There was a class I took a few years back about commercial energy conservation. The teacher was an older man, grayhaired, very kind, and with a voice that sounded like a grandpa reading a bedtime story. The class was boring as ever, which made it difficult to keep my eyes open, let alone pay attention and learn the material.
I will say that some of the information was interesting. I understood the premises of the class. I understood the information but less than midway through the lesson, the teacher would go off on a tangent and laugh with his quiet little bedtime story laugh. He would talk about something that happened to him or his family and then just like that, half the class would start to nod and fall asleep.
The reason for the class was to learn different ways to conserve energy. However, in fairness, the material was about as interesting as watching grass grow. We talked about lighting and motion sensors, different ways to conserve water, and ways to save money.
Safe to say I hardly had enough steam to finish the class, much less take the tests that came along with it. At the time, I was working from 6:00am to 2:00pm which meant that I was up early and on a City-bound train by 4:09 to make it into work on time.
I never thought much about energy conservation. I certainly never thought much about it when I was a kid. I remember when I left the light on in the kitchen or the bathroom and either The Old Man or Mom would shout about wasting electricity.
I remember leaving the front door open for a few minutes on occasion and The Old Man would ask me, “What are you doing? Are you trying to heat up the neighborhood? Close the door! You’re letting all the heat out.”
The Old Man hated waste. He hated if I wasted electricity. He hated if I wasted food and certainly hated when I wasted my time.
Maybe I was too young to understand. Maybe this was because I was just a kid and I never had to pay the bills. Safe to say that I was not much of a conservationist when I was a kid.
The Old Man would try and teach me about waste but I never listened. Besides, I was a kid. And more than that, I was the kid that flipped the light switch on and off as fast as I could in a classroom. I did this because our teacher told the class that it costs the school money each time they turn a light on and off. (Safe to say, I took this as a dare and ran up to the front of the room and hit the light switch as fast as I could and said, “You mean like this?”)
There are different types of energy. There is sound, chemical, radiant, eclectic, atomic, and mechanical. This is what the class was about — and to be honest, I hardly remember this much.
I understand more about energy now. I understand that we have energy. I understand that we consume some and we use some and sometimes we waste some.
I think emotional energy can either feed us or drain us. I know that when faced with tasks; there are two different ways to face them.
There is an acronym that I remember well from my younger age. The acronym is F.E.A.R.
This can go in either of two ways, in which case, you can say “Fuck Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Recover.”
There is another meaning behind this acronym, which goes, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Either way, fear is energy.
I know that my mind has different places where I store my memory. I keep my experiences here. I know that my resentments are stored away in a storage room somewhere. So are my unresolved tensions and my deepest concerns. I think about this and compare my mind to a huge building with thousands of storage rooms.
I know that my body is equipped with only so much energy, which means I have to conserve where I can. I am my own power plant.
I think about the waste of electricity. I think about the lights that are on in the unimportant storage rooms. I think about the lights on that glare above the wreckage of my past. I think about the rooms that are not necessary or in use, and yet still, the lights are on.
In other words, the lights that burn are a figurative term for my vast amount of distractions.
I have my thoughts all over the place, which is draining and often intimidating. This is what leads to anxiety and anxiety attacks. As well, this distorts my view and diminishes my ability to reach my best potential. This is what degrades personal efficiency and drains my energy. Each so-called room with the lights on are a representation of a dilemma or a distraction.
In our head are thousands of rooms:
There are rooms with memory and rooms with fear. There are rooms with anger and rooms of past experiences, biases, prejudice, and the inaccurate preconceived notions — all of which are rooms with lights on and burning bright. All of which drains us and degrades our energy.
Imagine how much energy we would have if we could simply shut the lights.
Imagine how much energy we would have if fear was removed from the equation. Or what about the ideas of rejection? Imagine how much energy we would conserve for ourselves if we were unconcerned with ideas like unimportant acceptance and rejection.
I never learned much from that class with the old grandpa teacher. I did learn that by conserving energy, we can save money.
In the grand scheme of daily living, I learned that by conserving personal energy, we can save our own life.
I guess maybe the class wasn’t so bad after all.