Sustainable Recharge

Different kinds of batteries charge in different ways. (Or so I’m told…please don’t ask me to explain this much further…!)

Our cell phone batteries gradually deplete over time. Plug in the charger for a few minutes and you gain a bit more battery life. Overnight, and you’re good for the next day.

In gasoline-powered cars, the battery recharges while we’re driving.

In the microphone I use to run digital meetings, I switch out my rechargeable battery for a different a few times per week, depending on how often I’ve remembered to power down at the end of the day.

In toddler toys, the batteries just die.

As I head into some time off later this week, I’ve heard myself say to people, “It’s time to recharge.” It is, vacations are one way to do that, and I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to take one. But I also know people who find vacation time stressful, in part because they know they may not return with their batteries fully recharged and yet their workload, others’ expectations, and their expectations of themselves pressure them into behaving as if they are more rested than they actually are. They return feeling like their charger has been plugged in for a few minutes but not actually overnight.

I’ve been thinking about what it might take for our batteries to be perpetually recharging rather than constantly depleting and being partially refilled. Jamie Gruman writes about how different kinds of activities replenish us in different ways, and I suspect he’s on to something. But I’m craving something even more sustainable — something built into the design of the system, that requires less intention, willpower and planning by our tired selves.

Building our Adaptability Quotient might qualify. People who have a high AQ don’t necessarily adapt more or better than people whose AQ is lower — they are more energized by doing it. And as a result, they are more likely to thrive in times of uncertainty and volatility.

I look forward to having some mind space and unscheduled time to explore what else might fit into this category of perpetual energy boosters. I’ll be taking a break from the blog in July to do so, as well as to rethink my practice, spend time in my new kayak, and play with some toddler toys whose batteries run out — all so mine won’t.

I’ll look forward to reconnecting with you in August, in whatever energetic state we find ourselves in by then.

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