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After waking up feeling anxious and exhausted every morning for a week straight, I knew there was something seriously off. Yes, the feeling was familiar — it was what characterized my burnout years ago and got so heavy that I sought help — but I had thought I’d said goodbye to that particularly tiring variety of mental activity. I had thought that by learning to lean into trust, into being present…by meditating and cultivating my sense of awe and gratitude, it had dissipated for good.
The tightening in my chest, the uncertainty as to what I should do with my time, the loss of confidence had reappeared, adding a dark filter to my days. I wanted to understand it but couldn’t see it clearly enough to face it. I could quiet it for periods by diving into the zone — dancing, writing, reading, creating — but as soon as I stopped, the ruminating would begin again, the theme of which tended to be a need to feel in control, to create more structure so that I could feel safe, to know what was coming next so I ensure my freedom.
I noticed that it felt as though there were two parts of me at war: one clamouring for certainty and structure, the other for spontaneity and creativity. And while I know that those are not mutually exclusive desires, I simply couldn’t get those parts of myself to trust each other.
Fortunately “couldn’t” is in the past. (I think.)
As a huge fan of communication, I spent a lot of time diving into their desires and beliefs about each other, encouraging them, with the help of my coach and osteopath, to talk to each other and see that they are both trustworthy. (I know this sounds a bit daffy, but it has been both fun and freeing. Yes, I’ve been having conversations out loud between myself and myself. And while sometimes it makes me giggle, it also helps me to feel I’m taking better care of all of the parts of me.)
On the brink of overwhelm and burnout, what I believe was going on is that my masculine energy — the part of me that seeks freedom and purpose and likes to create structure — was trying to over-regulate my feminine energy, which wants to simply express whatever is true in the moment that will move me toward love.
He — let’s call him the Organizer — wants to plan and create structure around all of the activities, wants to make sure there’s enough time to both work and rest (he values sleep and meditation very highly) and that he knows what’s coming. He values freedom above all things and believes that this comes as a result of living on purpose. If he doggedly stays focused on greater goals then he will be free and powerful and fulfilled.
The Artist just wants to explore and play and be spontaneous and say yes to whatever she feels in the moment. She’s a glutton. She wants to sample everything. She also wants to be free, but more than anything she wants love and appreciation. She wants to be adored…worshipped even. She wants to feel brilliant and beautiful and edgy and creative, and part of that hunger to create leads her to say yes to all of the opportunities, all of the possibilities, quickly and without deep thought about what she’s signing herself up for.
She lives in the present moment and she was fed up. She hasn’t trusted my shadowy masculine energy for years because he stifled and shut her up for so long while he kept me living for the future. Since I let her be as she is — pure, creative flow — my life has changed for the better. But…when I came back into my strong feminine essence, I simultaneously told my masculine energy that I didn’t want him around. This made that part of me alternate between getting angry, lecturing me, and checking out.
This was definitely not an ideal scenario. I need structure to hold my chaos, to help me to focus it and channel it and transform it into creation and love rather than devastation and destruction. I need him to help me but I needed to trust that part of myself not to take over again. Hence all of the conversations with myself.
So, what happened? For one, I feel more aligned. I haven’t been waking up in a panic because I feel I found a way to balance the need for structure and spontaneity.
I’m actively remembering what soothes and excites and nurtures and serves all of the parts of me. I’m remembering that when I’m in balance, I am more powerful and creative and joyful than ever. I’m remembering that it’s okay to be tired and to rest, even if I want to do more, learn more, see more, play more.
I recently heard someone say that there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is simply balance. I tend to agree. The more I am able to notice and honour what I truly want and need, the more energy I have to shower the world and myself with love and joy and freedom. The more I am able to bring awareness to misalignment and judgment and simply be with it and honour it and give myself love for getting stuck or overwhelmed or being sad or angry or greedy or clingy, the more space I feel I have to simply be and do what needs to be done
As I said, there’s been a lot of negotiation — and sitting with big feelings — but there are also many more moments of pure love and joy.
As with everything, it seems to come down to awareness. Noticing and being willing to play. Coming back to this moment and seeing how full it already is.
Inside the stillness of a microsecond, there is all of the potential and possibility of the Big Bang, of creation itself. I know that if I let go of what comes next, I’ll see how incredible life is right here, right now.
How often do you write these and why?
My “why” is helping others to find their purpose and one of the ways I’ve always done that is by sharing stories and experiences that have shaken me to my core. I usually share these musings about once a week, or occasionally I’ll do a bigger project like 10 Days of Clarity
Can I share it with other people?
Why are you doing this?
Mostly just because I want to but also because I believe that facing resistance and fear and doing the things that scare me is incredibly rewarding and reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to. And I want to show other people that they can too!
Do you write other things?
I have written a lot over the years. You can find some of my writing on Medium. You can find some of it on my family adventure travel blog or on my other Wordpress blog that looks terrible (and most of the images are broken) but I haven’t had a chance to update. I also wrote a lot about entrepreneurship and the Canadian startup ecosystem when I was with Real Ventures which may be helpful if that’s your path.
Do you still write for companies?
These days I’m more focused on helping people and companies to find their own stories and learn how to communicate with clarity and resonance through workshops and 1:1 coaching. You can learn more about that here.
How can I work with you?
Reach out and we can see if there’s a fit!