When you compliment someone on their energy, or even notice someone else’s energy, what are you really saying?
You’re alluding to an intangible — a force, a feeling, a figurative quality.
You’re going to keep hearing that word all year — energy — in headlines, in articles, in documentaries, on podcasts.
That’s because everyone is trying to get at the same point.
Everything we do in life — from thinking your thoughts to wiggling your toes to managing your career — takes energy.
And friends, we all seem to be running on fumes. How do we enhance our energy? How do we remove the restrictions to it in the cells of our bodies? How can we restore the energy that we spend all of our time — working, binging TV, getting drunk at happy hour — draining, and then protect it with resilience?
The thing is, there are as many answers to that eternal and persistent human quest as there are people setting out on that path.
But for me, it comes down to this.
Jing, Qi, and Shen
In Taoism, there are three main elements. The jing, the qi, and the shen.
Think about them like they’re three corners of yourself.
Jing is the essence of you, the you that you’re born with, the you that never changes deep down. The you that you see is missing from your daily doings in the world, that may have been missing for a long, long time.
Qi is your energy. It’s the vibe you live by, the drive that pushes you or crushes you, the ever-changing and ever-flowing power of your moods and wants and impulses.
And the shen is your heart-mind.
The shen is the crux. It’s the part of you that decides the direction of your qi and your jing.
It’s vital, because your qi follows your mind. And the essence of you is most alive when your energy is flowing well.
So if you feel like you’re living in a world of chaos…
It’s because you are.
The world is in a state of chaos because the energy of humanity is creating chaos from an unsettled collective mind.
Our collective attention isn’t focused, isn’t moving toward a common goal. It’s lost in reruns, in policies that serve cash flow and not energy flow, in the blocked and misdirected qi of a distracted population.
Not only is our attention unfocused, but our ability to achieve focus is impeded by junk food ad campaigns, the EPA’s loose requirements in chemical disclosures from companies, and muscle systems all but vestigial from lack of use.
Because most of us? We’re making our choices with tense shoulders, frightened thoughts, and an overall sense of helplessness.
Thousands of years of developing humanity hasn’t solved the problem of survival. Our bodies think we’re fighting and flighting all the time…
Instead of resting and digesting.
You Already Know the Answer
And the irony is, everyone knows how to fix it.
Everyone knows what good choices look like. Everyone knows that big dreams and big peace take sacrifice.
That goes for every person. Me too!
I’m writing a book. I’m making films. I’ve got babies.
And even though what I love to do most is meet people and connect with them, see the difference that the practices I practice can make, I have to make sacrifices to power my life forward.
Like right now… because I’m writing a book, that means I go to bed earlier. Then I get up earlier. I don’t have cocktails with friends if they come over. I don’t eat food that won’t support my vitality.
And you know these answers already. Most of the people who come to see me are there because they can’t make themselves do the things they know are right for them.
They really want to, most of the time. The intention is present but the attention is wavering because there’s blocked energy. The hose isn’t connected. And without a steady source of power, you can’t fuel the change to your brain chemistry — your shen — that’s required to redirect your qi.
So How Do You Connect the Hose?
If you don’t, you’ll always be suffering in the now.
And because you’re suffering and dissatisfied and worried and stressed and nervous, you’re exhausted.
There’s no reason for your brain to concern itself with the long game when you’re trapped in the amygdala mindset. It’s just trying to make it through the short term – robbing Peter to pay Paul with late afternoon coffee, sleeping pills at night, sugar rushes and crashes…
Here’s the truth: The answer isn’t “preserve the little bit of gas you have in the tank and only expend a little energy in each direction in your life.”
The answer is “put more gas in the tank and learn how to spend it efficiently.”
In order for your body to rest and digest, it needs to feel calm and serene about the status of the things in your life garden — your self-esteem, your career, your marriage, your kids, your passions, your hobbies, your physical capabilities.
That requires balance, and balance requires energy flow.
So what, right? You know. And you’re still exhausted.
The problem – the real disconnect between right answers and wrong answers – is the things you don’t know you don’t know. Without knowing what to ask, you’ll never arrive at the answers that will change things.
That’s why my friend Nick Polizzi and I developed our nine-episode docuseries, Exhausted. We believe exhaustion is an epidemic – and not just in Western society.
We don’t understand the basic chemistry of our bodies. We don’t understand how exposed we are to chemicals and toxins, and what they do to us. We don’t understand how we are emotionally influenced by the behavior of our adrenals, our insulin production, even the health of our individual cells.
And if we don’t understand, then we can’t ask the right questions.
We made the series free for a reason – we believe this is the bare minimum. Everyone should have the right to access fundamental scientific truths about their bodies. Everyone should have already been taught all of these things…
But we don’t have control over that.
What we do have control over is what we want to know now. Click here to sign up to watch the series – completely free – and understand your exhausted body once and for all.