Burned Out, Baby

I have been trying, since we got back from Georgia a week and a half ago, to get back in the swing of life. This doesn't seem to be working so well. After a full night's rest, I get up and go to school for a few hours. Then I come home and go to sleep for another three to four hours. I wake up feeling so, so tired. My eyes hurt on their backsides. I feel a long, dull headache across my forehead and into my sinus area. I have no energy for homework. I have no energy for blogging. I have no energy for doing much of anything.

At first I thought I was recovering from the holiday trip. Being away from home always takes more out of me than you might expect, as I'm quite a homebody and also an introvert. So when I came home and slept for four hours each afternoon last week, I figured it was due to my body and soul's need to recover quiet and inward focus after five days spent out of my usual, comfortable space.

But then the weekend came and I spent most of it, too, in bed. That this excessive need for naptime and sluggish feel to my body has only continued well into this week has given me no small cause for concern. What is going on??

The author and poet David Whyte writes in his book Crossing the Unknown Sea about learning the antidote for exhaustion. It is not rest, as we might think. It is wholeheartedness.

I've been thinking on this notion the past few days, as the reality of my exhaustion has dawned on me. Why am I exhausted? I am committed to less external activity than I have been in years. I do not work; I have no children. I go to school for a couple hours each day, and that is it.

Perhaps what is going on is the slow dawn of my soul upon the truth of itself. Business is not the world my soul was meant to inhabit. I am in business school because of obedience, not deep desire.

My realization last month of redirecting everything toward soul care has had the consequent effect of turning my heart even further away from the business world I currently abide. I feel fiercely protective of what SC is meant to be, fiercely loyal to those it is meant to serve, and fiercely antagonistic against any route of life that would oppose what it is meant to open up, the room it is meant to help create in someone's heart. Unfortunately, the propensity of the world in which I find myself right now feels truly opposed to this nature. Business school does not nurture the soul or honor the space it needs, much less respect that it even exists.

But here I am: learning business. It is strange, I know, as so many friends and family are still keen to tell me that business school is the last place they ever thought they'd find me. And perhaps what I am feeling now are the lingering fingerprints on my soul from a daily reality that is not my true home. Perhaps what I lack right now is wholeheartedness.