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Burnout: Part Two

Continued from part 1:



Psychotherapist and author Frances Vaughn writes that “anyone who has experienced burnout, a common occupational hazard among helping professionals, has probably had the feeling of being trapped in a web of necessity and impossible demands. Most recommended treatments for burnout consist of stress reduction or setting boundaries. They overlook the fact that Burnout usually indicates a state of spiritual aridity, and the effective treatment may call for spiritual renewal or awakening the soul.”


This “spiritual aridity” is burnout. It is what happens when the energy we are investing in trying to keep things “normal” to keep control of our lives, to keep things the same becomes more and more demanding. As the energy required to keep things stable increases, we become increasingly depleted, exhausted and heartsick with the effort.


The greater the exhaustion the closer we get to an almost complete state of mental, physical, social and spiritual collapse. At some level one or more relationships is changing, or change is being demanded, perhaps with work, a primary personal relationship or with our deepest truth about ourselves and our beliefs.


It is like being far out to sea in a small boat, the familiar harbour has been left behind and no amount of frantic rowing seems to get us any closer to getting back there, meanwhile, over the horizon there may be a new safe haven, but it is invisible to us and its existence thereby doubted.


Nothing less than a complete transformation in our way of being is arising and, whether we perceive it consciously or whether it is bubbling along in the unconscious, this too can be terrifying. The levels of fear, panic, pain and distress in our lives are often unprecedented.


Burnout is always a call for a change.

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