If you get overwhelmed or scattered when making changes in your life or setting more powerful intentions– then maybe you’re leaking.

Or, if you’ve read books like The Secret, and even though you’re thinking better thoughts, things keep falling apart, and you’ve said, “This stuff doesn’t work,” then you might be leaking.

Or, if you have absolutely zero idea what your ideal life would look like because every time you turn around some new clump of organic matter has hit the fan, and you’re just trying to get through it, then you could be leaking.

What are you leaking?

Your own precious energy or life force.

What does that mean?

It means this: Part of creating an authentic, powerful, serene, present-moment life is actually practical. It has to do with your energy and your focus. You want your energy and focus to be in the present moment. The present moment is where you create. It’s where you visualize. It’s where you shift your thoughts. And it’s where you find gratitude. If you’re continually losing your focus and getting scattered, your energy might be shooting outward to other places and thoughts and things.

So, what exactly is a leak?

Your energy and focus get zapped out of the present moment by many things. Some of these things are easily fixable. Some of them will take more time to clear up. This post is about those things that are fixable. The leaks.

In the world of life coaching, these leaks are called Energy Drains. A leak or an energy drain is any incomplete task, to-do, idea, or memory that drains your energy – even a little bit – when you think of it, or when you see it. It might be the thank you note that you keep forgetting to write to someone because you don’t have the right note cards. It might be the pants in a heap on your closet floor because they need to be hemmed. It might be the phone call(s) you need to return to potential clients. It might be a honkin’ full email box. It might be something scary, like a health situation you’ve been ignoring while hoping it will go away. It might be a conversation you need to have with a coworker. It might even be something you keep telling yourself you’ll do, like research a beginning yoga class.

These things seem harmless. But think about it. If you have lots of incompletes in your life, then your energy, your self is still connected to those things. You are still giving to them – even if it’s just by remembering they are still undone – until you choose to cut off that connection, until you choose to get complete. You really can take care of them and get yourself in the present moment.

And even though some of these items may seem small, you will probably notice a huge difference in your life when you start completing them. When they are fixed or completed, you will notice a higher energy level and deeper sense of your own power. More opportunities will show up, and you’ll have more clarity and peace.

How do I begin fixing leaks?

Here’s a step-by-step process that I used when I first started working with the leaks. I still do this, especially if I’ve just gone through a lot of travel and I come home to a whole lot of incompletes and things I’ve had to set aside. I’ve learned to complete them quickly because I know the impact that these can have on my state of mind and on my creativity.

1 – Get a partner who will cheer you on. Or meet with several people and plan to check-in with each other once a week for two months as you start to get complete.

2 – Get a blank piece of paper and pen. Start a list of any items that come up that feel undone, incomplete, and leak-y. You’ll probably have several items that come to mind right away.

When you feel like you can’t think of any more, then stop for now. But carry that piece of paper around with you for two days. Any time something nags at you, or drains your energy, put it on the list. Here are sample areas to ponder: Car, Home, Office, Pets, Partner, Kids, Friendships, Work Relationships, Finances, Clients, Computer (updates, emails, back-ups, systems for backing up, etc.) And don’t forget the things you keep telling yourself you’ll do, like: plan a vacation, have an adventure day, start a gratitude journal, or create a vision board. You don’t have to do anything yet, just write everything down in one unorganized list.

3 – When you feel that the list is complete for now, then re-write it so it looks nice. If you want, you can put items in order from easiest and quickest to more challenging.

4 – Start with the easiest things to do. Take the pants to the alterations place. Then cross that item off your list. Get the oil changed. Cross that off your list. Answer all the emails. Cross that off. Call or email your partner(s) any time you complete something. Remember about that one thing we always forget to do!

5 – As you go through the list, some things will start to feel harder, especially if you’ve included unresolved issues in your relationships or health. The momentum you’ve gained will help you get through these in surprising ways. And some things might take a much longer time, especially with resentment or engaging in gossip or needing to forgive. (Remember: intent is a great place to start with these kinds of things.)

6 – Once you get clearer and more energetic as you complete items over a period of time, you’ll have less tolerance for things that take that kind of energy: old friendships that feed on negativity, certain clients that drain you and no longer align with your values, rooms in your house that no longer please you. This is what happened with me. The entire process took on a bigger and bolder meaning, and I began to get even clearer about the parts of my life that were no longer serving me. If this starts to happen to you, this is good! It’s an indicator that you’re growing and shifting.

7 – At some point you’ll start crossing things off your list before they ever make it on your list. I will close with an example of this kind of clarity. At my retreats, we spend several hours going through this idea of energy drains, and each woman has a chance to get clear about her own leaks. After the last retreat, the women formed a Yahoo Group so that they could stay in touch and cheer each other on in their quests to live more authentically. On the Monday morning after the retreat, one of the women wrote in the following humorous and victorious email:

My “Service Engine Soon” light went on last night.
First Thought: “CRAP!”
Second Thought: If I keep ignoring it, the light is just draining energy from me.
This morning I scheduled an appt and I’m dropping the car off at 2!
(Normally I’d drive around trying not to look at the light and praying I wouldn’t get stuck in the middle of the road!) Small victories….!

49 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Law of Attraction

    There is something so true in what you are saying about energy leaks. It’s also incredible when you are around negative people how they can actually draw energy from you.

    For things in my life or emotions that steal my energy I focus on the color blue and choose an image for the emotion or thing that is taking my energy and I let it slowly and gently get sucked into this beautiful blue image.

    As it does this I am such a better place and feel so much more amazing and alive.

  • Saskia

    Hi Christine,
    I could really need more help on this “leaking” issue. I’ve got all my current projects written down (153 of them) with the next step I need to take for each of them. I do 10 to 20 steps every day, 30 on very good days, so everything does progress (slowly), but here is my problem: Things are never completely finished, there’s always more to do, however hard I try: The house needs to be cleaned again every so often; The grass needs mowing; the trees need pruning; the veg plot needs planting & maintenance; the dogs need brushing, feeding, veterinary care; clothes need washing & folding, etc. Every single thing completed is in reality but the start of another “incomplete”. I seem to never get on top of things completely. My days are now completely taken up by doing things on my list, and I find I’m terribly efficient nowadays (compared to a couple of years ago, when I let everything hang), but it still feels like I’m walking a treadmill and will never get out of it. My list is’n getting shorter. I kind of feel like giving it all up and go live in the wild or something, without any responsibilities, because it’s really too much. Where is the meaning in living a life taken up by all these tasks???

  • Marya

    Christine — I did this this year!! I started with four pages (typed!) of things I’d left undone (granted, some were sub-tasks). I did exactly what you said. I wrote them down. I got cheerleaders. I started with the easy ones. Boom! One week and a whole page finished! The next pages were slower going but I kept plugging along. I am now down to four un-done things — all slightly big ones. But the amazing thing is that I have so much more energy for them. It feels like I will really get there! And it is a great way to both end the year and start a new one. Thank you so much for your post — it really made a difference in my life.

  • Dick Ingersoll

    I find a good meditation practice helps a lot with the leaks. It’s tough for me to be negative when I go into the silence. In those time when negativity creeps in I recite positive affirmations.

  • Michelle Kane

    When I saw the title of this blog entry, I thought you might be talking about “leaking” as in the small, tiny problem I have. I call it “peezing.” Ever since giving birth to my first (and last!) child, I have a terrible SECRET—when I SNEEZE sometimes—a little pee comes out—thus, the term PEEZE. This should not be confused with your idea of LEAKING. Sorry, TMI.
    http://www.greeneyedwriter.blogspot.com
    M. Kane, author of CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL

  • x3r0_bug

    What an awesome post! I have never heard of leaking energy before, so this is an all new idea to me. I’ll definitely take your advice and see if I can overcome a lot of the little stresses in life (leaks) so I can tackle much bigger goals and not be limited because of the small things that hinder my mind from pursuing what’s really important to me.

    I’ve been reading your blog today and I really like how you lay out each post… they are very informative and easy to read!

  • katie

    Hey Christine,
    Your newsletter came to me today “right out of nowhere”, I have been in bed all day today with a case of the “waterfall” leaks, I am really grateful to you for sending me my first newsletter and i must admit the most important bit of advice ever given to me. I am gonna get off of my A– and clear up some of the stuff that has been hurting my Life Force! I first saw you this spring at the grey eagle, you were doing a benefit for women in crisis, your music touched a place in me needing to be touched, i ran to the table and bought all of your cd’s I listened to them while driving, i would cry, laugh and ponder the years, I can relate to so much of your music, thank you for sharing your gift with us Christine. This summer i saw you at Belle Chere, it was Hot as H—, but, you played your music as wonderful as the first time I saw you, when the concet was over I ran to the table, got a bumper sticker and signed up for your newsletter, now today I get the blog on the LEAKS in our lives draining our energy, wow, this is truly a beautiful world we live in isn’t it…cuz we are not ever really alone. Enough of the drama, all i really wanted to say is thank you and know that you really do have a way of touching others lives in a positve way. Life is good everytime we notice, I’m noticing more because of you, may you know your own beauty, and power everyday. Katie

  • christine

    mARTha… You’re welcome for explaining this. It’s been a great thing for me to “get.” I’m glad it helped! Thanks for stopping by and blessing me!

    Susanne, Hiring people is the best thing I ever started to do. I, too, am such a DIY girl…and it’s so nice to recognize the value of my own time. Not to mention the value of paying another human to do what he/she is good at doing!

    mARTha – The partner thing is really more about the coaching aspect of getting things done… rather than emotionally supporting. King of encouraging action. And I understand that place in life when you really just need to be self-supported! thanks for writing again!

  • mARTha

    Well, is incredible how fine fixing some things i was leaving for latter and/or forgetting to do, makes me feel… it’s great feeling!!, i guess has to do that i am doing it consciously for a greater good than the simple “has to be done”…plus also gets done 😀 … This is sooooo coool!!! …actually some of the things i have fixed weren’t in my list, but anyway i wrote them there and crossed them over…is sooo goood…

    About getting a partner to cheer me up, i agree is a wonderful idea, but after the very intense inner work i’ve been doing since like last year, i found out that i can count on myself and more over my angels to cheer me up… and the best is that it really works!!

    Wow, thanks again… i will continue to keep on coming back to read your articles and stuff…

    (i found you through the About holistic healing)

    Namaste
    mARTha

  • Susanne

    And there you were right again. I have done my mending over the weekend. When you wrote to give it away I thought, “But taking it away will take longer than mending it myself.” Well, I timed it, and it didn’t. The next time I’ll have someone else do it from the start. This way there won’t be unmended clothes sitting on top of my dresser for months.

    And I got myself a partner for cheering up.

  • mARTha

    Hi, thanks a lot for explaining so clearly how to fix those leaks… somehow, i been fixing them without knowing that i was also helping myself, but still need to fix some others… is really nice to read so clearly how this works; after reading your article this morning, I began a list but on my pda to always keep it close. But yeah, i can see myself, specially lately on the description you give above.
    Thank you for crossing my path to let me know such important thing.
    I’m still looking forward to watch the secret 🙂
    God and the angels keep blessing you
    sincerely.

  • christine

    Hello Leonie, Morning pages are a great tool. I’m so glad you like them. And wow… good for you for getting that list done. What an inspiring idea to say “i don’t want to carry any of that energy with me into the new year…” That’s a cool approach!

  • leonie

    Oh my! Yesterday (while writing my morning pages – thanks for the idea) I realized that I have a heap of things like this in my life and resolved to do something about it.

    I talked to my man Nic about it and when we got home from work yesterday we wrote the ones I could think of on a big sheet of paper and taped it to the door. I realized that I have so many unifinished things in my life and I don’t want to carry any of that energy with me into the new year. I’ve crossed one of them off already and it feels great.

  • christine

    hey barb… i agree about the getting started thing. momentum can keep you going once you’re there!

  • barb

    for me the biggest leak is just getting started, after that, I’m set to go. BUT I need to make a “winter” list with those little boxes in front of them for me to check. bb

  • christine

    (continuing!)

    ChickiePam… It sounds like you’re getting back in touch with those undone things in a perfect slow progress-like way. You’ve gone through big huge life changes, and now you’re getting back to these day to day things. It’s great. And the taking pictures idea is wonderful! You’re welcome for the CD. I didn’t want to perform “Mary Catherine” for the DVD since it’s ON Right Outta Nowhere. I don’t know why. It just felt redundant.

    Susanne… Thanks for the note. Just don’t forget that some things you are allowed to delegate. Even though you CAN mend your pants… doesn’t mean you HAVE TO! I’ve learned that with songwriting (and now blogwriting) as priorities, it’s okay to hire people for some of the stuff that I CAN do. And good luck! Go slowly!

    KM…Thanks for the kind words… A few thoughts: I think it’s great to have a variety of desires and interests. I’m always finding new things that excite me, too. AND, this “un-leaking” work has helped me actually become clearer about where I want my energy to go RIGHT NOW. My recommendation is to get the incompletes done… and in that space that’s created, start to allow your passions to show you what things to ADD. For a time, I didn’t do ANYTHING but my music. I stopped working in my organic garden, I hired someone to do my office work… I wanted my energy to be in the present completely. And now, I’m more comfortable with more variety.. but mostly because I’ve learned how to say no to that crazy goal-setting place in me! (I may actually do a blog based on your comment…cuz clearly there’s lots to say.)

  • christine

    Wow! I’m falling behind today…

    Hi Robert, and thanks for all the kind words. I’m glad you found me in what ever ways you did! I like your last line up there… very nice.

    Hi there Amy… actually, I knew all about your pants and bad thank you notes..that’s why I wrote this blog! 🙂 And you’re welcome for the encouragement. It’s what we all need more of…

    Caren… I highly recommend “organizing from the inside out” by Julie Morgenstern. I recommend it on audio so that you can grok what she’s saying and the method she uses. you have an artist’s mind that’s all. I really think you’d be able to free up LOTS of energy if you began creating some order… or getting quicken. Just go SLOW.

  • KM

    Hi Christine, I’m a new reader of your blog and I’ve been seriously enjoying your posts. Whenever I have a free moment at work and don’t know what to do, I read your archives and often I forward them on to people.

    How would you deal with “leaks” when you’re the type of person who is so focused on self-improvement that your list of incompletes would take years to complete? It’s not just a yoga class, but a Tai Chi class, learning to rock climb, study massage, learn a martial art, research sustainable energy and travel to obscure places and volunteer at the local food bank and and and … I have a list that spans pages.

    I have tried to categorize and prioritize, and just keep my focus on one or two things at a time, but I still feel that drain you’re talking about.

  • Susanne

    Well, isn’t that amazing! When I clicked on the “comments”-button I thought, “How did she know I needed this?”. Obviously I’m not the only one. I’m very good at starting projects and doing lists, but I’m not so good in finishing. While I type this I have a pair of pants in my bedroom with thread and needle in it. I started the process to make a to-do-list of everything a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still (you guess) not quite finished. I guess that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend…

    (Oh, and mend pants, of course.)

  • ChickiePam

    Hi Christine,
    My to do list is so long that I’ll NEVER get to die! Until about 2 months ago, I spent almost 2 years just coasting through life. I think it was not necessarlity a bad thing based on what I had been through, but I used to get so much done. And I have beat myself up for it a few times, but I’ve given that up recently. When I first started my list, I was completely overwhelmed. There was just so much clutter, so left undone, so much to do. So I made several small lists (in separate chapters of a spiral notebook) and am focusing on getting something done every day from one of those lists. I’ve even put off renewing my license, resulting in the inability to work one year until I finally got it done! It would be simpler to just plan a vacation, ‘eh?! I am blessed with friends who remind me of the things that I HAVE gotten done, despite the stress. And when I do a project, (I’m tiling my bathroom right now…or about to. It’s all torn apart, with new insulation and the backer board is leaning against the wall waiting to be put up on the walls around the tub.) I take pictures so I can look back and see the changes. And I don’t throw away my lists. I just cross things off and keep adding on to the end because it gives me a sense of progress that way.

    Thank you so much for what you do. And thanks for my replacement CD! Mary Catherine and I have been “enjoying” Lent again! I just love that song. I kinda wish you’d done it for the DVD so I could watch you perform it, but maybe you’ll do it for your next DVD…..
    I love you!
    Pam

  • Caren

    Hmmm… started tearing up when I read this, and I’m feeling HUGE resistance to making that list! lol Normally, that means there’s big growth in going ahead and doing it. Just this morning, before I read this, I returned a video to the video store (late) and books to the library (seriously, seriously late). I have wondered before if I create those types of energy drains (small things, easily fixed) because of that fear of claiming who I truly am, living my truth, being PRESENT. I recently realized something, too… I don’t write down checks/debits in my check book. I don’t write ANYthing down in my checkbook. I have a running total in my head of my balance – and it’s always right on, right down to the penny. I haven’t *felt* stress about doing it that way… and I can easily go online and check my balance, too – so why write anything? The other day, though, I wondered… if I started writing it down, would that part of my brain that’s taken up by “$55.47, $55.47, $55.47…” be more free to create, or BE?

    A few months ago, a friend came over to help me clean. My home has been seriously cluttered and messy for a very long time. It’s something I’ve alternately struggled with and been at peace with my whole life. I was about to write “adult life”, but my room as a kid was the same way – until my mom would force me to clean it. I’ve cleared a lot of issues about that, and am at a place of peace and working at it a little bit at a time. (Used to hate the idea of FlyLady, now I’m a begrudging fan. I take what I need and leave the rest.) Anyway… she had come over to help with some major clearing of stuff. She said that even in the mess, if she asked, “Where is XYZ?” I could tell her, “Under that pile of clothes, in a small box, inside the cloth bag.” She wondered if when my home got organized, and everything had a home, more energy would be freed, just ’cause I wouldn’t have to keep track of stuff like that. Again, I don’t *feel* stress over doing it that way. I guess maybe I’m used to it?

    Thanks, Christine – wonderful synchronicity in the timing of this post, as there has been with so many others.

    Gassho~

  • Amy

    I can’t believe it! I actually have 2 pairs of pants that have been begging–from the dry cleaning bag on my closet floor–for months to be hemmed. And notes to send, but I don’t like my notecards!

    And of course there are other things, too many to mention here, but I am starting my list right now. Thanks for the insight & encouragement, Christine.

  • Robert

    Christine,

    I found your site a couple of days ago through a series of synchronicities and your work resonated with me immediately. I bought your albums (does anyone say ‘album’ anymore?) from iTunes, put them on my iPod, and began listening while I read your blog archives.

    Just wanted to say thanks. Your music is inspiring, funny, and poignant, and your articles really bring a sense of clarity and energy to my day. There are a ton of great ideas that I’m going to incorporate into my own daily spiritual practice. Everything is energy and energy is everything.

    Have a great day,

    Robert