Make like a tree and ... drop it
What comes to mind when I ask, "What is sapping your energy?" I imagine that something current pops up first -- work, family, or relationship demands, health challenges, or perhaps some kind of pressing deadline.
What if I were to keep asking, "What else? And what else?" How many current situations do you think you would identify? What about situations in the past or the future?
Recently I've been doing a lot of "energy retrievals" with clients -- identifying where some mental and emotional energy might be wrapped up and calling that energy back. Much of the time it's "what if" and "if only" scenarios; fears about the future and regrets from the past. Sometimes energy has gotten stuck in an unresolved dispute or tied up in a specific location or fraught memory; while we may think we've "moved on," aspects of our energy can remain engaged, leaving us unwittingly depleted.
Just as we see trees consolidate their reserves for winter by pulling energy out of their leaves and then dropping them, we can do the same for ourselves -- pull back, let go.
Below are a few practices to help bring awareness to your energy expenditures and release what doesn't serve you. If you find yourself just too depleted and over-extended to even keep reading, consider a group or individual healing session.
Evening Energy Accounting
A good time to assess your energy is before going to bed. Look back over your day and consider the interactions you had with people, where you focused your time and energy, and how those things made you feel at the time and as you review them later. Here are some questions to consider (inspired by Caroline Myss):
Did I speak with honesty and integrity to myself and others?
Was I judgmental or critical of myself or others, or did I extend kindness and compassion?
Did I invest my energy wisely? Were there investments I should or shouldn't have made?
Did I act according to my personal honor code?
What can I learn from and let go of?
Make note of how you feel after asking these questions. Where you feel light and expansive, set an intention to continue investing your energy in those actions and choices. Where you feel drained, agitated, or emotional, take a minute to send compassion to yourself and anyone else involved. Acknowledge that we all have mis-steps, we're all struggling, we're all trying, and we all do better when granted kindness. Send forgiveness to yourself and summon gratitude for the opportunity to do better tomorrow. Finish this exercise by repeating this statement a few times until it feels true: “I now call my energy back from any person, situation, belief, or event that has held it before now. I invite my energy back with ease, grace, and gratitude. I am whole and complete.”
Meditations to Call Back your Energy
Another approach is to imagine your body at the center of a map. On this map might be your home, your work, your childhood home, places you've lived, places you or your family members work or go to school, anywhere you have spent time and energy. If it comes to mind, it likely has some of your energy. Ask to see where your energy is tied up. You might see points of light of varying intensities at the different locations. Visualize reaching out and drawing those points of light back into your body, like reeling in a fish, or like a Hungry, Hungry Hippo swallowing those marbles. Allow all of those points of light to merge with your energy body. Let them replenish and revive you.
If you like guided meditations, I recommend the Insight Timer app.This ten minute guided meditation takes you through the process of reclaiming energy you've left tied up in all different areas of your life.
Clearing Emotional Charge with EFT
Sometimes we need a bit of help calling energy back, especially if it's tied up in a traumatic memory. Using "tapping," or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), can really help diffuse the intensity connected to a memory. I use it myself all the time. The Tapping Solution Foundation is a great resource for understanding this approach. Here is one guided tapping practice to clear feelings of regret.