By Bryn Bamber
Some days I come home from work completely drained. I crawl into bed and turn on Netflix. I forget to make dinner. I eat popcorn. I melt cheese on a tortilla in the microwave and dip it in ketchup. I watch TV until I’m too tired or bored to watch anymore. I read a book or go on Facebook and then go to bed frazzled. It takes awhile for me to fall asleep.
In her book, Living the Practice, Swami Radhananda, the spiritual director of the Ashram, writes:
Every day of your life you get up and “go to work.” For many of us, this means going to a job at a specific place and time where we deal with pressures, ideas, worries, habits, ambition, laziness, money, lack of money and many other things. Instead of getting caught by all these things, the mind can learn to use them in an intelligent way. Instead of creating a routine that deadens the mind, an intelligent approach can revitalize your work and help you recognize your target, so you know you are living your life with purpose.
What happens to me on the days I come home drained? And how could I use my intelligence to learn from these challenges instead of letting them sweep me away?
I had come to think that working a day job resulted in feeling drained, that this was just one of the inevitable consequences of supporting myself financially. I was acting as if I had no control over the situation.
I knew I didn’t like coming home exhausted, but couldn’t see the cause. When I thought about it, my mind would spin: “I shouldn’t watch so much TV. I should eat healthier. What’s wrong with me?” I was beating myself up over the symptoms of a problem.
How could I turn this around? I sit and think and start to write about it. I use my intelligence.
Sometimes at work, I have to confront a contact person at one of the organizations that we work with when they are not fulfilling their part of our agreement. This is something I dislike and put off for as long as I possibly can. When I travel for work, I have to fill out expense reimbursement forms to get back the money I spent on supplies, food and accommodations. This is another task that I dread and put off.
The days that I come home drained are often the days where I have put off one or more of these uncomfortable tasks. Then, I feel guilty about not getting what I need to get done. I feel unproductive. I feel useless.
My tendency can be to look away, to bury all the things I don’t want to look at in glasses of wine or watching television. But this only makes the situation, the pain, the discomfort go away temporarily. Reflecting on these painful situations I am able to see what is happening.
I could see two patterns from other parts of my life coming up at work. Avoiding giving feedback is a tendency to not want to offend or hurt other people’s feelings. Avoiding the expense forms is a tendency to put the needs of others before my own. As I wrote and saw the patterns more clearly, I could use my intelligence to address them. I want to take care of myself financially. I want to put quality into the work that we do together. And to do that, I want to give kind but direct feedback when problems arise with a partner organization.
By writing, I could clearly see what happens and consider making different decisions. With the two examples above the answer is simple: do the uncomfortable tasks first and get them out of the way so that I can stop thinking about them. I want to focus on the parts of my job that I love.
Through writing, what had been scary for me to think about opened into a simple solution.
What in your life drains you? Sitting, thinking and writing can help to revitalize your work and your life.
About Bryn Bamber
Bryn Bamber is an educator, writer and Yasodhara Yoga teacher who is obsessed with bridging the gap between dissatisfaction and the desire to live a life filled with meaning. Her writing has been published in Scratch Magazine and at brynbamber.com.
Read her other articles in Finding Yoga.
“The days that I come home drained are often the days where I have put off one or more of these uncomfortable tasks. Then, I feel guilty about not getting what I need to get done. I feel unproductive. I feel useless. My tendency can be to look away, to bury all the things I don’t want to look at in glasses of wine or watching television. But this only makes the situation, the pain, the discomfort go away temporarily. Reflecting on these painful situations I am able to see what is happening.”
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