valued, we can feel resentful, compartmentalized, and lethargic–all of our effort is going out and none is coming in. Energy doesn’t work this way; this is not sustainable.
The well runs dry
Life depends on a cycle of energy use and replenishment. Energy is a commodity that we depend on, yet so often we don’t pay attention to where we receive it. We have an amazing capacity for sustained work as long as we are receiving the nourishment and inspiration we need to keep our well replenished. If we’re continuously giving, and rarely receiving, that well runs dry and we come to a grinding screeching halt. This imbalance in our lives and the stress it causes can lead to all sorts of nasty ailments: body pains & injuries, illness, trouble sleeping, a general sense of crabbiness, and feeling stuck. No one likes these things.
In these moments of feeling trapped by the weight of the world, change seems like the last thing we have energy for. Mustering the creativity or the motivation to do something different is daunting, and so usually we don’t. Maybe we’ve tried it before and it didn’t work. We’re too tired and can’t manage to even think about it. We don’t know what we’d do differently even if we wanted to. Our world looks like a dry, prickly desert, with no water for miles.
Your life is the sacrifice
If we choose to trudge on like this, the price we pay is in our quality of life. Sure, we are breathing. Our hearts are beating. But are we really alive? No. Not according to my definition. For me aliveness involves excitement about waking up each day, happiness and joy when I see the beauty that surrounds me–not just aesthetically but spiritually: the wonder of life taking place and people finding their way–continuing to get up, even when I’m bruised, rising because I know the responsibility for my life is all mine. I want to secure a steady supply of water, because I am creating something extraordinary with this one precious life of mine.
Receiving is your responsibility
Fortunately water is not scarce. It can be found in every nook and cranny, often right under our noses if we open our eyes for long enough to see it. A smile from a stranger passing by = a drop. The hug of an old friend = a drip. A 10 minute walk in the woods = a glug, and so on…until pretty soon the well is full. These are the moments we can miss so easily if we are looking down. But when really savored, these tiny offerings can make the difference between drought and abundance.
2 Tips for Keeping Your Well Topped Off
1. Stand in the river
Put yourself in the flow of the give and take of life. Find a way to utilize your gifts and talents, and share them with others. You may think that this will deplete energy, but the truth is giving helps us to engage in the cycle of life and this brings energy back to us. Seek out those rivers in your life: a spiritual practice or community, running, yoga, being in nature, volunteering. The activities that feed you may be different, but you will know it when you engage in it by the energy and inspiration that it brings you.
2. Recognize the water that surrounds you
There is wonderful goodness all around, you need not look far. Right now I’m seated on a beautiful comfortable bench, made by my partner. This handmade piece of furniture is a gift of labor & love to our family every day. Kaden, my son, just looked up from his project and said, “Mom, I love you.” When I remember to stop and really take that in, feeling gratitude and love pour in and fill my well, I am recognizing that water. There are so many times throughout our days that we are faced with these gifts. The choice is ours to pay attention.
In the coming weeks I will be highlighting interpreters who have put themselves into the river by engaging in work that feeds their spirits creatively and gives them a sense of purpose. These Interpreters with Bright Focus can be examples and sources of inspiration for each of us as we move toward what sustains us in our lives. My personal vision is that creating and participating in this flow of energy, making sure that my well is continuously replenished, allows me to show up in the world as my best self in order to be of service to others. I hope that you will join me in discovering what you really want to create in your life when your well is there to sustain you.