The creatures of the desert lead an uncertain existence, perilously balanced between life and death … or so I’ve been told by a number of signs and notices throughout Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park. Park visitors are encouraged not to chase lizards, for example, because these small, desert reptiles spend what energy they have foraging for food and water, and can’t afford to be running around in the 110-degree weather or having their tails pulled off all the time. When you’re unfortunate enough to be a lizard living in Goblin Valley, such additional expenditures of energy can literally mean death.
While I don’t spend my days fleeing overzealous hikers or re-growing detachable pieces of my body, I have been feeling lately that I am not so unlike these miserable creatures, in a metaphorical sense. Which is not to say that I am metaphorically a cold-blooded animal or that I live in a metaphorical Goblin Valley. No, the connection I feel with these animals has to do with the fact that I often seem to be on the verge of running out of energy. I don’t feel like I lead an especially busy or active life, but everything I do takes its little investment: work, church, exercising, shopping, budgeting, cooking, cleaning, family, friends. Even seeking out rest and entertainment seems to demand energy.
There’s something else I’ve noticed. While I generally try to spend my time and effort responsibly on productive projects and goals, I’m feeling like the things I’m investing in lately aren’t yielding consistent returns. That is, I’m not always feeling reenergized as I make progress or fulfill goals. Sometimes I feel like I’m perched in the shadow of the rock, looking out over a weird, red-rock landscape, wondering if I have what it takes to make it through another day. Maybe I need to be focusing on different things, maybe it’s just this time of year when I wish it could be summer already.
In any case, I’m looking for ideas. What things do you do to recharge? How do you decide where to focus your energy and efforts? If you were to compare yourself to an animal, which animal would it be, and why?