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Three valuable insights burnout can bring

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Is it possible to find inner peace, and to discover my own voice, while remaining in the center of my hectic modern life? 

It’s a question people often ask me. Of course it’s a wonderful dream to escape from everyday chaos, move to a faraway coast or mountain and find peace there. But a faraway coast won’t bring us answers to the questions that modern life asks us. What does? Here’s three insights I found when I recovered from burnout.

Insight 1: make sure your feelings, thoughts and actions are in sync

If your feelings, thoughts and actions aren’t in sync, life becomes unclear, chaotic and powerless. I often felt I didn’t want to say yes to a job, while my head convinced me I had to do it – without checking why it didn’t feel right. The result was that I was doing things unpredictably, feeling tired. On the one hand, I tried to get it over with as quickly as possible, on the other hand I forced myself to do the best I could. It was so confusing that, in the end, I didn’t know why I did the things I did or what to trust. My feelings? My mind? The result?  

Only when I saw through this pattern, I managed to sort out my feelings and thoughts first, and combine them in a clear intention. For instance: I want to tell this story in the best possible way. Then, my actions organically flow from that, with a clear direction and meaning.

Insight 2: Are you in a hurry? Connect to the elements

Life goes fast and it’s volatile – it made me lose myself. As a medicine, I learned how to connect to things that are bigger and older than me. Things that confirmed my ‘humanity’ through time and space. I taught myself how to make fire and bake bread, activities that ground you and connect you to the elements, but also less active ones: I now know where to find the sun and the moon, and I make sure I see them regularly. I put stones in my pockets or shells and pieces of wood. Just to remind me that the world is so much bigger than I’m able to see, and that I can lean on that. 

Insight 3: Sometimes it helps to change your perspective 

The continuous focus on the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ has worn me out for years. I learned to change perspective and to ask myself what I have to offer. It brings me peace and makes me feel valuable, without a hidden agenda or a need to prove myself using all my energy. What do I have to give? This question takes you inside immediately and the only way to fin dan answer, is to learn to know yourself better. It didn’t just lead me straight through my fears, it also got me curious as to where I come from and which people were there before me, that made me understand my family and myself better. 

Knowing who you are means to be whole, and that’s your true gift to the world. Nothing feels better than that. 

Text: Sarah Domogala - Photo: Francisco Mereno