Trading in Energy

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part III)

This is Part III of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I and II.

Most of us think about the cost of a thing is how much money we have to spend on it. But really, it’s how much life we have to spend on it. Life cost can be considered, practically, in terms of time, energy, and emotional expenditure.

Energy is a life-cost closely related to time, but rarely considered on its own terms. We might know that a task will cost us 2 hours to complete – but have you ever noticed that the very same task can cost 2 hours one day and 45 minutes the next? That’s because how much time something costs can depend on how much energy we have to spend. (This isn’t true of all activities, of course: a 3 hour train ride is a 3 hour train ride, no matter how tired we are.)

Unlike time, energy is not a fixed asset. Some activities drain us, while others seem to leave us with more energy than when we started. If we’re paying attention, we’ll know ourselves well enough to be able to judge our daily energy gains and losses.

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Trading in Time

(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part II)

This is Part II of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better.

In Part I, I wrote about shifting our definition of “cost” from that of mere monetary valuation to a more accurate weighing up of the amount of life something requires of us. How much life do we have to trade in to get the thing?

Most of us aren’t used to thinking of cost in terms of life: we’ve been trained from an early age to consider the price tag as an accurate representation of how much something is worth, rather than asking ourselves what the life-cost is to us.

There are three main ways to start thinking about life-cost: time, energy, and emotional expenditure.

Let’s talk about the life-cost of time.

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“Why Am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well

“Why am I always so tired?” If you’ve asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. Most people I know are perpetually exhausted! And the reason why isn’t what you might think: while sometimes we genuinely need to sleep more or explore a chronic health condition, very often what makes us tired is a lack of discernment about the cost of things in our lives.

If we want to truly live well, we have to pay attention to the expenses and income of our lives, not just our bank accounts. When we ask how much something costs, most of us are referring to a thing’s monetary value. How much money will we have to give up in order to own (or lease) the thing?

But most of us get money to buy things by giving up something of ourselves: our time, our expertise, our physical labour.

Giving up these elements of our life can make us really tired.

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How to Deal with Emotions When You’re Highly Sensitive / Intuitive/ Empathetic

Do you find yourself really sensitive to the feelings of others? Inclined to come away from an encounter with strong emotions you can’t account for? Wondering if others can “sense” the unspoken feelings floating around a room?

If so, you might be what various personality typing systems call “highly intuitive”, an “empath”, or “highly sensitive.” These labels can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but gaining a deeper understanding of the common experience of others like you can help you to understand yourself better. It can help you to deal with your own experiences better, too.

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The Practice of Discernment Doesn’t Happen in a Hurry

(Learn to Discern, Principle # 16)

Discernment can’t really happen when we’re in a hurry – at least, not usually – because when we’re in a hurry, we aren’t poised to listen well. And the practice of discernment is mostly about listening well: to God, and to our own hearts in dialogue with him.

This doesn’t mean discernment can’t happen quickly. Sometimes, we need to make an important decision and outside circumstances limit the time we have to make it. If we practice discernment as a habit, if we are leading listening lives, then very often we can discern well in a short span of time.

But hurry is different. Hurry is a state of anxiousness and worry; fear is the driver when we’re in a hurry. We’re afraid we won’t make it in time, that there won’t be anything left, that someone or something won’t work well unless we’re the ones to oversee it.

There is no peace in hurry. There is no confidence that things will be ok because God is in control.

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