“Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace.” ― Marianne Williamson
When we get caught up in the whirlpool of a world upside down, we easily forget about ourselves feeling as if our own well-being is of less importance. Overwhelming events such as the loss of a loved one, a relationship falling apart, troubles at work or the threat or reality of a natural or man-made disaster draw our focus from the internal to the external, so throwing us of balance.
Two years ago a major earthquake and ensuing nuclear disaster disrupted my relatively comfortable life. My country is far from back to normal, and I am more “up in arms” than ever…volunteering my time to various causes, always full of ideas of what more I can do, how I can help.
But all that activity has also left me exhausted and, ironically, feeling oddly unfulfilled. From the outside, my life may seem rewarding and meaningful, but on the inside I often feel empty and disconnected. At some point, purposeful action became mere busyness, recurring tasks on an already loaded schedule.
Did I take a wrong turn somewhere, I wonder. Or is it normal that we eventually get lost in the face of so much external demand? Is what I am experiencing right now nature’s way of adjustment, a rebalancing act of some sorts?
My body seems to think so. The muscles in my left shoulder have frozen, an extremely painful condition that limits the movement of my left arm and apparently can last for months. I literally have no other choice than to slow down.
This may, however, be an opportune moment to take a break from a life in over-drive and restore the connection with myself.
I realize that in my zeal to make a difference to the world and the people I care about, I have neglected my own needs, pushing my boundaries to a point where I am no longer guided solely by passion, but also driven by a sense of duty.
Irritated at first and impatient for a quick recovery, causing more damage as a result, I now bless my shoulder for putting the breaks on and forcing me to rest and relax. Introspective by nature, I realize this is not just a matter of rest, but also of exploring what part of me got me into trouble -I recognize a pattern- and how I can prevent it from happening again.
I am not planning to retire from any of the causes I volunteer for. I see my situation more as a transitional moment to help me recoup and rebalance, so that I can approach the challenges in my life from a stronger, more self-centered foundation.
Nothing in life is sustainable if it does not come from sound and healthy motivation. Motivation can only come from the inside. If our actions are not in alignment with who we really are on a soul level, eventually we will give up.
Sometimes giving up is the right choice. Other times we just need to take a step back for a while. The causes I support are all worth my time. All the more reason to make sure I do so from a place of inner strength, self-worth and, most importantly, joy.
Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.