An Alternative to Burning the Candle at Both Ends

by | Oct 15, 2016 | Ordinary, Reflections

I’ve had deadlines.
And most days I had to do this, and this, and this …
And get it done before the day was over.
It made for some long days.

And I’m guessing you are busy too?
The Fall always comes with a fresh round of opportunities,
responsibilities, getting back at it,
and there are those deadlines.

Here’s what helps keep me from burning the candle at both ends.

An oil lamp.
You know the kind?
A wick with flame alight and the other end submerged in oil.

The flame is my doing,
my light burning,
all my demands.

The oil?
that the grace of the Universe,
the flow of the Trinity,
the elegance of Presence,
You don’t need to worry about it.
The oil will always be there.

It’s keeping the wick in the oil that’s vital.

If I am doing these three things
(even one of them a day)
I know I am sustained.

Twenty minutes of centering prayer,
Getting my sneakers on (the hardest part of a walk,)
Spending time with readings from Wisdom Tradition.

That is enough.

And you?
What are the two or three practices you do everyday
to keep you from burning the candle at both ends?


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  1. Yes burning at both ends leads to “burn out “… I love this wisdom that you share. Doing my breathing practice,15 minutes of meditation or “dropping in ” and getting out in nature for a walk or just to breathe in the beauty around me helps to sustain and nourish my soul. This does not always happen every day and yet when it does I notice such a difference in my being and in my presence..My Intention is to have it happen daily more consistently. .

  2. I think I’ll be getting an oil lamp. I treasure the opportunity to practice yoga and centering prayer daily. They are my priority in getting started on my day. The third one…still working on that. 🙂 Lovely, thank you Janice!

  3. Perhaps two is just enough for you! Thank you.

  4. I’m hopeless at this. My adult life is a study of burn out. I collapse, rally enough to plod on, only to collapse again. I know the thing I need to do more is get outside. I can go for days without leaving the house, as I’m not well and I work from home. I’m going to start today, with a promise to myself that I get ten minutes in the garden every day, no matter what the weather. It’s a tiny step, but it’s a start. Thank you, lovely Janice, for helping me on my way.

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