1 : to empty of a principal substance
2 : to lessen markedly in quantity, content, power, or value
3 : to reduce in amount by using up
4 : to use most or all of (something important) : to greatly reduce the amount of (something)
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I have found that I’ve used this word, deplete, more times over the past few months than I ever have in my entire life. I’ve used it to describe numerous things, from the Earth’s resources to local, national, and international politics, policies and politicians as well as the corresponding societies, but most of all I have used this word to describe myself. I’ve used it time and again to describe how I’m feeling but rather than step back and restore my depleted reserves, energy, patience, time, focus, health, etc I have continued to just add to the drain.
Like I was taught the first day in YY4K teacher training, what is easy for you might not be easy for me. Likewise, what depletes you might not be the thing(s) that deplete me. So the things that overfill my plate might be things that are a drop in the bucket to someone else and vice versa. In this difference, as in yoga, we need to reserve and not pass judgment on others or ourselves. What is needed is to support and love each other. My dad is currently in the hospital and one of his doctors advised him to start asking people for help, not just trying to bear it all alone while taking on more from others. I believe that we all need this advice and prescription. Filling our reserves and returning from the brink of utter depletion isn’t about just saying no and taking care of me and my own, it’s about working together, caring and helping each other.
A way to take care of myself is to learn to say no more…and to say no to the things that don’t need to happen at that moment or at all. Let go of the FOMO, fear of missing out. Let go of the guilt of saying no. Let go of needing to have a plan for everything and being scheduled out of our minds. Let go of the fear and worry and just be. But by just being we need to also give back… to ourselves, to others and to our community in ways that lifts us and restores us. Thankfully the opportunities to do this are endless and vary for everyone. A bath, exercise, yoga, meditation, time with friends or a partner, cuddles on the couch with the kids reading a book or engrossed in a movie, cooking while listening to good music, and leisurely phone calls catching up with old friends are just the tip of the iceberg of ways to nourish our own souls. And there are just as many ways to nourish others as we fill our own buckets: those same phone calls and snuggles, volunteering somewhere that makes your heart sing (regardless of the intensity or sadness), smiles, hellos, caring for a busy friend’s children, delivering food to another, and many times just being present.
Being Earth Day this weekend I have thought a lot about her and her resources. Just as we support and feed ourselves, and then each other, we need to also support and feed Earth and Mother Nature. We need to love and lift her up, and just as important, we need to all work together to stop depleting her of her resources and beauty! Remember that as we take the time to nourish our souls and fill our buckets that we also need to do the same for Mother Nature. She needs to have her bucket filled and have us help feed her soul too. Just as there are numerous ways that can bring us fulfillment and a new lease on life there are just as many, if not more, opportunities to do the same for her. To name just a few: recycling, composting, turning off the lights when you leave a room, watering your lawn less, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, using a rain barrel, ensuring your tires are properly inflated, buying Energy Star light bulbs and appliances when possible, carpooling, taking the bus, biking and walking when possible, using a revolving door when available, purchasing recycled paper, receiving and pay bills online, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, using refillable water bottles, and so on.
I feel that this Earth Day is a time that we can make or renew a binding contract with both Earth and ourselves - to give back, to take less, and to restore more!
“It is not selfish to refill your own cup so that you can pour into others. It’s not just a luxury it is essential!”
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”