Sometimes the problem is not you, it is what you are plugged into. A few years ago my dad gifted me a beautiful kettle. It was transparent with a blue light that comes on at the base on while it is boiling. As a committed tea and coffee drinker my kettle has spent a lot of time on. In addition to enjoying the hot beverage I also began to enjoy the boiling experience. Watching the little bubbles dance all around the transparent orb with the blue light highlighting the progress of the boiling was excellent. It enriched my experience in a way I was not even expecting. It was like my own private show and I often took the time to watch the kettle boil, getting lost in the experience and letting my mind wander.
Recently I moved to a new home and to my horror I filled my kettle, plugged it and stood back expecting to observe the usual dance but there was no motion. There was no blue light. There were no small disruptions growing into bigger bubbles as the water heated. The kettle was not boiling. I unplugged it, plugged it again and still nothing. I flipped the switch on and off – still nothing. I unplugged it and plugged it in to the socket right next to it, still nothing. Clearly I’m no electrician. With great disappointment I poured the cold water into a pot and put it on fire, abandoning it to boil on its own. I picked up the kettle and the base and packed it away – it was broken. Now my tea and coffee would be just that – tea and coffee. No more abstract thoughts, flashes of inspiration and getting lost in the blue bubble dance.
About a week later I was cooking dinner in the kitchen. I moved my phone from one charging point to another so I could plug in the blender and all of a sudden it stopped charging. I did what I usually do – turn the socket on and off, unplug and replug – no success. That’s when I realized something – there was nothing wrong with my kettle. I knew this because there was nothing wrong with my phone or its charger. It was just charging a minute ago. Instead, it finally dawned on me that there was something wrong with the socket I had tried to plug it into. I whipped out my kettle from retirement, filled it with water, plugged it into another socket and was soon entranced with the beautiful bubbles dancing across the blue stage. We were back in business. I made myself a coffee for my troubles and carried on cooking, inspired and enlightened.
So now I’m gong to ask – what are you plugged into? Is the socket faulty? Is the switch bad? Is it draining you rather than powering you on? Are you functioning at less than optimal capacity? If so, why? Have you ever had a season where days, weeks and even months pass and the things that used to inspire you fail to get your attention? Have you ever gone through a phase where your dreams and aspirations no longer seem valid or attainable and you give up on them entirely? Have you ever experienced a season where you even got what you prayed for and worked towards and you approach it with mediocrity and disinterest? Are you pursuing your future goals with the same intensity as when you set them? This happens to everyone. And when it does it might be time to take a look at where you’re plugged into. Are you even on? Is your mind alert? Is your head in the game? Is your heart engaged? Or are you merely going through the motions?
Many times we think we might be the source of the problem. We focus inwards feeling frustrated, broken and defeated due to whatever is draining us in a current phase in life. Many times we might also actually be wrong. Rather than relegate that dream, desire or aspiration into retirement, try a different socket. Do not get stuck in your feelings and do not fail to realize that environment plays a key role. The same kettle in a different socket dances, lights up, bubbles and serves its purpose. The same kettle in the same socket – that is not the plug. Just the same way doing the same things and getting different results is rare – as this is also not the plug. Listening to the same things and expecting to feel any differently is unlikely – this is not the plug. When it seems there is no hope, plug yourself in somewhere else. When it seems there is no way forward – adjust your power source.
We are powered, empowered and disempowered by our environment – which starts and ends in the mind. When our thoughts have taken and maintained a negative turn we find ourselves tired, fed up and drained because we are no longer being empowered. What little energy we have left is actually being drained. Therefore we need to make adjustments. Are we listening to negative talk? Is it internal or external? Have we held on to a belief that things will not get better? Have we begun to doubt ourselves and our abilities? Have we projected one negative situation across all areas of our lives and into the future and beyond? What is draining us? Where are we plugged into – what groups, what beliefs, what routines?
Sometimes we simply need to unplug. Stop listening. Stop returning. Stop reminiscing. Sometimes we need to let go of being powered up by the same poor habits and thought patterns and ascend to something new. Plug in to something else. Fixate on what you once dreamt of and aspired to. Set new dreams, golas and aspirations. Listen to people and go to places that ignite the light in you and get you bubbling. Don’t give up. Don’t retire that which just needs a new power source. Wishing you heat, bubbles, well-lit stages and performances that will inspire yourself and others.