How Sharp is your axe? / by Henry Hivnor


I heard an inspiring story I want to share.

I was with a group of friends and we were sharing ideas and techniques for staying in the groove of healthy routines and how to stay with them and not deviate from a path of self care.

Self care is an important part of our lives. its that rest stop on the highway that enables us the recharge and rethink, tune up so we can tune back in.

I, like most people can get caught up in all the little details and lose direction and energy.

Sometimes I catch myself in a confused zone and realize that I’m chasing after myself.

I’m running to catch the train to school, rushing home to see a client and rushing somewhere else and I’m not sure when I’m working or when I’m taking time off, because sometimes my time off is occupied by doing things that keep the momentum going like scheduling a client or event or organizing some future job or project.

Are you like me?  Cheating your self out of down time so you can cram more work into your busy schedule?  Somehow it’s gratifying for me to know I’m getting more done, but in actuality because I’m so exhausted, the quality of my work is not as good, and this low quality of work is what makes me try to run faster to catch up.

Sometimes its hard to see that my attitude or way of being creates the phenomenon that keeps me in an unhealthily cycle.

A lot of people deal with this situation and are unsure about how to slow down and catch their breath, or make time to relax and stick to it.

A friend shared this inspiring parable:

Two men were chopping wood, one man was older and the other younger. They both had big piles of wood to chop and it was clear that they had a lot of wood to cut and it would take them a long time.

The younger man had a gun ho attitude and was vigorously chopping all the wood with speed and gusto.

The old man had a different method, he was pausing and taking breaks.

The old man finished chopping his wood pile before the younger man.

The younger man, exasperated looked up at the old man and said:  “  what gives? whats your secret? how did you possibly finish before me,  I’m so much faster! ”

The old man smiled and said: I take breaks so I can sharpen my axe.

This story demonstrates how helpful it can be to take a break so we can sharpen our mental axes or do what ever we need to do to recharge.

When you hear the term self care what comes to mind?

Some how for me there has been a disconnect, or I had thought: self care if for people who have the time, it’s some kind of luxury, celebrities and rich people can afford to slack off and get massages, but I live in the real world where I have to work and get things done.

(obviously an old unhealthy thought pattern or belief!  I was way off the mark!)

The people who take time to unwind and relax, breathe and meditate, are the people who will be the most clear minded and grounded and will then be the most effective at their jobs and careers.

I hope this story inspires you to pause and sharpen your axe.