When I was in Peru, I was told that the alpaca know how big of a load they can carry and if you overload them, they will refuse to walk. We could learn from them. I imagine the alpaca saying, “Come on, I’m overburdened. You know I can only do 50 pounds, no way I’m going to carry a 60 pound pack! I’ll just sit down till you fix it!” (I don’t know whether this is actually true but I loved the idea of it.)
In From Sacred to Sacred, I share a spirit lesson that I received—one that I’m still trying to integrate in my life.
“You think that there are so many more important things to do. You find life isn’t working, so you do more. Your energy—your spirit scatters to the wind because you keep doing—filling your calendar with activities and feeling no peace.… You are terrorized by the voices in your head which tell you “you aren’t good enough—do more,” because no matter what you do it doesn’t seem to work. It is like you are flogging a beast of burden that is doing all it can do and you keep beating it and beating it until it falls down exhausted and refuses to move. You desire peace and yet you do everything but sit still.”
We intuitively know when we have overburdened ourselves but we often don’t give ourselves that time to listen to our bodies and spirits. We need time to check in each day to listen. As my Guiding Voice said, we do everything but get still. When we slow down and take time to be still, we can better judge whether the activities we are so busy with are aligned with love and service. We can’t be of service to anyone over an extended period of time if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. The alpaca knows that.
Sometimes life requires us to push beyond our physical comfort zones to grow or to work through a crisis time. But often we live as though we are on a treadmill and we keep turning up the speed. Not because of life crisis but because we aren’t listening to our inner knowledge of what is good for us and we think if we do more we’ll prove how good we are. That sort of constant motion and unending to-do lists can make us perpetually tired, physically ill and soul sick.
Perhaps we need to take a trick from the Alpaca. When we feel overburdened, we need to stop and notice what’s in the pack that we’ve placed on our backs. Maybe it is more than we can carry. Or maybe we simply need some time to rest, graze and refuel before we can continue.
What is your life telling you about the pack you are carrying? Do you need to put your pack down for a while and repack it? Or do you need someone to help you share the load? You’ll never really know till you get still enough to check in, will you?
What do you think? Could you learn from the alpaca? (He’s awfully cute, isn’t he?)
PS. If you are a woman who could use some time out for stillness and taking care of your health, consider joining Annette Magee and I in Bodego Bay, CA June 13-16 for an all inclusive retreat where we will relax, have massages, energy healings and focus on how we can live healthier and more powerful lives without draining our energy. Visit the Alivie Website for more information. It is going to be a powerful nurturing weekend.