Energy, our personal life force, intrinsic motivation, vibe, ch’i, or aura have many qualitative measures.
High vibration is considered preferable, while low vibration is associated with negative attitudes. Frenetic comes across as a rather annoying – an unnecessary expenditure. Slow, slothy energy gets a bad wrap for being a drag.
Assessing energy by these qualitative measures is subjective, and might not be all that helpful. Thinking of our energy similarly to how we conceive of money allows us to make use of a few tried and true wealth management tools to build a healthy, energetic life.
Any financial advisor will tell you the first step to financial health is to become aware of where you spend your money. Where do you spend your energy? What portion of your energy to you spend on work, family, self-care, community, your environment, nonsense (such as social media and any host of procrastination tools), your relationships, your health and wellness, hobbies, passions? How much energy to you spend on your rest?
For one week try logging your energy. What proportion of your time do you spend at each aspect of your life and how much do you focus, how mindful are you, what level of energy to you expend while you participate?
Is there a change you desire to make in one or more area of your life? Are you investing your energy in that aspect of your life in proportion to your desire to make that change? Write it down and take a look at your energy spending patterns.
The saying goes, pay yourself first. Can you decide to set aside 10 percent of your energy for yourself each day? Taking another look at your time and energy log, is there some energy you are spending needlessly that you could set aside for a rainy day? If the amount of your energy spent on self-care and rest is less than 10 percent each then you are living beyond your energetic means! If you want to feel like you have energy to spare you must reduce your energy spending, and increase the energy you reserve for you.
Do you have those days, maybe months or years, where you push it all day and don’t even sit down on the couch until 9:45 PM? I had one of those nights last night. I was thinking, “I worked hard all day – all week! I deserve to watch a little TV.” I sat down on the couch and my eyes began to feel heavy before I even turned it on. All of the sudden I reached up and grabbed the remote and turned the TV on, even while I was thinking about how tired and drowsy I was. I was about to spend some energy that I didn’t have, and had no business spending! I decided to save that energy and as soon as I made that choice and turned off the tube I felt my energy and mood lift. I happily headed down the hall and really enjoyed the relaxing sensation of climbing into bed early. I slept like a baby!
Once you get a handle on your spending and carve out the traditional 10 percent for yourself, it’s time to think about investing. Any good financial advisor will tell you that you need a three-legged stool and your investments are the long-game.
What are some of your future goals? Are you dedicating some of your energy today to the things you want to experience or accomplish in the future? How about that world tour you’ve always wanted to go on, or that physique you always dreamed of having? Are you spending energy, a little every day, week, and month toward the future you hope to have?
What do you want life to hold for you in retirement? Are you dabbling in a hobby now that you hope to spend much more time on when you step aside from your career? Have you spent some energy researching exactly where you want to travel? Do you want to have some serious coin amassed some day?
Are you spending significant, concentrated energy on making your future now, one day at a time? Are you spending today in good stewardship of tomorrow? Whatever future wish you have – take one step toward it today with and investment of your energy. It won’t cost you anything but if you’re consistent the payoff will be huge.
Artwork by Summer Mei Ling Lee, Luminous Ruins, 2018. Installation of cyanotypes on 13 x 3 feet panels of gauze. Photo courtesy of JiaJing Liu