Energy. Just typing it makes me think that either you will assume this is an article on global warming and how we use energy, or it is some sort of chakra west coast infected philosophy coming into play. It is neither. Energy is something we are all putting out all the time. Energy is the vibe you get off of people. Cool, relaxed, hyper or nervous. Think about the vibe you feel when you enter the house at Christmas or when you are at a wedding or waiting for a play to start. Energy is very real.
On a Labor Day Monday, if you have any kind of student in your house, there is energy around going back to school in less than 24 hours. My teenager who starts high school is making me particularly aware of it. Her energy is “I’m terrified. It’s going to be so hard!” She wishes she could stop the clock, halt time or at the very least leave town immediately. She has fear of the future and some regrets from the past that have her very worked up.
I’ve worked with clients who have felt the same way. With an event before them that seemed risky/new/different their instinct was to tap into the energy of fear and to look for the nearest escape. Fight or flight, right? I get that. No one goes around seeking pain and discomfort, but who decided that the event was risky or that new was bad, or that different meant terrible? Ah yes, our safety loving, ‘predictable is best ‘loving gremlin brain, that’s who.
I remember the first day of high school. I’m sure I was scared and nervous but what I really remember about it was realizing in the days leading up to the start of school that I was going to a new school where no one knew me, no one had decided who I was or what I was capable of. The first day of school was my chance to reinvent myself and to introduce myself to everyone as whoever I wanted to be. After all my middle school struggles to be accepted, this fresh start with a clean slate was intoxicating, exciting and empowering.
The energy that I took to school that first day started the ball rolling in a very happy and satisfying way. I made strong friendships and was a member of way to many clubs and exceeded my own expectations in my time there. My energy around fresh starts helped me erase the old story I knew.
First days of school, like so many high stakes and stressful days in our lives, seem devoid of choices. We feel pressured, caught and constricted. In those situations our mind is only to eager to draw on past experiences as a resource. Our minds use these past stories as a warning to us that this is the way the story will unfold again. We fail to see the immense opportunity we have to choose what view we will take, what objective we will set, what story we will write and ultimately, what energy we will take into that situation. We fail to appreciate that we have all the power in this department and we can create, with our energy, what we want, instead of what we don’t want.
Very often we can’t change what is happening around us, but we can change what we bring. We can change who we are in any moment. We don’t have to let the situation create our role.
Homework to work with for making personal change:
In the next stressful situation that shows up for you, work on stopping the story of what happened last time as a predictor of the future. Instead, as the story starts up simply say to yourself “that was last time” and take a breath with a commitment to being open to whatever comes this time. Don’t anticipate. Just show up in your life this time. You are enough.
Or, notice how powerful energy is:
Next time you are out, notice the energy you are reading off of different people. Whether you sit on a park bench for 10 minutes or notice the clerk in the store-
Take a read on them- How does their energy effect you? How does it affect your feelings towards them? Do you feel drawn to them? Do you like them? Are you put off? Do they make you feel uncomfortable? Are you thinking that you wouldn’t like them?