Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.
– Wayne Dyer, Philosopher & Author
Don’t you wish you had an abundance of energy with which to get sh*t done during the day, every day?
And then magically wind down and turn it all off at night to experience deep rest andquality sleep?
Yes, that would be amazing but for most of us mere mortals, this is a lovely fantasy at best, right?
The quest to regulate myenergy levelsand optimize my wake-sleep cycle has been mainly erratic.
I’ve battled insomnia and anxiety for most of my adult life, which means that for most of my adult life I’ve felt tired, foggy, and run down.
Unfortunately, like for most of us,napping(or even apower nap) wasn’t an option, especially during the workweek.
So I tried staying awake by downingenergy drinks, triple espresso or extra strongcup of coffee, and even cold water showers. (Not fun.)
Jitteriness, a more messed upcircadian rhythm, even more sleep deprivation, tiredness, andsleepiness. (Surprise, surprise.)
So I adopted certain smalllifestyle changesin order to experience agood night’s sleep:
- I traded my nightly glasses of wine for melatonin.
- I started practicing deep breathing exercises both right before bed and also in the morning to increase wakefulness naturally without having to overdo the coffee. (I was actually really surprised by how much of an energy boost and pick-me-up this one was!)
- I’m a night-peer so if I drink water at night before bed I will get up to pee multiple times a night and then wake up tired and out of it the next day. I made sure to drink enough water during the day and limited it at night.
- I added apps like f.lux to my computer screen and enabled night shift mode on my phone in order to reduce exposure to harmful bright light and ensure proper shut-eye.
- I made sure I moved my body daily and got a good dose of endorphins and fresh air to tire my body and release pent up tension.
And those things worked, and I did experience better sleep but I also realized something…
I was only addressing my energy issues from a surface perspective, which meant I was putting one band-aid after another without really getting to the root of the cause.
You can take outward action to ensure you stay awake and temporarily feel energized throughout your days…
But if you don’t also take inward action your overallenergy levelswon’t ever really be optimized.
I discovered two powerful questions that can help you cultivate more internal energy so you feel more awake – not just during the day but in your overall life…
Two simple questions to ask yourself all day, every day for more well-being:
Don’t let the simplicity of these questions fool you into thinking that they’re pretty obvious.
The power of these questions lies in the subtlety of their answers.
This is a practice and an exercise in learning how to listen to your own inner guidance.
Asking meaningful questions instructs your mind to be productive.
Your Temple, Your Vital Energy Reservoir, & the Block in Your Wellspring:
Purification Bathing at Tirta Empul, a Balinese Temple containing its own sacred water wellspring, February 2017.
Your body is your Temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
– BKS Iyengar, One of the foremost Yoga Teachers in the world, Author of “Light on Yoga”
Before we begin answering and unraveling these two questions let’s first go over a concept to put the term ‘vital energy’ into context.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a templeis “a place devoted to a special purpose.”
Your body is the one and only place you have in this lifetime to carry out your purpose and create meaningful, inspiring things with.
Youare your own home; you are your own Temple.
You are worthy of honoring and caring for.
Just like Tirta Empul Temple in Bali in the image above, you too possess a wellspring.
Merriam Webster Dictionary calls awellspring a “source of continual supply.”
Your temple (your body devoted to your purpose) contains a wellspring (source of continual supply) that nourishes your entire being by providing a constant abundant stream of vital energy.
When this wellspring is blocked, it becomes much harder to manage your energy.
If this vital energy flows uninterruptedly through the wellspring, our reserves are full and abundant, and we’re able to face life’s challenges and demandsfrom a more awakened, energized, and stronger place.
This abundant vital (life-giving) energy flow is known asprana (natural energy/life force) in yogic terms andchiorqiin Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terms.
In the yogic tradition, vital energy reserves are stored in 7 main centers called the chakras:
In TCM, these vital energy reservoirs are called the 3 Dantien:
When there are blocks in our wellspring our vital energy reservoir becomes low and we’re impacted on a physical, mental, and emotional level:
- We often feel tired, sluggish, run-down, and/or fatigued.
- We feel ‘off’ and can’t really pinpoint why.
- We’re more reactive, impulsive, hot-headed, sensitive, irritable, frustrated, overwhelmed, anxious, sad, defeated, etc.
- We often feel out of control as if our body and mind have been hijacked.
- Our immune system is compromised and weakened so it often starts acting up.
- Our body might be internally on fire and undetected chronic inflammation may be present.
- We have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up.
- We may experience chronic aches and pains.
- Our minds may be in overdrive with anxious/helpless thoughts.
- We often cannot stop worrying – even about little things or completely irrational things.
- Brain fog clouds thinking and dampens creativity.
- It’s hard to focus or concentrate.
- It’s increasingly difficult to remember and retain things.
When those blocks are addressed, our wellspring flows and thus our vital energy reservoir becomes full and abundant.
Then we experience the opposite:
- Our energy levels become more balanced and we feel more alive, lit up, turned on, on point, energized, and invigorated.
- It becomes easier to tap into our innately wise and intuitive selves.
- We feel more on purpose and inspired.
- Our impulsive knee-jerk reactions turn into equilibrated responses.
- We are able to focus and concentrate better, thereby improving our performance.
- We feel increased inner calm, confident, certain, serene, joyful, appreciative, and empathic.
- We connect more deeply with our own bodies, learning to listen to its subtle promptings and feedback.
- Our immunity strengthens and our bodies are able to combat threats and subdue them so we can thrive and radiate vitality.
- We begin to live our lives according to our deepest, truest values.
- Our ability to experience quality rest increases.
- We find that we’re better able to control and manage our thoughts instead of being run by them
- We feel more authentically creative and in our own personal flow state.
Will this add to my vital energy?
Think of your vital energy reservoir as a bucket full of energy marbles.
Energy leakslower your marble count.
Energy reservesreplenish your bucket by adding more marblesto the bucket.
It’s a plus and minus game.
Unless you plug the leaks and seal them there is no use focusing on building reserves because you won’t be able to gain more marbles than you’re losing.
It’s not a very efficient or effective use of yourresources.
That’s why these two simple questions are so powerful because they help you gain clarity by uncovering where your leaks are.
Once you gain awareness, you’re able to know where and how to best plug them.
Start to notice what answers come up.
By making it a habit to ask these two questions regularly, you’ll become more attuned to the things that fuel you and the things that drain you.
Your mindfulness and self-awareness will grow.
Does this add to my vital energy?
Or does it take it away from it?
For each thing that adds to your vital energy picture, your energy centers lighting up and getting brighterlike a light bulb infused with energy current.
You may feel a sense of warmth or expansion regarding those things.
For each thing that takes away from your vital energy picture your energy centers getting dimmerlike a light bulb drained of energy current.
You may feel a sense of cold or contraction regarding those things.
The more you learn about what little or big things drain your energy or add to it, the easier it will be to shift habits and make wiser choices that will lead to a free-flowing wellspring and a full energy reservoir.
Then you won’t need the band-aids as much, if at all.
You’ll be able to sleep better and feel rested without the need for external (and temporary) energy boosters.
You will have addressed your energy issues from the deepest source there is.