A Year Of Living Intentionally Day 2: I Feel Shattered But Alive

Erin Roberts
June 20, 2024

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”

— Oprah Winfrey —

I feel shattered but alive. Tired but energized. Today was a normal day in many ways but also a lot. It was an intensive exercise in boundary setting and seeing where my strengths are and my weaknesses lie. I discovered there are a lot of weaknesses. Places I’m surrendering to the compulsion to ignore the signals of my body to work a little bit more. Just a little bit more I tell myself. Lies. All lies. Just one more document to get through. Another email to respond to. One more message to respond to. And so it goes. It never ends though does it? You know how it is, don’t you Dear Reader?

But I did well. Better than expected. Though it was hard pushing back on the conditioning to grind just a little bit more the whole livelong day. But as I look back on the day I recall many moments of victory.

I woke up at five because I had a call at seven. I had set my alarm the night before with the intention to build in time for meditation and ideally a workout. Moments after my alarm went off I was tempted to start work right away but I didn’t. Partly because I have this built in accountability mechanism of writing about the experience, documenting this journey. But also because I knew that meditation is what I needed. Like taking my morning medicine. It is my morning medicine.

I’m getting better at listening to my body. But still it feels like a quiet whisper compared to the way my brain shouts at me to work harder, do more, go further.

After my meditation I had coffee and then set an intention for the day. Three, actually: Be peaceful, Stay calm and Be rooted. And then I got to work half an hour before my first call.

The first call, the only call today, was a two hour marathon. It was a hard discussion but not as hard as it could have been. I was peaceful (for me). I stayed calm (for me). I was rooted (for anyone). I could feel myself stretching deep into the ground from where I sat at my laptop. And I held my ground on the call, but not in a protracted way. I did get emotional but not upset. Not angry or sad. I knew what was needed and I advocated for that. We eventually got to a place where we needed to be. More conversations yet to come but the road feels smoother now. The path looks lighter, more illuminated.

After the call I got rooted in something else: my emails. I was tempted, so tempted, to keep going and going and going. But eventually I said: No, this is enough — and closed my laptop. It’s time for a break I told my mind. It was so tempting to go back to my laptop as I waited for my coffee to brew. But I didn’t. I exercised the muscle of setting boundaries. And it feels stronger now. I feel stronger now.

I still have my workout ahead of me as I didn’t get that done in favour of preparing for my call. And in truth, I feel kind of wrecked after a day of work following an intense discussions. Perhaps I feel wrecked partly because I didn’t get my workout in first thing. So that’s another lesson learned: make time for moving my body in the morning. It’s more difficult now as my calls are starting earlier. I’m across the world from many of my colleagues. My early morning is their late afternoon. But it’s still possible. I just need to decide. Maybe that will be my intention tomorrow.

As I write this, having come to the beach to catch a bit of sunshine in the afternoon, I know that it can be done. Setting intentions and following them through is possible. Exercising boundaries and overcoming my compulsion to grind through the day. Now I know that it can change an outcome. Make a day better. Lighter. So now I’m going to take a walk, then maybe go for a bike ride this evening and perhaps a little bit of pilates to cap off the day. And tomorrow I’ll do it all again, but a little bit better.

Erin Roberts is a climate policy researcher and a curious human whose life is dedicated to making the world a little better every day. She is the founder and global lead of the Loss and Damage Collaboration and the founder and convener of the Climate Leadership Initiative.

Originally published on Medium here: