Tag Archives: exhaustion

Celebrate Encouragement


Point to Ponder:
Who in your life can you use some words of encouragement?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In last week’s journal, Lift Higher, I wrote that in honor of iGnite’s tenth birthday that throughout next month we would celebrate by commemorating the people in our lives that lift us higher, as well as ways that they lift us higher. Thank you to everyone reading this journal because you taking the time to read this is lifting me higher, but in addition, a very recent example took place this summer during our iGnite Escape in Banff, Canada.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, myself and thirteen iGniters participated in a six hour mountaineering adventure called Via Ferrata. It was the perfect blend of fear, exhilaration and exhaustion, but by the end we were on top of the world and so thankful that we pushed ourselves to climb so high and for so long. While one of the more memorable takeaways was how important it is to put ourselves in situations that are mentally, physically and emotionally challenging (and even frightening), in order to encounter life’s most amazing and empowering experiences. However, the memory that made the greatest impact and the one I’d like to celebrate with you this week is the power of encouragement, for had it not been for the constant encouragement from one another as well as our guides, the experience would have been completely different and the end result would not have been so monumental.

Interesting, while on the Via Ferrata each of us found ourselves fearful and/or fatigued at different times, which meant that when one or a few of of us were down, the others were lifting each other up. It was a symphony of highs and lows, which resembled life as well as highlighted the significance of encouragement.

While encouraging and building one another up is an iGnite staple and may feel like a no-brainer, this week I invite you to make it your top priority. Celebrate those who encourage you and take the time to build someone up who is in need of your encouragement. Life ebbs and flows daily and you never know when someone needs to be lifted up or how a few words can make a profound impact on those around you.

Action Item:
Take time to encourage as many people as possible.

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Hard Lessons Learned from the Big Move

iGnite - make sense of change

Photo above taken during a Susan B. Komen rafting trip during the iGnite Escape to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Point to Ponder:
What changes are you currently experiencing?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I suppose I can officially claim California as my new home state. While I’m a Texan and Austinite at heart, I’ve lived in San Diego for a grand total of sixteen days, and I am pleased to share that with each passing day I am feeling more confident, comfortable and accomplished, as I have achieved the following three goals:
I found a babysitter (actually, Durant, our four year old spotted her out at the hotel pool and the rest was history).
I can get myself to the Pacific Coast Highway and all beaches with no GPS (thanks to the wonderful iGnite member Jill Imhoff who lives part-time in San Diego and has taken me under her warm wing.) #StrongerTogetHER!
I can get to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for an awesome hike, and I actually know where the heck I am going
While I am thankful and proud of these emotionally grounding steps and stabilizing pillars, this whole moving picture was and has been nothing short of frantic, sad and angry, as sixteen days ago I was a wreck and the canvas was an ugly mess!

The week leading up to our departure to the west coast was bittersweet. The ‘sweet’ being spending time with dear friends and family members, and the ‘bitter’ being seeing our home that we brought both of my children Durant and Malaine home from the hospital to and was also filled with amazing memories, become an empty house. That just plain stunk. The absolute worst of the worst was saying goodbye, which if I never had to say another goodbye as long as I lived, I’d be okay with it!! I know that’s not realistic, but it’s my truth.

In the moving ‘blender’ were absolute physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, the emotions that come with a husband who has been gone for two months due to his new job and now being physically back in our lives, along with real sadness and anger. I had been faithful, strong and positive throughout the entire job loss, job change, putting the house on the market and the sale of the house. Then, when the reality of leaving everyone and everything I loved set in and we set off to San Diego, the blender produced an ugly mess of emotions.

When we landed in San Diego, it was of course sunny and there was a cool breeze blowing, but really I couldn’t have cared less. I was legitmately sad, mad and a house overlooking the beach in La Jolla would not have satisfied me. As we drove to see our new house (which I had not seen in person yet), everything was unfamiliar, and directionally nothing made sense. I couldn’t tell which way was North, South, East or West. When we got to our empty house, the rooms seemed small and the house felt cold, and even though the neighborhood was highly recommended and described as the perfect place for families, it felt unfriendly. Ultimately, it wasn’t Austin, “my people” were missing, and my in-control, comfortable and happy world had just been rocked and turned upside down.

Looking back, of course these were normal emotions which I should’ve anticipated (especially because I have never moved like this before), but I’m a’ glass half full’-type and a faithful person. I knew I couldn’t change the situation, and we had moved to a pretty spectacular place, so complaining or feeling sorry for myself was just not an option. However, this was still a big change and even the most optimistic attitude couldn’t combat my sadness.

I’m not writing this journal to give you the play-by-play on our move, rather, in the past two weeks I’ve learned a lot that I want to share. As summer has officially ended and the fall season and school year has begun, there is a lot of change that is and will be occurring in not just mine, but many of our lives right about now. And if you aren’t experiencing change now, there will be a day when you will, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned thus far:

1. Being sad and mad are normal and healthy emotions, but they must get out. I was being totally passive aggressive and ugly to my husband Russell, which was terrible for him and created a ton of tension between us. It wasn’t until I told him exactly why I was mad and sad and that I would get over it, but that I needed him to let me be mad and sad and not try to fix it that things started to get better. It was like having the flu, and the emotions needed time to run their course. Thankfully they did, and things became better quickly.

2. Manage your expectations, take baby steps and accept feeling out of control. I wanted to have San Diego ‘figured out’ the day we landed. I wanted all boxes unpacked and the house looking great and feeling like our old house within days of arriving. I was craving organization and control! Of course all of this was absolutely not possible, and thanks to the advice from iGnite Leader and dear friend Kathleen Parker, I needed to “relax, breathe and focus on having fun with my family. There were no deadlines.” Then, my sweet cousin Craig reminded me to “not lose any sleep over unpacked boxes.” What profound wisdom! And so, I’ve doing what I can when I can and am making great strides to chill and realize this whole process is a journey.

3. Don’t compare your new life to your old life. As soon as we got in our rental car and left the airport to begin our new life, seriously, my brain immediately started trying to fit my Austin life into my San Diego life. It was the strangest thing, as I could physically feel my brain trying to make it happen. I was in complete compare mode. Though San Diego and Austin have similar cultures, San Diego is it’s own place — as all places are– and while I can and will certainly partake in similar activities and develop endearing and meaningful relationships like I have in Austin, they are different. It’s a new time and place and things are automatically going to look and feel different. I will of course hold onto all friendships and memories in Austin, but in order to fully experience and make the best out of our time in San Diego, I need to fully embrace it.

4. We are StrongerTogetHER. It was intentional for our summer shirts to read StrongerTogetHER. We believe that living, sharing and experiencing life together and in community is the best and only way. Plus, we believe we are created for community. But what I didn’t expect was how badly I was going to need it and appreciate it once I got to San Diego. As I mentioned earlier, sweet iGnite member and friend Jill Imhoff lives part-time in Austin and part-time in San Diego, and the day we landed she reached out to me and validated all of my mad and sad feelings. Then, within three days she was offering to help me unpack. Letting others help me is not something I accept well, but I was drowning in chaos and confusion and I knew letting her help me would be the best thing. Then, three days later, she drove me around to help me get the lay of the land and most importantly, get to the beaches. She also took me to Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, where we hiked. What I’ve learned is how important it is to be vulnerable, raw and let others be your neighbor. We can’t and aren’t created to do anything alone, and change is much easier to accept and move through when we allow others to help us. Reach out to others and allow them to give you the gift guiding you down a path that they’ve already walked down and are better equipped to show you through.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself: what change(s) am I experiencing right now? Do you have a new job, are you new to iGnite or Austin, or have you recently moved? Is your first or last child entering Kindergarden or are you an empty nester? Are you expecting a child or are you a new parent? Are you newly married or recently divorced? Are you in a new relationship or have you recently lost someone you love?

Change is everywhere and all around us. The key to managing it and getting through it without losing your mind is letting go and sharing it with others. And so, here’s to a fall season of new beginnings togetHER!

Action Item:
Stop trying to control your changing circumstances, whatever they are.
Instead, let go and allow yourself to share it with others.

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The Antidote for Exhaustion Is NOT Rest, It’s…

Retreat dance party – the ultimate in letting go & wholeheartedly enjoying the moment

“It’s a journey… no one is ahead or behind you.
You are not more advanced or less enlightened.
You are exactly where you need to be. It’s not a contest, it’s life.
We are all teachers and we are all students.”

Point to Ponder:
Does comparison play a role in stealing your joy?
Action Item:
For this one week, eliminate the behaviors (possibly social media)
that cause you to compare your life with the lives of others.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Two weekends ago at our Intentional Renewal Wellness Retreat at the T Bar M Resort in New Braunfels, our Saturday morning opening speaker was Dave Sunde. Dave is a pastor at Riverbend Church and leads the adult Sunday School class I attend. Every Sunday he leads us in a thought-provoking, interesting and heartfelt conversation, and his presentation at the retreat was no different. Dave spoke on the topic of renewal: renewal in the sense that we need it on a regular basis, but that we are created for it too. Dave referenced a book called Midlife & the Great Unknown, and went on to say that the author, David Whyte, suggests that the antidote for exhaustion isn’t rest, it’s wholeheartedness. Did you read that?  I’ll say it again: the antidote for exhaustion isn’t rest, it’s wholeheartedness. HO-LY COW! Is that blowing your mind like it blew mine?! Honestly, I can’t type my thoughts fast enough and have been thinking about it ever since I first heard it.

My first conclusion is this: no wonder why our society is  such an exhausted and stressed group of people. We’re over-committed, over-involved, over-stimulated and over-worked. And, it’s simply not possible to be wholehearted when we’re pulled in eighteen million different directions. It’s an unsustainable pace and a lifestyle that sets us and our children up for personal and professional burnout and failure. I believe the way we begin living a more wholehearted life is by saying “no” more often and “yes” less often. In other words, we need to be very selective with the things we choose to give and spend our time on.  Just imagine if we chose a minimum of one and a maximum of three things to pour our whole heart into (and family definitely counts as one). The value and meaning we would add to our lives and our relationships would soar! It’s the whole notion of “less is more” or “addition by subtracting.” I think we would all be better off and less exhausted if we put this into action.

My next wholehearted conclusion is based upon a Teddy Roosevelt quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This one is huge, so here it is again: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a game-changing quote that has absolutely  everything to do with living a wholehearted life. Here’s why: I think we’re all trying to keep up with one another — and that is exhausting. I also think this links back to my first conclusion, as could it be possible that we are over-committed, over-involved, over-stimulated and over-worked because we are trying to keep up with too many people (society) and we’re not living our own life?

Unfortunately we live in a world where nothing is off-limits or sacred, and thanks to 24-hour television access, the internet and social media, everyone’s everything is in our face, and it’s almost impossible to avoid continually comparing our lives.  And where there’s comparison ,there is always judgement — thinking someone or someone’s life is better (either you or the other person). All in all, we’re inundated with everyone’s airbrushed highlight reals, and it’s pretty much impossible for that to not have an effect us. As a result, I think we must strive to live a counter-culture life and live our own lives without the fear of judgement or acceptance of any one else. It’s then that I think our ability to live wholeheartedly, instead of exhausted, is possible.

This week, as one of the many components of iGnite’s 7-Day  Cleanse, iGnite will be taking a break from social media, and we encourage you to do the same. While we do think that social media has a place in the world and we are proud that the iGnite social media presence is building community and sharing a positive, encouraging and inspirational message, we feel that an occasional social media cleanse is healthy and necessary for us all. The purpose of our cleanse is to evaluate what types of unnecessary things we might be addicted to and to analyze the effect of eliminating them. Maybe social media only adds value to your life, or maybe it’s sucking time out of your day, preventing you from doing more of what you love, seeing more of the beauty in the world or living your best life. Comparison and societal approval rob us from living an authentic and joyful life, and we suspect that social media plays a role in this. Ultimately, we expect fantastic results, and we invite you to join us on round one of the “Antidote for Exhaustion Challenge.”