When I was recovering from my burnout, the phrase “Slowing down to the speed of grace” kept popping into my head. My intuition told me this phrase contained the answers I needed to recover and make sense of why I had burned out (twice!), as well as wisdom for living a different kind of life.

Over the last couple of years, I recovered from my burnout, lost 50lbs, started to write and trained as a life coach.

The mantras that guided my recovery and allowed me to discover that burnout can be a gateway to joy were, and continue to be:

“Slowing down to the speed of grace”

“Relax and Enjoy”

and “There is nothing wrong”

As children, we were taught to work hard at school, get good grades, go to uni, work hard and get a good degree, get a good job, work hard, get a promotion, get a partner, work hard at our relationship, have kids, work hard at being a good mother, work hard at being a good woman, a good friend, work hard, work hard, work hard! This, we were told, would bring us happiness, but this happiness is always located in the future, when we have worked hard enough, when we are good enough, when we have finished this project, got this kid into school, lost 10lbs, when the weekend comes, when our next holiday rolls around, when things slow down — then, we tell ourselves, then I will have time to do the things I really want to do.

We normalise being on the hamster wheel, we normalise the feelings of being exhausted, we push ourselves forward, until we can push no longer.

For some of us, the still, small voice begins to make itself heard in the midst of the frantic pace, for others it has to stop us to get us to pay attention.

“I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like ‘hmm, that’s odd.’ Or, ‘hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.’ Or, ‘hmm, is that right?’ It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder.

I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head.

You don’t pay attention to that — the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives. And so, I ask people, ‘What are the whispers? What’s whispering to you now?’” — Oprah

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

This is slowing down to the speed of grace. Listening to the whispers, where underneath the mind chatter of habitual thinking, you meet the space within you, that has always been there, where all the answers you ever wanted are waiting to be seen and heard and lived.

When we listen, we come to the realisation that there is an intelligence inside us, the same intelligence that heals cut fingers, causes acorns to grow into oak trees, rather than sycamores and has always been available to us, in every moment.

We realise that it is all our thoughts of the way things “should” be, that stands in the way of living a joyful, creative life. We reject what is occurring now, in favour of our thoughts of past mistakes and regrets and worries about the future.

Photo by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash

But as we slow down and become curious, we see that thoughts come and go, they are as insubstantial as clouds. Just as the sky is unaffected by the clouds, we find that who we really are, a spiritual being having a human experience, is unaffected by the passing thoughts. Seeing this, we begin to relax and enjoy our lives, grateful for the ability to be conscious of all the experiences that make up this human experience, secure in the knowledge that not only are we not broken, we are unbreakable.

Then, burnout becomes a gateway to joy — the kindness of the intelligence within you, pointing you back to your true nature, to the work your heart longs for, to a life that nourishes you and those around you. A life in which you are free to bring your flavour of the universal intelligence to the world.

If you are hearing the whispers of your soul and have ignored them and that is causing symptoms of stress and overwhelm in your life, then I would love to talk to you. Together, we can listen to the whispers, unravel the thoughts that are keeping you stuck and find your own gateway to joy.

You can book a complimentary 1 hour session with me on Zoom by going to my calendar here.

Originally published at medium.com