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Burnout or Burning

In the last times I witnessed a few cases where friends came into a burnout. Certain patterns seemed me to be similar: Over a long time there had been quite a commitment to a voluntary activity. With the time the work load had increased, and they felt responsible for running the activity they were committed to, and also for the general situation around the activity. Were there signs of a “helper syndrome”? Difficulties were overcome with enthusiasm, which, with the time, mixed with frustration and exhaustion. Suddenly they drew back from their commitment and the related contacts. I suppose, followed by a crisis. A case of compassion fatigue?

There is an underlying structure: A pendulum in motion swings from one side to the other. An over-activity leads in the long run to an under-activity. Only an inner equilibrium can also create an outer balance. In the wisdom teachings, such as those of Pythagoras, the over-activity is called an acute angle:

spitz.jpgthe under-activity an obtuse angle: stumpf.jpgand the well-balanced activity a right angle:recht.jpg When you are in the acute angle, you tend to overdo things, even with a good motive. Aggression, haste, nervousness cause a state of tension. When you are in the obtuse angle, you tend to be late in doing things, being slow in understanding and acting or reacting. Both angles are counter-acting. In the right angle, you find the middle path of an adequate reaction. In order to be balanced in a stable way, you need to be well aligned vertically, meaning in a stable connection with your inner, the soul or the higher self, and active horizontally, into the world. In the sign of the equilateral cross you see four right angles, having a stable stand in the world:recht2.jpgIn this position you are unlikely to fall victim, even of a burnout. A burnout means that before you have burnt. The burning fire is the symbol of life force. At Easter they use to burn fires as a sign of new life coming with spring, or with the resurrection. The following picture of a fire ritual is a beautiful illustration of the fully burning vital force.

This blog-post has been translated into Spanish, together with some other posts of this series.

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