I was cleaning out a desk drawer at home. Every once in a while it makes sense to try and adopt some feng shui in your life, even if it’s one desk drawer at a time. I came upon a stack of greeting cards sent to me by a radio guest a few years back.
They were “message” cards designed to offer support for friends and family during challenging times. Throughout the stack were printed affirmations such as “stay strong, expect the perfect outcome,” or “even the strongest people need to lean on someone at times.” But the very one on top of the deck was perfectly aimed at me and just had to be on top for me to notice it. It read, “I know you’re sometimes tired physically, emotionally, spiritually. Take the time you need to recharge. Rest your body, mind and spirit. Great healing is taking place. You only need to relax and let it happen.” Yes, here was another gentle reminder from the Universe that slowing down and rediscovering rest is not only a good thing, it is so necessary.
Just last week, I ended a nearly fifteen year on-air run hosting the Sunday evening talk show from 10 to midnight. As most of you know, I am also behind the microphone during the long overnight shifts on Fridays and Saturdays. It adds up to a lot of wear and tear and sleep deprivation for even the fittest of individuals (as any shift worker knows).
For most of my adult life I have worked weekends in addition to a full time weekday job running a production studio. I have patted myself on the back for years, relishing my identification as one of “hardest working guys in radio.” Turns out, like so many people, I fooled myself into thinking this kind of schedule can continue forever. I credit my lasting through a 7-day week with insane hours to a strong body with healthy genes, clean living and a healthy supply, perhaps an overabundance of adrenalin. But I’m here to tell you my dear readers something you all already know. That no one cheats time and nature for too long. This finely tuned, nutritionally balanced, lean and mean body of mine finally had enough and sent me signals that it was time to slow down. For me, cutting out that one radio shift means a return to healthy, rejuvenating sleep at the end of a busy weekend, a freeing up of several hours of prep work for this one show, a chance to be with my wonderful family and friends for one full day without needing to rush back to work, a chance to breathe.
I’m still quite active and busy but have taken a closer look at priorities and have taken to doing some much needed internal feng shui work. I am no longer lunging after every single opportunity, feeling responsible for the needs of so many strangers. Instead, I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that in order to thrive, I need to sort out what is not only important but that which will bring me the most meaning. A recent guest Dr. Matthew Edlund, an expert on sleep and rest, spoke of research that proves Americans are overworked, overstressed and not getting enough rest, let alone sleep. He made the cogent point that humans are often compared to machines and shouldn’t be. Replace a machine’s part or battery cell and you can expect it to resume peak performance. Or, despite your efforts, when the machine conks out, toss it and buy a new one. We humans don’t have the option of tossing the body we have and exchanging it for a new one. We can certainly add or transplant parts, but without nurturing and self-care, we’re likely to go the way of an overworked toaster-oven and burn out early.
So, no big life lesson here, just a friendly reminder from one who is lucky enough to now know something about his limitations. When you’re on the ride and moving fast with the wind at your back, it’s easy to forget that every fast car has to slow down sooner or later. Nothing is forever, but with rest and time to unwind, the present moment can be so much more enjoyable. Take good care of yourself. Employ self-empathy and slow down. It’s so good for the soul and so vital for the body.