Yet energy isn't only about what we do to, and with, our bodies, Loehr said. He, like the other experts I spoke with, believes energy must be considered from four angles—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I was starting to understand the first three components, but what about the fourth?

I thought back to my conversation with Jon Gordon; he'd asked if I felt spiritually connected to a higher power.

"Like God?" I'd said. "Not really." Don't get me wrong; I believe in something bigger than me. But did I feel the pull of a certain life force lately? No. And now I began to wonder if my lack of vigor was related to a spiritual disconnect.

So I took a final detour in my energy journey: I made a date to see a clergyman.

Sitting across from me in his office at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem, Jesse T. Williams Jr., the church's head cleric, told me that energy is a spiritual notion—or as he put it, "God has everything to do with it."

As a churchgoer, I'd felt the motivating boost of a booming Sunday morning sermon. But it always wore off. How then, I wondered aloud, to tap into this power on a regular basis? Williams's answer was simple: Ask. "Give us this day our daily bread"—that's his own approach, requesting no less zest, and no more, than he needs.

And maybe sufficiency is the point. Call it "giving it all you've got." Some days my all is a lot; some days it's not. After conferring with the experts and starting to practice what they preach, I've discovered that I can tilt the odds in favor of higher-energy days by being more present, letting go of envy, getting out of bed, eating a vegetable once in a while. Just as important, instead of stressing out about low-energy days—which only adds to the cycle of exhaustion—I now take them in stride. I show myself some compassion. I give myself a break. I say to myself, "Not bad, baby," and I feel good. Not "Great!" exactly. But pretty damn good. Which, for today, is energy enough for me. 

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