All my life I’ve been full of energy. I like it. It feels good, a lot of the time. I get so much done. But I also get burnt out or carried away, lost to myself. Recently, working on publicity for my memoir, The River of Forgetting, I’ve had to notice the flow of that energy and learn to regulate it. There is no one else commanding me to do this; it’s all my own demand. Sometimes it feels like pressure and sometimes it’s delight, but it’s all too easy to keep working and churning forward without stopping.
Inside me there is an Eager young girl who got a lot of praise from her father for being interested in everything and ready to take on anything, dare anything. There’s also a Good Girl who was willing to work so incredibly hard to please other people and live up to every expectation of her parents. Those two girls kind of gang up inside me to push me forward and keep working, even when my neck is aching from sitting and typing, even when my mind is reeling. “Keep working! You can do one more thing!” My mother was like that, too, always one more thing to do.
“Self-medication by work,” a friend of mine recently called this busyness. It feels good to be busy. When I’m on a roll, it blots out everything else. And I am learning, slowly, to keep this addiction under control. I do enjoy the high-energy times, and I also tell Good Girl and Eager Girl inside me, “I love you, you’re wonderful and bright and dear. And you need to stop. Take a walk, have a cup of tea. Just stop working for now.”
Loving the Inner Children sometimes means setting limits and acting like a good Inner Adult. Just now I made myself do 15 minutes of yoga to relax before coming back to finish up this post. The Kids liked it, even though they rebelled at first.