One of my former coaching clients, a single woman who had made a personal commitment to a period of celibacy, reported a… complication, so to speak, on her journey. She said that “the… ahem… uh… well… you know… the extra energy?… has sort of become a challenge.” Basically, without using sex as an outlet for the extra energy, she feels quite distracted by a feeling that we might call “turned on.” Perhaps it is best described as a high? Or a buzzing, sort of elevated feeling?
I thought of stories about athletes refraining from intimacy before the big game, artists who were rumored to be celibate, but there was no time to Google it, so I went with my gut… energy is energy, no matter how you spend it or where it comes from – it’s just like cash… if you don’t blow it at one store, then you can take it with you to the next one. I told her that many of my other clients are frustrated because they don’t have the energy (or time) to spend on all of the things that are important to them. We brainstormed about possible outlets for her “extra energy” and uncovered a desire to do some remodeling in her home, a love of painting, and a brilliant idea for a book that her life perfectly prepared her to write.
Recently, I concluded another client’s first session with a challenge (actually, that’s how all of the sessions end): In the next 7 days, pick up the camera that you laid down almost a year ago, and take some damn pictures. I’m so harsh, right? Okay, not really. Most of my clients will read this and think they’ve been robbed, that the summer heat has turned me soft (like when my mom lets my kids get away with childhood adventures that nearly cost me my life – at her hand – a couple of short decades ago).
For the new client this challenge is about reconnecting with the feeling of being really good at something (breathtakingly good, in fact), and reconnecting with self (creativity takes us directly to self – do not pass go, do not collect $200, at least yet). Perhaps most important, for this client at least, is to re-open the door so that the energy can flood back in. It’s my “treatment” for chronic exhaustion caused by mind-numbing grief and perpetuated by a job where “you do nothing all day.” I say pick up the camera… creativity is the key.
Next: Living extraordinarily is a choice.