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.
Living extraordinarily is a choice. We choose how much energy we allow to flow into our lives – the number of hours we sleep, the food we put in our bodies, the environments we occupy, the activities we engage in, and even the attitude we show up with. We choose how the energy gets spent – we can choose activities that help us, or we can choose activities that hurt us.
For example, the former client with the book idea… well, she opted out of the channel-the-extra-energy program, and chose instead to silence the creative urges with steady flow of wine and spent that extra energy on a succession of love-less escapades. Today, the house is falling apart, the canvases remain blank, and the book is nothing more than a bunch of great ideas recorded in my coaching notes and archived, perhaps forever, in a file in my office labeled “former clients.”
We are used to living ordinarily - it’s what most people are taught growing up, and when we allow that creative energy to flow into our lives, it can overwhelm our bodies… it feels foreign, perhaps scary and overwhelming. It is new to us, but we must resist the temptation to numb the physical sensations, despite a cornucopia of power-crushing tools.
There are all manner of substances and experiences which, when used addictively, will separate us from our power – alcohol, drugs, nicotine, sex, relationships, shopping, cutting, gambling, television, hand-held technology for all ages, internet, work, sugar, caffeine, exercise… need I go on?
Anything we do to keep from living and feeling and evolving, it all just keeps us profoundly ordinary. When we choose personal evolution – to use each experience, positive or negative, to improve ourselves – we become more masterful players in the game of life, and our results become extraordinary.
I just enjoyed a Practice-What-I-Preach weekend, complete with friendship, sunshine, movies, love, and lots and lots of play… I made a creative space for myself to finish a stunning scrapbook to celebrate the 10th anniversary trip my brother and his wife (one of my best friends) took to Hawaii. It feels absolutely magical to have this beautiful hand-made treasure of memories to offer to two people I love so much. This creativity stuff that I push on my coaching clients isn’t so bad after all!
Create something, create anything, and let your energy flow.
Photo credit: MrB-MMX via Flickr