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Burnout: Part One

From page 7 in "Burnout: A spiritual crisis on the Way Home by Stephen G. Wright.

Burnout may be related to stress in the workplace and the demands of caring, but there are invariably deeper issues at work. The challenge of burnout is to treat it for what it is -- a spiritual crisis.

Work and caring pressures are factors it is true, but these are often the agents provocateurs rather than root causes. Burnout is the desperate cry of the very essence of who we are/the highest self/the soul to break free. It is symptomatic of a longing to be liberated, no longer defined by who or what others say we are.

It is the struggle to be in the world in which we find and give love and compassion; have work and relationships that have heart and meaning for us. It is the longing to be free of old wounds and other unconscious processes that limit our definitions and understanding of ourselves, our freedom to be in the world fully and authentically who we truly are.

This struggle for truth and authenticity, when we are trapped in work and relationships that inhibit or edit us and which no longer nurture us, can lead to an experience of profound exhaustion. It is an exhaustion made worse by confusion if we can see no way out, or understand why we feel so bad, or try to help ourselves by injecting even more effort to get things “back to normal.”

Spirituality is all about the way each person finds meaning, purpose and connection in the world -- how we relate to ourselves, to each other and perhaps (for many people) to an Absolute, God, Ultimate Reality. Spirituality helps us to find our grounding in the world, our purpose for living, to seek and find the answers to questions such as “who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I get there?”

A spiritual crisis is a crisis of meaning, purpose and connection, and so is burnout. Everything that we once thought of as normal or valuable or certain in our lives can suddenly be thrown into turmoil.

Continued in part two...



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