Quite often a client will state that they feel constantly tired. Or demotivated. Or defeated. Or stuck. “Stuck” is right up there at the top of the feeling charts for people, pre-session. “If only I had enough energy [they will say] I could get on top of things.” Or, “I just need to work harder at the relationship/ job /situation, but I’m so exhausted.” Etc etc. It seems a sensible enough premise: if they could access the energy needed, or feel rested and refreshed and raring to go, then they could tick all the boxes in their self-imposed life challenges.The answer to this conundrum, like so many answers, can be seen in children. We are, after all, born with the most amazing tool box to interface with this world, and when one of the tools doesn’t seem to be working, it’s worth remembering how we used it when it DID work well.
Now, I am pretty darned sure that you, whoever you are, can remember a time at school when a double period of some subject or other seemed to stretch into infinity before you. A time when you had to fight against sleep. Maybe you couldn’t stop yawning. Maybe you went into a dream. Maybe time itself seemed to have halted in a frozen wasteland. Even lifting the pencil to write down the thing you were told to write down seemed like a humungous effort. Your whole body felt anaesthetised. Can you remember a time like that? Or other similar times when the same condition descended? Maybe an interminable mealtime where grownups were talking (perhaps with guests) and you had to sit quietly? Or tedious car journeys to see unloved relatives?
Great, now remember what happened immediately after that afternoon lesson, when the bell went for the end of school, and you met your mates outside. Did you feel the same fatigue? Did you feel it on Christmas morning? Did you feel it at weekends, when your parents always grumbled that you got up early, when you couldn’t be woken for love nor money on school days? Did you feel it when you had your first kiss? When you were focussing on the thing you loved to do, whether model making, reading, digging in mud, playing princesses or anything else that seemed to sparkle to you?
Of course you didn’t. At those times the big red “turbo” button appeared before your nose and, with one push, you had unlimited energy. Wow, and that felt GOOD. And when you were genuinely tired and ready for sleep, it was the sleep of total fulfilment of mind and body and spirit, healthy exhaustion from time well spent.
With my clients, I have a test. I hold out my hand. “Here,” I say, “Imagine that I am now giving you tickets to the Maldives [I tailor the destination to the client], you can take who you want or go alone. Flight leaves tomorrow morning. Do you think you can find enough energy to get to the airport?”
Yes, they can find the energy. Of course they can. Even imagining it, they smile, they change posture, their skin tone changes, they look 1000% better.
So having established that energy IS available for the right activity, we then explore what kind of job, relationship or other life activity would mean that each morning my client wants to spring out of bed, full of that excitement they felt as a child and just as ready to press the big red button [you can choose your own colour of course, mine is red!]
Now some of you might be thinking or saying, “Hang on, in an ideal world that would be lovely, but real life isn’t like that, is it?”
Such sentiments remind me of those at school who told us we had to prepare for “The Real World”, and for that reason we had to write copious notes on something in which we weren’t interested, or not run in the corridors, or wear clothes/hair one way or another, or sit and do homework for many hours after sitting in lessons for many hours. My own thought is that any “real world” that doesn’t allow the child’s toolbox to stay fully functional is less real than you might think, a flimsy, limiting and unhealthy sham over the top of the vibrant truth.
Unlimited energy, health and wellbeing is all waiting inside each of us when we remember how to find the activities and situations that unlock those things.