Life is a strange brew of action, contemplation, rest, recharging...and then starting all over again.
Most people I know - including myself, whom I don't know that well - spend alot of our energy on activity that does not actually accomplish anything. So our actions tend to be wheel-spinning, and not actually moving us anywhere.
In the the book "God and The New Physics", Paul Davies talks about the energy depletion of the universe. One theory of cosmology holds that there is a certain amount of energy in the universe, and as the universe expands and continues, the energy in it is depleted. At some point, that energy will be gone, and the universe will cease to be...though no one really knows what that will look like.
There is an obvious model for that understanding...in life on this planet. Energy is not perpetual...only a certain amount seems to be available in nature, and once you use that energy, it is gone. It is not spontaneously created...energy has to be expended to create energy...and so the cycle goes.
I don't completely embrace this model of energy depletion...because I believe in other dimensions of realily that can renew and create energy.
But, it is a good concept to explain why some of us seem to be tired, exhausted, frustrated, and non-energized about the living of our lives.
We only have a certain of amount of energy within us at a certain time. We use it, we lose it.
Therefore, we must use our energy carefully, wisely, or else we will come to a place of depleted energy and unable to move from where we are to where we want to be. You know this is true - you have known people who have come to a place where they may want to grow, to live, to experience, to love, to know joy...but the cannot because they have depleted their energy reserves.
OK - now to the main point, about ACTION. There are two fundamental life actions that I observe...treading water, and swimming.
TREADING WATER is expending energy to simply stay afloat, to keep the head above the water. The assumption in treading water is that somebody or something or some God will come and save you, give your life purpose and direction and blessing, and will take you where it wants you to be (which hopefully will be where you want to be).
SWIMMING is expending energy to move in a direction. Any direction. It assumes that no one can save you but yourself - that you are responsible for purpose, direction, blessing, and meaning. It does not deny the possibility of being saved...but it does not expend energy to simply stay in the same place. It moves.
At the end of both activities, energy is expended. You are either exactly where you started, and in need of being saved (still) - or may have moved to shallow water, where a new journey of hope can begin.
I have come to recognize that my time, my energy, and my opportunities are limited. But I can choose to tread water or to swim.
I am going swimming.