Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you confuse being tired with being "tired of"?

I have always envied the Energizer Bunny
Living in the middle of New York City I am surrounded by endless options for amusement. By the end of my work day I rarely go out to take advantage of the offerings. Most nights I feel too tired, so I will opt for an evening on the couch watching TV . The other night we were invited for dinner at a friends house, and I offered to bring half of the meal. As the time approached to head out to the store and over to her house..all I could think of was how I would rather stay home.

Getting a charge out of change.
If it hadn't been that I committed to show up with half of the dinner, I would have considered staying home, and let "being tired" rule my evening. Instead, I found myself in the store being energized by the bounty of the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and the opportunity to taste delicious new cheeses being promoted that day. The subway was a-buzz with the energy of people out to enjoy the balmy weather, dressed in creative assemblages of colorful accessories. We arrived at my friend's house and ended up dining on her roof surrounded by lush plantings and then a sky that would rival any souvenir postcard of sunset on the New York skyline. It turns out that I wasn't too tired to go out,..I was just tired of working..and couldn't tell the difference.

Don't you have a separate stomach for desert? When I was a child I used to tell my mother when I couldn't finish my broccoli, that "I'm full of dinner, but still have room for desert". I thought everybody knew that there was a separate stomach for each. It looks like this is still true for me now..that I have many different "stomachs" (funny how this vocabulary is popular in our speaking i.e. "I don't have a stomach for that"; "I can't quite digest what they are telling me"). My work stomach gets uncomfortably full, and think I need to lie down to digest, but it turns out that if I switch to a different activity, I discover a new source of energy...a new appetite.

Can just chopping vegetables really give you energy?
I wouldn't have believed it if you told me, but I have discovered that it IS possible that making dinner for the family after a long days work will shift my focus and restore energy. Chopping carrots can feel like a meditation retreat compared to solving technical glitches, or getting the checkbooks to balance. When I can get myself to do it, even folding laundry while watching late night TV can be totally relaxing. But, if domestic therapy doesn't turn you on...a more delightful (but slightly less productive) way to re-boot or transform your energy is by using scent.

Getting trigger-happy!
Our olfactory system, the part of our anatomy that perceives scent is directly connected to the Limbic System in our brain..the part that controls our memory (among other things.) When we smell a familiar aroma, it will trigger memories of experiences we have had related to that aroma. When I smell the scent of rose I have many pleasant associations, and my body will respond by relaxing. On the other hand, when I experience the scent of citronella, I can't help but get anxious about getting devoured by mosquitoes!

What aromas restore the "energy" of summer pleasure for you?
The aroma of coconut oil reminds me of the beach..fresh dill,cilantro and lighter fluid of outdoor dining; lavender, mint, summer rain and fresh cut grass take me to my country retreat, and the salty smell of ocean and seaweed baking on hot rocks, to my mother's house on Martha's Vineyard. Isn't it wonderful that they have figured out how to bottle some of these divine aromas, and allow you to be inspired, revived, or even transported without ever leaving your desk! What are the aromas that transform your energy and renew your spirit?