Let me start by illustrating an unfortunate story of someone i’ve come across named Alex.
Alex is a painter and a sketch artist who has won several awards and has sold much of his work to local collectors. He loves his craft and makes it a point to practice his craft every day. He was offered a publishing deal wherein he had to come up with 100 original artwork for a book. This placed extra pressure on Alex to comply with deadlines and requirements, and he felt the need to rush his work. The result was met with unexpected roadblocks for a week into his creation of the art for his book and he began to feel more stressed and pressured by the exact thing that brought him the greatest joy in the world. Whenever he would look at a blank canvas or his empty sketch book, he would get frustrated and overwhelmed, and experienced a dissatisfaction with his work. He ended up tearing up works in progress, or worse, ended up staring at the canvass seemingly unable to produce anything. Alex is a textbook case of Intuitive Burnout.
It’s actually quite often that I hear from people who come to me for Tarot sessions… that they are not longer happy with what they are doing.. and that they would rather be _________________. And I usually encourage said clients to start with what ever it was that they would RATHER be doing. Since from their point of view it vitalizes them and gives them energy..
But then something unexcpected happens.. They find themsevles experieing something that they never through possible. After days, weeks, months, or somettimes even YEARS of binging and indulging in their passions. They find themselves stuck and unable to move forward. Their canvases are blank, their word processesor are empty, their dance is slowed, or their performance is dulled..
They have fallen into trap of Intuitive Burnout
And how the hell does this happen???
Quite frankly the reasons are numerous but some popular ones i’ve heard from clients were.
- They felt that since they sacrificed their 9 to 5 job to do this they are bound to do it nearly 100% of the time
- They feel that just because they love to do it that they SHOULD as much as possible
- They feel if they stop they may have to go back to the reality of life where they were NOT doing such
Sometimes you say this to yourself:
I LOVE IT!
This is amazing!
This is what I have been called to do in this world!
I can do this every day, and I will feel great about it!
Then comes that horrifying and unexpected moment where you find yourself in a period of distress. It is a strange and different feeling since you know you are doing important work relevant to your intuitive identity and truth. How is it that all of a sudden do not feel as happy as you did when you first started? Why can’t you seem to do the tasks you enjoy with the same intensity that have done so previously?
Some writers call it writers block, others say it is a creative block. If you are a baker and all of a sudden you feel tired of baking for some unidentifiable reason even when you know that baking is your passion, you can similarly call it having “baker’s block”. They go by different names, and experiences may vary, but they all point to the same thing:
Welcome to Intuitive Burnout
Intuitive burnout is not a bad thing. While it may seem like a negative experience due to the difficulties one encounters during a “block” or “burnout”, it is something we can all overcome and something each one of us has experienced at some point in our lives. Feeling this Intuitive Burnout is a sign that you have already over worked your intuitive expression beyond its capacity. It is not a sign that you are no longer happy doing these tasks, instead, it is a reminder for you to slow down. Anything overdone usually results to underperformance due to exhaustion.
Normally, we can come up with excuses for underperformance on a task we feel distaste about. It can be with a job or chore we truly dislike doing, or tasks which are not in congruence with what we really love to do. But in this case you are not doing something you hate. On the contrary, you are doing something that you love. You are doing something you thought that you could do forever. Keep in mind though that too much of a good thing can result in the exhaustion of one’s emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual reserves. Even the greatest creative and artists need time to rest their creative muscles.
Let me illustrate this fact further. If you started eating your favorite food every single day, you would soon tire of this flavor and crave for a break. What if you were to eat the exact same thing three times a day, every day for a year? Do you see what I am getting at? You would get so sick of eating the same thing over and over that you would not even want to see or smell your once favorite food.
This is an example of Intuitive Burnout. Before you are driven to the point of hating the thing that makes you who you are you, will be given warning signs which if properly heeded would allow you to take a step back and recover the energies necessary to resume your passion without being overwhelmed by it. Simply put, Intuitive Burnout is the result of over stressing and over doing the thing that makes you happiest.
If you have fun dancing, by all means do it. But, if there comes a time that you have to force yourself to dance even when you are not mentally or physically inclined to do so, you will end up at odds with your Intuitive mind.
If the warning signs being sent by your Intuitive Self are not being heeded the Intuitive Mind will attempt to communicate in other ways to get you to slow down before you do harm to yourself. A physical illness or injury might result from over doing a physical activity. Mental blocks and creative droughts might arise from an artistic or creative burnout.
A physician friend of mine said that burnout is the result of your mental computer processor having too many windows open at once. What happens on your computer when you open too many windows? Processing power slows down dramatically. The same is true with Intuitive Burnout. It is as if your mind’s processor has dedicated too many of its internal resources towards a particular task. Regardless of the kind of task, the end result will remain the same. You will eventually reach the limit in which you can creatively do things and to push further or force yourself to keep going would be unwise and potentially harmful to yourself.
As a passionate practitioner of the Tarot I love the fact that I can help people with their own intuitive discovery through the use of this noble medium. Indeed, many of the insights I from a lifetime of reading Tarot professionally for hundreds of people around the world. It is safe to say that Tarot is part of my intuitive expression. Despite this being my passion and vocation, I have noticed a pattern of diminishing return that occurs when I overdo Tarot readings for people. Despite feeling good about being able to help others, if I push the envelope and try to read for 10 people in one day, my satisfaction in the task drastically diminishes. Not only that, my ability to read for clients suffers due to the fact that I have expended too much energy in the process. The same applies to other activities and tasks we do in our daily lives.
Imagine doing one thing and one thing alone, day in and day out. Despite this being your personal bliss, being something you are passionate about, how long would it take for you to get tired and exhausted by doing the same thing over and over?
Now the next most obvious question is.. HOW THE HELL DO I FIX THIS? Lucky for you it’s easier than you’d think. What you need is Intuitive Recovery
Intuitive Recovery: (You may use this exercise whenever you feel that you are in a state or nearing the state of Intuitive Burnout.)
Take a look at the thing you love doing. Try to rate it in terms of the frequency, and focus levels on which you perform this task? How often and how well do you do your work?
Take an emotional inventory of how this practice makes you feel RIGHT NOW!
Example:“As of late Alex has noticed more and more that his art is frustrated and is not resonant with who is his anymore. It is not that he does not love art. It is just that he cannot, as of the moment, create anything that he feels he should be proud of. When he thinks about the act of painting or drawing, he feels depressed and frustrated.”
Knowing that Alex still wishes to create art as his profession, he needs to realize the following:
1) Alex is already experiencing Intuitive Burnout. The fact that he cannot do what he loves is a tell-tale sign of this and is already a cause for concern. If he continues to push to do his art he will grow more and more frustrated and hold the practice higher in contempt.
2) Alex needs to find a way to re-ignite the flames of passion within his Intuitive Expression. This is not something that can be done overnight. For the next task, Alex needs answer one question:
Aside from your Intuitive Expression
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT TO DO?
Intuitive Recovery: Re-igniting the flames
Note: I did not say “have to do”, “feel you need to do”, or “are obliged to do”. I said, “WANT”.
If the answer is as simple as have a good meal or even to take up martial arts, it should never be judged or criticized. If your intuitive self is in need of a day or two playing Skyrim on your PC then so be it. As long as the action is not self-destructive and does not harm anyone else, go ahead and do it!
The key here is to not be pressured unless absolutely necessary. Yes, Alex should take into considerations things like family obligations and responsibility, but with regards to his intuitive expression he should NOT force results upon himself.
If Alex feels it is necessary to watch movies for a day then he should consider this. If he feels that he needs to climb a mountain to get his creative juices flowing, then he should consider doing so. What is important is that he nurtures his intuitive self back to a healthy state.
It iss important to remember that during the phase of “Intuitive Recovery” one should only immerse themselves in this state until they feel that the creative energies behind their intuitive expression has been replenished. The state of being in Intuitive Recovery should not be made a norm.
Yes, it is easy to get carried away and simply use intuitive burnout as a reason behind just staying home, sleeping in, and watching television all day long for the next few months. It is your job as a growing intuitive to recognize when your intuitive hiatus ends and when you should get back to your works of passion. Take only the time that you NEED and refrain from using the intuitive recovery method as an excuse for stagnation and inactivity. Remember that by not doing your passion at all for prolonged periods of time can often lead to something even worse than an intuitive burnout: Depression.
Intuitive Recovery is helpful especially if you have been over doing tasks for quite some time. You should always be self-aware enough to know when your personal vacation ends so that you can get back to doing what you love best.
In my own experience, I know I have recovered enough when I start missing the task I set aside for the time being. Once that sign manifests within me I know that it is time to get back to work. On the contrary, the moment I start feeling drained, depressed, and empty from doing my passion work, I know that I could be on the verge of an intuitive burnout and I will then begin to consider if I need to take a step back to regroup and recharge. Doing so enables me to eventually move forward towards my intuitive expression.
As Julia Cameron put in her masterpiece “The Artist Way”:
“When your Creative pool runs dry you need to take the necessary time to yourself to fill it.”
Note: I did not say “have to do”, “feel you need to do”, or “are obliged to do”. I said, “WANT”.
“Intuitive Recovery is helpful especially if you have been over doing tasks for quite some time. You should always be self-aware enough to know when your personal vacation ends so that you can get back to doing what you love best.”