Archive for October, 2011

re-picturing SECRETS

Dear readers, I have not been completing open with you. I’ve been holding something back. A lovely, little secret. It’s not the type of secret that will spread like gossip from old men over coffee and donuts or that will cause an internet frenzy as people share the latest and greatest over Facebook and twitter. It’s just a plain, little, lovely secret that I’ve been keeping for months, but have a sudden urge to share.

I’m training for the Honolulu Marathon on December 11th (26.2 in Honolulu). This will not be surprising for those of you who have read my running ramblings (secrets have a way of finding the light, despite our greatest efforts to keep them in the dark) or for those of you who have trained with me or cheered me on during my brief long-distance running stint from 2004-2008. However, for some reason, I’ve desired to keep my training and return to long distance running under wraps since I started in August. And, it has gotten me to thinking about why we keep secrets.

Often, it is not our embarrassments, our failures, our  “why did I say that’s,”but its our deepest yearnings, our dreams, our “wouldn’t it be amazing if I could actually do that’s” that we keep secret. Although we might say that we are being realistic or modest, in actuality (if we are honest with ourselves), our lovely little secrets are often kept out of fear.

Fear that I might not make it to the finish line. Fear that I may be seen as a fool for even trying. Fear that I might encounter a challenge that I can’t overcome. Fear that others will think I’m too grandiose, too conceited, too selfish, too whatever for even dreaming my dream, much less putting in the hard work and time to go for it.

Voicing our secrets aloud makes them real, especially when we voice them to others. What if I get injured? What if I simply can’t cut it and I have to take my running shoes home at mile 20, alone and defeated. What if I try to fly off the edge, but instead I fall (fail)? These are the secrets that make us feel most vulnerable. But, by sharing them with others, we give others the courage to voice their own secrets, their own vulnerabilities. Besides, if we do fail, our friends, our supporters, and our believers are going to be the ones to break our fall, to carry us over the finish line, or to give us the strength to get up and take the next step, even if it means starting all over again.

What secret are you keeping? What is the cost of keeping it closed to others? Could you imagine being open to and sharing it?

re-picturing THE LIES OF BURNOUT

Calling to all of my creative sisters and brothers out there! Do you feel like your joy, your passion, your ability to savor the moment has taken a hiatus?

Perhaps that initial spark you felt toward a seemingly delightful project set your soul on fire, but eventually burned you in the process?

These are often symptoms of burnout. Burnout comes from doing too much, with too little time, for too long. And it often afflicts my favorite kind of people – those of us who love our lives, who feel grateful for what we have, who pursue our passions, who open our hearts to others, who dream big dreams (and then do the hard work to make them happen).

I have chronic burnout. It comes from years of stress and imbalance and while often burnout can be cured with a vacation or a change of pace or perspective, chronic burnout chars the soul. The daily grind often makes me tired, cynical, aggressive, unmotivated, overwhelmed, apathetic, narrow-minded, impatient, high on “obligations” and low on “passions.” Unfortunately, this type of burnout also likes to kick you while you’re down. It fans the flames and keeps you burned out, despite your best efforts. Through the journey of finding more balance in my life through photography, running, savoring the moment, and connecting with kindred spirits, I have begun to identify some of the lies that burnout likes to tell us. It whispers untruths to rekindle the flames, just as we decide to slow down, rest, take a broader perspective, in order to cool our crispy souls. Fortunately, discovering the lies of burnout can be one step closer toward exploring the truths as well.

 The Lies of Burnout

If we don’t work hard enough or don’t do things perfect enough, then we are not enough.

You are enough.

We are the only ones that feel this way. Everyone else can handle whatever life throws at them.

You are not alone.

We don’t have enough time to rest and rejuvenate. If we take a detour, we won’t reach our destination.

You will get there.

We will always be burned out because regardless of what we do, we will resort to our old ways.

You are on a spiral path.

Even if we wanted to do less, we can’t say “no.”

Your needs matter.

If we don’t do it, no one else will.

You can trust the universe to do its part.

Reminding myself of these truths is like a cool aloe that soothes my soul during the most difficult times.

What lies has burnout been telling you?