Tuesday, June 5, 2012

This I Believe-Thoughts on Burn Out

A few people shared that they couldn't find balance because they felt burnt out and failures. I think most of us get burned out every once in a while and if we don't feel occasionally that we have failed then we aren't trying enough.

 I wasn't just burnt out, I was crispy at the end of my more than ten years with the one quilt organizations (serving on the board as development chair, running a major project, writing press releases, etc.). You get the picture. The sad part was the people around me didn't see burn out, they just saw a "difficult" person. I was so unhappy, but in the craziness of trying to do it all, I didn't know just how unhappy.  It really was another lesson on balance because I think burn out occurs when we are most definitely way out of balance. And for me, it had to do with not valuing myself. 

Life is a journey.  We often fall on our face, the important thing is to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and take another step.  It's part of the journey of self-discovery. The value of failure lies in what we do with it. If we deny it or diminish it, we can't learn from it. I want to be able to face life squarely, ask myself questions and be willing to learn from the answer even if it is painful. Rosalind Russel said it well, "Flops are a part of life's menu and I've never been on to miss out on any of the course." And look at the wisdom of May Pickford's words, "Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for the thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."

I love synchronicity. Last night I decided to continue to share my thoughts on life  and this morning this excerpt was waiting for me in my inbox.

We blink a thousand times a day. A thousand times a day the world goes dark. A thousand times a day we wake. We can't escape this opening and closing. It's a reflex we can't control. Even as you read this, your eyes, along with your heart and mind, are blinking -- opening and closing repeatedly, no matter what you do. It is part of being human. 

Yet so much depends on which you see as home -- being open or closed. Do you see life as one stream of light interspersed with nights of dark, or as one stream of darkness interspersed with days of light? Though there will never be an answer, what we believe about the nature of life matters. It lifts or burdens our days. So ask yourself, more than once, Is life one long miracle of feeling interspersed with moments of breaking? Do we repeatedly fall into our humanness from never-ending light? Or is life one long painful breaking interspersed with moments of wonder? Do we struggle up from the unending dark briefly into glimpses of light? 

Obviously there are times we feel one way and times we are certain it is the other. There are even times we even know it is both. But how we allow for both -- how much we make the light our home and how much we settle into the dark -- determines the personal alchemy of our hope and despair, our optimism and pessimism, our belief and doubt. 

Perhaps the wisdom in blinking is that it keeps us in the middle, keeps us from drowning in the dark and from burning up from the light. Perhaps this is the reflex that lets us make sense of being human.
--Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Make it a great day! I am.




  1. Karen - I think that the most difficult part of failure is if someone else has made us feel bad about ourselves. We get into trouble if we allow their voice to become part of our own inner voice.

  2. Diane, I could not agree with you more. I have enough trouble with my own inner critic to allow the negative voice of others in too. Hugs, Karen

  3. Karen, I finally went back and read your three "This I believe ..." posts. They were so right on for where I have been and encouraging for my journey. We all need a tune-up from time to time. Your words came at the right time for me. Thanks you so much. Karen


Love comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.