In order to do more in your life, you need to fill yourself abundantly by being more. Here’s how.
Most of my adult life, I have had a compulsion to do. It’s this nagging feeling that I’m not doing enough and need to keep doing more. Then I tend to overcommit myself, get overwhelmed, and have to clear the plate again to find my balance. The idea of being – what it was and why it mattered – didn’t even occur to me.
I’ve worked on the roots of this issue for some time. I have embraced doing less and I enjoy that! My sense of self is less defined by doing, and more by who I truly am.
But what about when I actually want to do more – not just the compulsive fear of not being enough driving me, but a deep inspiration and desire to share more with the world? How do I make sure I don’t overcommit and spin myself into that excessively-busy, overscheduled and burned out experience?
More Doing Requires Filling Up More
I realized that if I truly desire to do more in my life, I also need to up the ante with be-ing. Being is simply to receive and be present. Through being, I am filled up. I must (and I rarely use that word!) fill myself more before I can give more. I need to fill up with an abundance of energy, so that I have plenty to give. And, preferably, I need to fill myself first, not after I’m already depleted.
When we give to others through doing – whether it’s taking on another work project, volunteering, scheduling more clients, adding on a class, etc. – we can’t just pull that from our own personal energy reserves. If we do, it’s like overdrawing our bank account before we’ve even paid the bills. We’ll end up with a deficit of energy, leading to fatigue, burnout, overwhelm, and possibly even illness.
We’re Fountains, Not Basins
We need to be more like fountains. Fountains have excess water – that’s why they pour over the basins in such a beautiful way. Think of a 3-tiered fountain, with three basins and a larger pool at the bottom, the water spilling over in lovely rivulets that make a soothing sound.
If there wasn’t an excess of water, you’d simply be looking at 3 basins full of water. Nice, but not especially inspiring. And if we tipped the basins to pour out the water without excess flowing in, we’ll end up with empty basins. Bye-bye, fountain.
We’re fountains. In order to have the energy, joy, inspiration, skills, and gifts to give others, we need abundance flowing in. Plenty of extra energy to charge ourselves up with. So, in order to do more, we need to figure out how to fill up and receive an overflow of energy; otherwise, we’ll give away what we have for our own personal well-being.
What Does and Doesn’t Fill Me
It’s taken me years to discern what truly fills me. Akin to my bad habit of overdoing, there were times when I believed that more doing was going to fill me! So I’d overdo exercise, injuring myself or getting exhausted. I would plan a bunch of get-togethers with friends; I enjoyed connecting, but my introverted self felt boxed in and overscheduled. Or I would think I needed to sign up for a bunch of classes to improve myself – once again spreading myself too thin with my time and energy.
No, that didn’t work. What I discovered is that most of the things that fill me take very little energy and focus on being.
Yoga and some exercise, yes. But a lot of just sitting. Sitting outside in my sit-spot, whether in the front yard or just off a hiking trail, and being present with the squirrels, the squawks of the jays, and the smell of decomposing leaves. And meditation, certainly.
Going for a leisurely walk, without a limited time frame or agenda, simply noticing and feeling. Naps. Gentle yoga – not solely the “I’ve got to work on my chaturanga or backbends” kind of practice, but free-flowing, spontaneous, following what my body asks for (rather than telling it what it should do today!).
Sitting down to draw something unstructured, abstract – a sort of deeply-felt scribble. An easy-going hike with one friend every other week that also appreciated silence, listening, and meditation as part of the experience. Laying down on the grass with my teen daughter, looking at the clouds in silence, feeling the breeze on our cheeks.
Simply being – that fills me the most. Quiet mind, open heart, receptive to the Divine flow pouring into me, especially from nature. I noticed that when I gave myself ample being time – largely unstructured, mostly outdoors, often in solitude – I began to feel recharged, peaceful, and inspired. I had something extra to give after I was overflowing with soul-satisfying beingness.
I literally have being time scheduled into every day. Otherwise, I’ll just fill all my time up with more doing. I make it a priority, because I am so inspired to give that I know I must increase being in order to do.
If you’re an introvert, you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t made it a priority, this is your wake up call. Even if you’re an extravert, we all require some of this simple downtime. Our minds need to unplug, just like a computer can’t update itself without shutting down.
Filling Up to Overflow, and Giving Only From That
It’s not sufficient to get “just enough.” IF you want to give more, you need to be generous with yourself. You need – yes, I’m saying the word need! – to allow yourself to receive renewal and replenishment abundantly through being. That is, IF you want to give. If you don’t, and you’re doing fine, then nothing to be concerned about.
But I wrote this for all of you out there – yes, my friend, you, reading this – who are caught up in the compulsion of doing like I have been and who truly desire to give something more to others. You not only deserve to be filled to overflowing – you need it.
What fills you up in a way that brings you ease, peace, and deep satisfaction? Yes, you may enjoy activities that “pump you up” – they may be part of the list. But those activities could be ones that also deplete you in some way. Look for what leaves you refreshed, relaxed, and the mind more serene. Seek what gives you extra energy that spills over. Write down the things that sustain, nourish, and replenish you in this deep, soulful and heartfelt way. Hmmm, how about pausing right now to brainstorm ideas? Take out some pen and paper and write them down.
Remember that you need to be filled plentifully – fountaining over. Only after you have filled yourself completely and have more coming in than you need do you have the abundance to give.
The Divine is Always Flowing
Great spiritual teachers, like the Buddha or Jesus, or more modern-day examples such as Amma (the hugging saint) or Mahatma Gandhi, can give almost without ceasing because they are constantly plugged into the Divine. They have a permanent energy circuit flowing from Spirit, so they always have an overflow. Amma gives people hugs for 24 hours or more at a time – she can’t do that from personal energy reserves, but from a continual fountaining of the Divine through her.
Most of us aren’t quite that plugged into Spirit yet – but the wonderful news is that the Divine is always giving to us. There is an infinite source of sacred energy available to you and me at any time; it’s for us to open to receive it. Just like the sun always shines (well, at least for a few billion years), Spirit gives. Infinite, without beginning or end, the Divine is the very nature of the word “giving”.
Be Like a Receptacle
For a receptacle to be filled and then to fountain over with excess, does it need to do anything? No! It simply is. Spirit then pours into it.
You don’t need to do anything in order to receive this renewal of energy – stop doing and just be. Be a chalice, a bowl, a crystal glass, an urn, a fountain. Allow yourself to be filled through being time for yourself.
In order to give more to the world, in service, inspiration, and determination, you’ll need to give more to yourself through being. Now is the time to make that a priority. Notice how it fills you in a different and more sustainable way than more doing. As you feel the overflow fountaining through you, you’ll feel the motivation and energy to give more.
I have a meditation for filling you up to overflowing… check out my Grounding, Centering, and Filling Meditation on my downloads page!
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