Let Go of What Drains You

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Mary Oliver

One sure way to silence your inner guidance is to do stuff that drains your energy, that frustrates you, that causes you angst. This takes some focus to hone in on because there are many circumstances and people in our life that influence our energy level. It’s complicated further by the fact that sometimes it’s impossible to completely avoid what (or who!) is draining our energy.

Here’s a metaphor to illustrate the movement of energy in your life. Imagine a wheel with a hub in the center and spokes emanating out from the hub to the wheel. In this metaphor, you are the hub and the spokes represent the energy flowing into you and draining out of you. 

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Give some thought to the flow of energy in your life by drawing a circle (like the hub) and lines coming out of the circle (like the spokes). When you write something that brings you energy, draw an arrow pointing toward the circle at the end of the line and, conversely, when you write something that drains your energy, draw an arrow pointing away from the circle. 

Here are some prompts to get you started. Think of your time at work, at home, with friends and relatives. Which situations leave you feeling tired and which leave you feeling energized? Which hobbies or tasks excite you and which ones frustrate you?

One time I did this exercise and was surprised when my beloved sailboat ended up on the draining list. Ugh! I decided to sell it to make space for creative endeavors that were calling to me. Afterward, the angst evaporated and I happily dedicated more of my energy to projects my heart was calling me toward. 

Paying attention to your energy is a way of creating unobstructed conduits for your inner self to reach you. The key is to be aware of what energizes you and drains you and to do what you can to increase the energizers and decrease the drainers. There’s no perfect balance. You’re never done. What energizes you for a while, such as sailing did for me, may eventually drain you. That’s okay. Keep noticing, adjusting, changing, fine-tuning, and listening to your inner voice for how to give your precious time and energy.  

Now, focus on increasing one thing that brings you energy and decreasing one thing that drains your energy.