Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Filling Your Tank

Lately, filling our gas tanks has become increasingly painful. Last summer, gas prices went above the $4/gallon level and prices are heading up again.

Yet, driving is unavoidable. Most of us need to drive to get to work or to shop for food. We might be able to cut down on our driving somewhat, but we still have to use gas if we’re going to drive anywhere.

Like our cars, we don’t have much choice when it comes to draining our human tanks. Do you know what saps your energy? My list includes: paying bills, doing chores, dealing with conflict, getting contractors to show up at home to do their jobs, and worrying about those I love.

Spiritually, we need to fill our tanks lest we run out of zest and energy. If our tanks keep getting drained without being refilled, we’ll run out of gas. When that happens, we find ourselves exhausted, discouraged or even depressed. We might experience burn-out or, worse, an emotional breakdown.

Each of us needs to discover what fills our tanks. At a recent seminar, I had to make a list of those things that fulfill me spiritually. My list included: hiking in beautiful scenery, rowing, leisurely dinners with my wife, traveling to new places, and having a daily time of meditation/reflection.

After I made my list I realized that, except for rowing, I didn’t intentionally schedule the things that recharge me. So I’ve resolved to schedule the things that fill my tank by writing them on my calendar. That way, they don’t become “things I do only after everything else gets done.”

To determine what fills your tank, ask yourself these questions when you feel energized: (1) Who am I with? (2) What am I doing? (3) Where am I doing it?

These questions challenge you to pay attention to your life and listen to your deepest self. Doing this helps us discover what is life-giving and soul-feeding.

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