“One of the gifts of having had a chronic illness for many years is that I know how much energy things take and whether or not that energy is available to me in the present. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to heed this knowing, to accept when I cannot do something without consequences for my health and to the detriment of other areas of my life that feed my heart and soul. But knowing when I can’t do something, knowing I need to step away, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the loss. I do.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Jan. 6, 2015, Facebook post
Since the new year dawned, I realize I have been meditating on limitations.
It is so against the grain of New Year resolutions, and the American Dream to acknowledge that not everything is possible. Not everything can happen. We are finite creatures, and those who live with chronic illness are our poster children for this Reality.
But, as Oriah Mountain Dreamer writes, this is not a curse, but potentially, a gift. To know that finiteness – and to be willing to choose where to put energy and where to step away.
It means we can invest ourselves in the people and projects that matter most to us. We can choose which dreams to pursue, and decide not to pretend to want the rest. We can refuse to fritter our energy and time on those relationships that don’t serve: the time wasters and the needy, the emotional dramatists, and the victims.
Conscious of limitations of time and energy – what are you choosing for the new year? Where do you want to commit, to put your one precious life?
It is a gift to see clearly what works, and what doesn’t. It also expands our sense of possibility – rooted in what’s real, not our fantasy idea of who we are.
Yet we acknowledge this is a hard won gift. It is not easy or popular. It involves a sense of loss. Bumping up against limitations. We want to be able to do and be everything – for ourselves, for those we love. It is a painful state to say no, and to feel we have to say no more often than we can easily say yes.
But it also opens the mind and heart to what matters – to one’s own values and rhythms.
Since chronic illness means we can’t just go with the flow, then we stop and look, listen to our hearts.
What do you want to invest in for yourself in this fresh new year?
What do you want most to say yes to?
Where will you say no?
Can you be lovingly conscious of your energy and the gift that offers?