Mad In Pursuit Notebook


Designing My Personal Energy Thermostat

8.12.13 I keep coming back to versions* of this diagram and fiddling with it. It seems to help me if I need to get a grip on myself -- say, if I'm transitioning out of a couple months of intensely focused activity, like travel and entertaining.

I started out with Robust in the center, with swings between "too little" and "too much" being undesirable. It also had an ecstatic state that represented occasional and very desirable breakthrough moments. (See orange diagram and symbols in the Note section.)

But then I decided that our energies may be more dynamic than that. Sometimes you really need to puff out your feathers and look big and bad (Fierce). And sometime you need rest (Quiet).

I think there are PRACTICES that can help us activate the energy we need, whether balanced, cool, or hot. Needing to stoke the fire in your belly might involve dancing or listening to music with a thumping beat or shopping for some badass shoes. Chilling out may involve meditation, reading for pleasure, doodling, cooking, or a craft project. Getting centered suggests cleaning out your inbox and organizing to-do lists -- clearing the decks to allow great things to happen.

Speaking of great things, I decided that pushing a Robust energy state over the edge is what mystics call a trance state or an athlete calls flow. These awakenings are definitely good -- full of creative breakthroughs and epiphanies -- but they don't last. I'd like a practice that could get me there more often.

On the other hand, failing to nurture your Quiet state may let your banked fire go out altogether. And not disciplining your Fierce blowtorch energy could cause you to "break bad"... a conflagration of the spirit.

It's fun to play around with the metaphors -- hot/cold, campfires, lightbulbs/electricity, batteries/engines. (And sinking into Adobe Illustrator to create such diagrams is definitely a cool-down activity.)

But seriously, more important is, first, learning to tune into the energies, which for me involves stepping back and "taking the temperature" (so to speak) of how I feel and what I've been doing.

Second, and harder, is developing those practices -- habits or rituals -- that allow you to manage those energies effectively.

I usually drag out a version of this diagram and put it in front of me when I'm trying to figure out "what next" or what activity will get me to my desired state of mind. So... stay tuned.


*Today's diagram is an evolution of my Mad In Pursuit Artist Adventure Kit & Energy Cards. In that scheme I worked with these "suits" in my card deck: