Bless me father for I have sinned . . . it’s been more than four months since I’ve published a blog.
When I coach my clients on blogging as a marketing strategy I always tell them to consider their blogs as gifts—that each blog should give some valuable information, insights, inspirations or entertainment. “Sure you can plug your product or service at the end of the blog” I tell them, “But, don’t let the blog itself be a sales piece, let it be a gift.”
I’ve always approached my own blogging in this way, and so I’m invoking the confessional beginning with some measure of tongue and cheek, as well as a degree of seriousness, as I haven’t been very giving to my readers over the past four months.
However, my life has turned topsy turvy in this time in profound ways, beginning with the passing of my mother in April, and receiving a phone call a month later (almost to the day) that my father was in the hospital and in a very diminished state. So I’ve assumed the role of caretaker to my father and I’m faced with the reality that his time on this Earth is limited.
Then my Aunt (my mother’s sister) passed away almost exactly two months after my mother of the very same ailment, the same ailment by the way that my father suffers from.
Maria and I spent the better part of two months in Los Angeles attending to my father’s needs, living mostly in an Airbnb and eating out a lot, which is not our usual style, as part of our balance is cooking almost every meal from scratch with simple organically sourced ingredients.
By the end of July we were worn out, and I’ve yet to fully grieve the loss of my mother or the impending loss of my father.
I share this with you not to invoke sympathy or to complain, but rather to express one of my greatest challenges in life, which is to recognize (and embrace) my need to recharge my batteries. I’ve been taught (or rather self-taught) to always strive to be productive, to always be doing, accomplishing and succeeding, and, anything less than that represents an indictment of my character.
And yet . . . when we’re worn out, when our batteries are running on “E” we’re no good to anyone.
Just as the airline safety spiel tells us to place the air mask on our own faces before helping anyone else, we need to first attend to our own needs so that we can be at our best when doing for others.
There is also an important message in this related to intentionality. If my aim is to always be productive, to always be doing, accomplishing and succeeding in order to be a person of admirable character, then the giving I do in that context is not true giving—it’s actually self-centered.
True giving is giving for the sake of it, which is not tied to how others will perceive me or how I will feel about myself as a result.
Being faced with life’s upheavals, the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that comes with it, and then surrendering to the need to unplug and recharge our batteries is an incredible gift in that it affords us the opportunity to start anew, with a clean slate and clear intention for the future.