Reading the Dial

The other morning, I woke up with an image before me – the tail-end of a dream. Someone had installed a meter next to me on my right-hand side. I knew it belonged to me now – in fact, it seemed to be part of me. “I know,” I said to myself, half asleep, “it’s a smart meter!”

During the day, the image kept coming back to me, like some kind of peculiar message. It occurred to me that I didn’t actually know what a smart meter was, although I’d heard of them.

I called my friend Nadine. She knows about dreams and also, it turns out, about smart meters. She said that the meter measures which devices are using the most power. There might be some that are draining energy even when you’re not using them. Like the red light on the TV, when it’s in standby mode.

The idea that we might be being drained by being “plugged in” to someone or something constantly was a fascinating one, so I looked it up.

It turns out that a smart meter is a gadget that keeps track of how much electricity you’re using and sends that info to the power company so they can keep tabs on it and bill you. It usually updates every hour or so, and there’s two-way communication between the meter and the central system.

Two-way communication? The timing could not have been more perfect. I had started feeling really burnt out and anxious, and I hadn’t seen it coming. I was realising I needed to be more in touch with myself, and this was the perfect metaphor.

What if some intuitive part of me could record my energy every hour and report back every day? What if I truly had “two-way communication” between this part of me and my central (nervous) system?

“What does my smart meter say?”, I started to ask myself, when unsure whether to say yes to an appointment, a task or an invitation. And I would imagine this meter inside of me, measuring my energy levels, and do my best to tune into it. Sometimes it was difficult, and I wasn’t clear. I felt out of touch. At other times, it was as if the needles on my inner smart meter dial dropped, and I felt a sudden heaviness inside, as if all my energy were draining out of me. And sometimes, conversely, I’d experience a quickening, an energetic “yes”.

 How we use our energy is vital as creative artists and performers. How do you sense your energy levels? How do you know what to agree to and what to pass up? Does tuning in to your body help? Or your breath?

What depletes you- is it news or social media binging? Too much sugar?

How do you recharge your energy levels- maybe through listening to music or doing something creative?

I’d love to know what works for you.

In Part 2, I’ll be covering this in greater detail and suggesting ways to implement your own inner smart meter.