“When the door of the steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its rememberance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”
Diadochus of Photiki, quoted by Henri Nouwen in The Way of the Heart
I love that metaphor of a steambath, that when the door is opened, loses all its heat.
Like you, I have a lot of things on my plate. A lot of demands. A lot of things that I want to do.
But if we are continually open…insert the words busy, active, doing things,..we too lose all of our energy. We lose important energy that is often needed to be directed to important matters in our lives.
I’m exploring and learning to protect that inner fire in my life, so that the door is not continually open, and energy dissipated into things that are of not great importance in my life. I’m learning to keep the door to the steambath shut for longer periods of time so that all my energy (emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological, relational) doesn’t evaporate.
One of the reasons that I have barely blogged this last year is because I didn’t have the energy while in the midst of writing my book. I had energy to write the book, but not do both. That was a humbling experience of coming up against my limits.
There are lots of things I want to do these next 12 months, but I have limits.
I have a new therapy practice that I’m building.
I have a new book that I’m writing for publication in the Spring of 2013.
I have hobbies I want to pursue.
And most importantly I have a relationship with God and my family that is of most importance.
There are a million others things that I could be busy about, but I need to somehow figure out how to protect my “inner fire” so that I have the energy to do the things that are of most importance.
What are all the things in your life that are important to you? Do you have the energy to do them? Do you need to figure out ways to keep the “steambath” of your life shut for periods of time so that your energy can be directed in the right places? What are you wasting your energy on?