Friday, March 14, 2014

Energy Begets Energy


“And what is a man without energy?   Nothing - nothing at all.” ~Mark Twain  

But what do you do if you don’t have any to start with?

Overwhelming surroundings or circumstances throw me into energy conservation mode. And it doesn’t take much to overwhelm me.

Fight or flight? Nah, I just play dead.

When I hit energy conservation mode, a grinding halt, it is only by God’s grace that I can bust out of it. How does one change by sheer force of will, when one has no will to force?

Seriously, while most of you are itching to get outside and stretch your limbs and breathe fresh air, maybe dig in the dirt a little, I just want to huddle into myself. A small cocoon.

Driving the boys to swim practice the other day, I noticed people out and about. They were running, biking, walking and talking, throwing javelins, gardening, busy being alive. It made me weary just watching them. Can you imagine?

Exercise is the last thing on my priority list when the day’s to-do list is stacking up like Mt. Vesuvius about to blow, and I can’t summon the energy to tackle it. Why stop at today’s to-do list? What I wouldn’t give for tunnel vision when I allow the week’s, the year’s to-do list to beat me down.

By God’s grace.

Today He gave me periodic blue skies and sunshine. And the will to go outside with the kids and walk/run/bike for a little bit.

A mustard seed of energy. That begat energy.


It’s not like the world was coming to an end this past week.

Just post vacation disaster and laundry explosion. Ants. [shudder] Subsequent deep cleaning of several areas I had no desire to deep clean (and the in-progress disaster). Deep cleaning of bathroom cupboards while in procrastination/avoidance mode. Daylight Savings (there went my early mornings). A disastrous house (again, still, always). Carb binging. Clean eating detox. Classical Conversations (for which I was totally not prepared). PMS. Enneagram rabbit trail (more about this in a minute) and subsequent emotional breakdown (see “PMS”). Schedules thrown off by unplanned visitors and broken appointments. Lessons. [cough] (We’ll be schooling through August…)


I knew exactly what I needed to do, even if I didn’t want to do it. Eat well. And I have—for the past six days. Well, except for the plain semi-sweet chocolate for a couple days because, ahem (see “PMS”).

Turning that around was a minor miracle in itself. But I must. MUST.

My go-to versatile, convenient, tasty, healthy, paleo food has been the sweet kale salad kit from Costco. It's a crunchy green salad mix with broccoli slaw, thinly-sliced Brussels sprouts, shredded cabbage, kale, and chicory. It comes with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seed dressing, but I've found many ways to use it without. The greens mix adds great crunch to any other salad (I specifically LOVE it in taco salad, with or without other greens). It is great stir-fried as a hot side dish with sliced almonds or as a main dish with chicken sausage or bacon. Or stir-fried and covered with spaghetti sauce (instead of noodles). But my most favorite way to eat it is with a creamy slaw dressing and pulled pork. Delish.

And then I cleaned up a few rooms. No, not clean, but passable enough not to trigger emotional and mental breakdown upon entry.

Yesterday I busted out the basic to-do list. Dishes, laundry, lesson prep. And got to bed at a reasonable hour.

Today I managed to kick myself out of bed early. Spent some quiet devotion/study time. Buckled down to lessons with the boys. No screens for the kids. Breathed fresh air. Stretched my legs and lungs.

Life begets life. Energy begets energy.

Now, about that Enneagram rabbit trail. I was going to skip it, because it’s bedtime, but it ties into and leads to another thing that I want to end with.

Y’all know I have a thing for personality tests. I have a serious passion for Myers-Briggs types. Well, the rabbit trail started with a blog series by Leigh Kramer. So I took this free Enneagram test.

According to my friend Tsh, Myers-Briggs supposedly deals with your consciousness; Enneagram deals with your unconscious. MB is about our "True Self;" Enneagram is about the defenses we use to protect our "True Self." It reveals our weaknesses; our tendencies when we're stressed.

And this is what my results told me:

Type 6: The Security-Oriented Type

I must be secure and safe to survive. (Very strong score on this one.)
I must be helpful and caring to survive.
I must be knowledgeable to survive.
I must be perfect and good to survive.
I must maintain peace/calm to survive.
I must be impressive and attractive to survive.

And then it told me that my score was “very unhealthy”, that I needed to “work on my physical health and fitness and my “psychological health.”

Like a knife, people.

Maybe I took the test on the wrong day of the month.

So then I took another test because I couldn’t let it go, and I wanted different results—which I received.

Type 4: The Individualist

They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

  • Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
  • Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an

That was the last personality test I took.

[Maybe this is a good time to change the subject and tell you about a test that went much better for me. I conquered the world history timed test. I can now type the name of every world country in under 9 minutes. Because I must be knowledgeable, perfect, and impressive to survive.]

I was going somewhere with this…

Oh, yes. I went to a swim team awards potluck this evening and made good food choices because I’m on a roll and energy begets energy. While I was sitting at the table eating my fruit, veggies, and meatloaf, the guest speaker got up to talk about…health and fitness. Yep. “Eat whole foods. Do strength training and cardio for a half hour (not more). You need to push your body. You need to breathe hard so your lungs get stronger. You need to stress your muscles so they get stronger.”

Okay, okay. Message received. I drove home, dusted of the 30 Day Shred, and did cardio and strength training for 20 minutes.

That’s something. A very little something, but maybe it will beget another something. But first, sleep.

“Energy and persistence alter all things.”  ~Benjamin Franklin

1 comment:

Hannah said...

OK, this doesn't address your point at all (and I so agree, energy begets energy and sometimes you just have to start *somewhere* and do the one next thing because the alternative is complete apathy) … But I just have to say, I love the photos in this post, especially the knights in the grass. Nice use of aperture! ;-) Reminds me of a series of photos I just saw online where a guy took a photo from his Lego minfig's perspective every day for a year ...