When is it ok to stop?

I’ve been pondering this question to myself recently: When is it ok to stop? And when must I keep striving forward?
Because there’s so much I want to do, want to achieve, want to work towards there’s this constant pull towards doing.

Having been someone who traditionally used to take on everything (yes I really do mean everything), always doing and reaching a state of complete burn out – of body, mind and soul – I am ever so conscious of ensuring I have shifted away from this pattern ever since.

In my own search for ‘balance’ I have gone to another side of the spectrum, or shall we say pendulum too. I’ve sat, I’ve mulled, I’ve done my share of ‘loafing’ around. I’ve had moments of surrendering to not doing… to not planning…

and in the search for more and more balance I am even getting better at finding a sustainable middle ground. Softly allowing the ‘ball’ to settle back into the middle.

There are so many ways to understand our bodies and minds and where it is we more naturally recharge our energy from. There’s an introversion-extroversion scale – where the pendulum swings form feeling energised and completed recharged when in solitude, through to being surrounded by others.

In Ayurveda, through the small amount I have learnt through my yoga journey, the philosophy is set around people all having their own natural dispositions for energy. From the busy go-go-go through to the more heavy, slower energy levels – the kapha, pitta, or vata energies. (My beautiful yoga teacher, Emily has taught me so much about this. Her words will do far more justice to the different ‘dosha’ types as they are called: http://www.emilyreedyoga.com/ayurveda-2/).

Through weaving all these together, what I’m learning about myself is helping me to acknowledge my ‘state’ more and more. And in doing so I’m more alert to the triggers that tend to send me overboard into burn out. Which does take a level of sensitivity within myself and the courage to show up and acknowledge when I’m letting the fear of burn out get in the way of doing, versus an actual trigger showing up!

Which brings me back to my first question. How do you know when it is ok (the ‘right’ time) to STOP? And when to keep going?

Here are a few simple things, learnings, juicy gems I’ve picked up along the way from my own experience:

  1. Have an insatiable vision and stoke the fire often. Then lean in and trust it.
    There’s plenty of amazing tools to support you to go through this process. I just love this exercise I take most of my clients through, all about what your ideal day would look like. Visualisations are amazing too. And all I mean by that is spend a few moments walking yourself through in your mind exactly how you want things to be – get really into the sounds, the sights, the smells. The more you can describe it the more fuel you’re giving your brain to create it. I’m also half way through Danielle La Porte’s desire mapping process and am LOVING IT. It’s all about creating goals with SOUL. i.e. How do you want to feel not what do you want to ‘have’. Highly recommend it to get your own vision flowing.
  2. Get to know those things that really make you feel nurtured, nourished, energised.
    What is it that lights you up? It could be as simple as phone calls to your best friend, riding the bus, or cooking your favourite meal.
    The idea is to know what it is for you, then just do it – keep making time for those things in your diary. If you’re having an ‘arrrgghhh’ kinda day, return to your list, pick something nurturing and DO IT.
  3. Know your own personal pendulum.
    What is it that shows for you when you feel like you are ‘doing nothing’, ‘too busy’, or ‘not getting anywhere’. Ask yourself, for what purpose am I currently doing these activities? How are they serving me? Are they getting me closer to my vision?
    It’s a little bit of a reality check – challenging your most immediate thoughts and asking, is this really the case? How true are these thoughts? The more you do that you’ll more easily notice a trigger in your own behaviour – and gain a little more control over the swinging of that pendulum.