I used to be a very active sort of person who would make lists and tick them off – the sort of person you could rely on to get things done. Then one day I got sick and had to stop doing everything. After about a week I went back to having my morning coffee again and I could not believe how buzzy I felt. I did not like it at all. Being so sensitive after my illness I could easily feel how it took me ‘up’ and then dropped me ‘down’.
By avoiding feeling the ‘downs’ and constantly going for the ‘ups’, I eventually got exhausted by overriding my body and doing too much in a racy kind of energy. Because I hadn’t been listening to my body it had to stop me to get my attention. Thankfully, I was stopped before I got a serious illness.
I was also addicted to getting excited and would feel pepped up by looking forward to an exciting event but then let down after it happened or disappointed if it didn’t happen as I pictured it would. I realised that if I was pepped up I would be let down – for what goes up must come down.
So yes, I was getting an ‘energy boost’ from coffee, from excitement, from my addiction to an adrenalin rush which hyped up my nervous system and drained my natural vitality. It felt like a false kind of energy which propelled me into doing things and I realised I was dependent on outside stimulation for ‘energy’. I was addicted to stimulants to keep me going and give me a sense of getting things done. There was a relief after achieving the goal and ticking off the list but it left me drained.
I gave up coffee and stopped looking for drama in my life, but how was I going to still do all the things I needed to do without such stimulation?
I had to go through a period of low energy where my body had to catch up with lots of sleep and self-care. I listened to my body more and I found myself allowing life to unfold rather than pushing myself to get things done. I stopped placing ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ on myself and I started living more in response to my body prompts and less to what I thought was required of me from the outside.
By connecting to my body, even on a low energy day, I could feel the life in me and the more I nurtured myself the more vitality awakened in me.
I actually get more done now than I ever did and without the racy trying. I seem to be given energy to deal with whatever needs to be dealt with, without having to ‘borrow’ it from a false stimulant. And I enjoy life so much more and doing things is not a chore but a pleasure.
So, what is vitality?
Something that is vital is ‘essential’ or ‘absolutely necessary’. We speak about the ‘vital’ organs as being indispensable to life. The word ‘vitality’ comes from Latin ‘vitalis’- ‘vita’ meaning ‘life’ i.e ‘the animating principle of living beings’.
We speak of someone with vitality as being full of life, full of energy. But what kind of energy are we talking about?
True vitality is not something you gain from an activity or get from an outside stimulant. If we watch young children, they are so naturally vivacious and full of energy. They are naturally expressing their joy and essence and are not supressed by ‘shoulds’ or ‘oughts’.
So too with us; once we allow ourselves to reconnect to the joy within we align with the energy that naturally fuels us. We connect again with our vitality which is there within even if we feel we are having a low energy day.
What’s more there is a beautiful quality to what is done when it comes from our natural vitality rather than a push. So instead of loading ourselves with our need for recognition, our sense of obligation, or our frustration, we imprint our ‘doing’ with our presence and our loving care which makes our environment more harmonious.
Sandra N, Australia
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