The Ebb and Flow of Energy

Yesterday we visited a new puppy who has recently arrived at my friend’s house:

Puppy Eyes

She’s called Bunty, she’s 7 weeks old and when she grows up she’ll become a guide and a companion to a blind person. My friend just gets to keep Bunty and train her for her first year of life, and then she’ll be moved to a training facility, where she’ll learn all she has to know in order to do her job well.

So, all this means is that we really need to enjoy her for the 12 months that she’s here! As soon as we went in the house she was bouncing, sniffing, nibbling, catching her tail, somersaulting round the rug, playing with her toys. She was a blur of irrepressible energy:

A Blur of Energy

Rough and Tumble

In fact, it was some time before I managed to take a photo that wasn’t blurred! However, after a wee while she calmed down, and then promptly dropped off to sleep:

Sleepy Head

Zonked Puppy

What really struck me about Bunty (besides from her unbelievable cuteness, that is!) was this ebb and flow of energy, and how she didn’t try and fight it, as it was just a part of her inherent nature. Small children do this too; they run around, climb on the furniture, display infinite curiosity and a knack for creating chaos whichever way they turn. And then, when you are just about run ragged trying to keep up with them, you find them conked out on the floor, the sofa, or wherever they were when sleep happened to overtake them.

Now, I guess it’s necessary for us to grow out of this stage. After all, we can’t keep up that kind of energetic ebb and flow and function well, or perhaps at all, within society. However, I do wonder whether we have become a little too disconnected from our energy levels. The pace of life is so frantic in the 21st century, and we are all so busy trying to ensure that we keep up with it. We stop taking notice of when we’re tired and we keep pushing on.

This is exactly what happened to me last year. I conferenced, I wrote, I taught, I blogged… and then I stopped. I had pushed past my natural flow of energy and I was exhausted. I feel like it’s taken such a long time to recover from this, and I only wish that I had paid more attention to that physical need to stop and rest. I wish I had taken a leaf out of Bunty’s book and rested when I needed to, and then returned with energy redoubled.

Does this sound a familiar pattern to you? Do you regularly push through your low energy levels, only to find that the high is not as high as it was before? What lessons have you learned recently from the bundles of fun in your life?


April 11, 2008. Inspiration.


  1. Xarah replied:

    I work from home and take liberty to go back to bed after breakfast when I feel really tired. Of course not much gets done on a day like that. But I think I’m entiteled to take a Xarah-day once in a while 🙂

  2. mrschili replied:

    I haven’t been as mindful of my ebb and flow as I probably ought to be. I’m working on it, though; while I think it’s important to maintain our commitments and be what we promise others we’ll be, I think it’s equally important to take care of ourselves. I’m not sure I put as much priority on taking care of me as I do on taking care of others.

    SO much cuteness! I just want to snoozle her little puppy ears!

  3. the slackmistress replied:

    What a wonderful (and for me) timely post.

    As a writer, I am always pushing past my limits trying to produce, produce, produce…fretting constantly and never getting as much done as I think I should. It would probably benefit me to pay attention to things like this.

  4. Autumn Song replied:

    Awwww! What a cute puppy! She’s gorgeous.

    I think one of the reasons adults don’t take notice of this ebb and flow, is that we aren’t allowed to fall asleep at work (this is not to say I haven’t, on more than one occasion, fallen asleep at my desk, both in the office and at home). But in the evenings now I am much more likely just to have a nap if I’m that tired. Sometimes I don’t even get a choice; the overwhelming need to sleep just takes over, and I wake up an hour later. This doesn’t happen at work – because when I’m at work if I feel that tired I’ll get up, walk about, find coffee, eat something and then I stay awake until it’s time to go home. But if I possibly can – if I’m not working to a tight deadline – then I’ll give in to overwhelming urges to sleep when I’m at home. If my body didn’t need sleep, it wouldn’t tell me that urgently that it did. I think we should all be a little more responsive to what our bodies ask of us.

  5. wendikelly replied:

    Oh Amy,

    Other than my two dogs, of course, that may be the cutest pup ever.
    And I agree, the things we learn from dogs could be a whole book, you knnow?
    Mine are asleep at my feet as I type, but an hour ago, they were running all over the house with the kids creating chaos everywhere they went.
    Now, I alone sit here awake in the aftermath, already exhausted from it al at 9:09 a.m.

    Thanks for this timely post. I think I’m going to go join my pups for a morning nap.

    I had my crash and burn a few years ago and it took a long recovery. I pay much better attention now. Sleep is a HIGH priority for me.

  6. Joanna Young replied:

    Amy, having burned out once I’m not going to do it again, so yes I do pay a great deal of attention to my energy flows.

    Thank you for the reminder and for sharing the pictures of the puppy who is just totally adorable.


  7. Karen Swim replied:

    Amy, I learned the hard way. After my husband passed away, I found my body fought me when I tried to just keep going. I suppose it had been through enough and was not allowing it any longer. I now have an appreciation for self-care and when I need to break I do. Sometimes I need to do nothing and rather than feel guilty I realize my body is protecting itself. Bunty is adorable and what a noble mission he has in life. Thanks for adorable pics!


  8. Darren Daz Cox replied:

    🙂 so cool!

    It took me a while to unlearn the concept of ‘giving 110%’, sleep is important!

  9. amypalko replied:

    I think you are absolutely entitled to a Xarah day, Xarah!

    I think the key, Mrschili, is not to commit ourselves to too much in the first place. This is what I struggle the most with!

    I’m so glad you read this at the right time, Slackmistress. I know exactly what you mean about the writing and the pressure to keep producing. It’s so important to take a step back and rest and reassess though, isn’t it?

    She is a cutie, isn’t she, Autumn Song? And yes, I think you’re spot on – I think we should all try and be a little more responsive to our physical demands.

    I’m glad you’ve made your recovery, Wendikelly. And yes, I must confess to being completely smitten with Bunty 🙂

    It’s sad that we have to experience it first hand though, isn’t it, Joanna?

    Self care should be an integral aspect in our everyday life, shouldn’t it, Karen?

    Sleep is extremely important, Daz! It’s fine to give 110% as long as you take a break afterwards.

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