Life is a Bowl of Marbles

I have taken a story I heard and made it my own. The story begins with the concept of energy as marbles. Each small, expendable amount of energy becomes a marble, and we have only a limited number of marbles to use on any given day. The number of marbles may vary from day to day, and most of the time I can pretty well judge each morning just how many marbles I will need for that day. I then place my day’s supply of marbles in an imaginary fish bowl and begin my day.

With each activity I expend a marble. So, for instance, brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc. might be one marble. I use energy with every activity. I set a value for each marble and I can usually (but not always) judge when I have used that amount. You might choose a different value for each marble in a manner that works for you. A large project requires more marbles and on a day that I have pain or do not feel well, a small activity might require more marbles. Even now, all these years after my stem-cell transplant and cancer, I can have days where I have so little energy that I barely have enough marbles for the minimal activities of bathing, resting, and eating (not even preparing food). I have acclimated over time to these days (which thankfully are rare) and usually can allow myself to simply rest.

When I start my day with an awareness of how much energy I have, it allows me to pace myself accordingly. And of course, sometimes I forget – until I am done-in by overdoing. When I have a day that begins with very low energy, I have to practice and practice again the art of letting go of what I can’t do and creating ways to nourish myself that do not require marbles (more on that in another post). If I have a day of activities that are stressful, then I need to plan that the stress itself will use some marbles.

If you don’t see me for a few days or haven’t heard from me, it is not about you. It is just a time when I have truly lost my marbles!

This is my interpretation of a story originally shared with me by Clare Collins in an AVI training and it was originally printed in a TALS newsletter, San Diego chapter.