Monthly Archives

August 2015

Balance, Compassion, Curiosity, Discernment, Dreams, Experimentation, Freedom, grounding, Intention, Life Coaching, Mindfulness, Power Within, Self-love, Soul, Spirituality, Whole Body, Wisdom

Balanced Living Part 2: Steps Towards Sanity

As I shared in my previous post, if we can move from the myth that balance is a state at which we will finally arrive and once and for all, figure out, then we can instead embrace living each day as an intentional practice of balancing. I want to offer some tips on how to bring more of a sense of ease around the goal of balance.

First, I want to check in. What does balance even mean to you? “Work/life balance” is a bit of a buzz phrase these days and we can easily assume we know what it means without examining it more closely. What aspects of balance, if any, are important to us?  Balance usually doesn’t mean literally spending an equal amount of time at work as we do in our personal life.  Fundamentally, this whole phrase “work-life” balance seems to set up a false dichotomy between who we are at the workplace and who we are outside of the office. Indeed, the more we can merge those two seemingly separate worlds into one–as in our most cherished goals, values, and dreams are being played out in all that we do, whether in career or in friendships and our homes, the more of a sense of balance we tend to feel.

sunglow

What is this for you? What intention would you set to inform how you live your life wherever you are and whatever you are doing. I aim to live in embodied presence, openness, and compassion at my day job and at night. There are choices I can make day to day to encourage that approach to living. What feels like balance to you? What synonyms might resonate with you that get to the heart of what balance means for you, personally? Present, centered, calm, relaxed, integrated, whole, alive?

(R you ready?) Here are 7 steps you can take towards living a daily life of balance.

  • Refine –Get clarity on what balance means to you. What are the particular qualities of feeling balanced, for you?  What are the activities and values that support that? What are some choices you could make, starting now, to bring the qualities of balance into your life. Does meditation help ground and center? A regular fitness routine? Whole nutrition and lots of water intake? Laughs with family? Hikes or  yoga or knitting? Are there things you’ve not been doing that really would contribute to more of a sense of balance? Do some journaling about what you’d like to bring more of into your life.
  • Reflect –Track everything you do for a day and create a list or pie chart that measures out how you spend your time. Minutes on social media, moments of worry or rumination, hours sleeping, time working on creative projects, exercising, etc. Are there ways you are spending time that don’t actually support your sense of balance? If there are activities that drain you of energy, what steps can you take towards letting those go?
  • Refuse –Now that you know what balance is for you, learn to say “No,” to requests that do not align with that. This could mean setting boundaries around your time and space, or resisting impulses and urges to zone out online or with TV. Be intentional about each choice you make and how it fits into your priorities. It is okay to say “No” without offering any justification for why. Be strong and clear in knowing that how you spend your time matters, so that you can show up fully invested and present in all you do because you’ve chosen to be there, in full awareness of how it fits into your intentions.
  • Rethink –Are there errands that you are running randomly throughout the week that cause you to take multiple trips in the same direction? Be strategic with your errands and find a way to consolidate driving (busing/walking/subwaying) out to get things during the same visit. Could you ask for support to lighten the load or help with chores?
  • Refrain–Take a vacation from complaining. It is natural to want to vent and can be helpful to feel and express our emotions. However, getting stuck in a loop about how busy and overwhelmed we are or how hectic life is can heighten our overwhelm and reinforces a story that we are powerless to direct our daily choices and how they affect us. Notice when you tend to go into that thought pattern and interrupt it. Focus on the why of what you are doing and talk about that instead. Shift your perspective from complaining about what you are doing to celebrating the why behind it. I care about going to work, for instance, because it sustains my beautiful and nurturing home and it allows me to contribute to my community. Even in the moments I don’t enjoy it, it is showing me how to move closer to work I love.
  • Relax –Schedule downtime in your calendar/planner/to-do list so that you guarantee yourself space in your day to do nothing. Even if a day looks to be full…find the 15 minutes or half hour. Protect that time as if it were any other commitment.
  • Remember –You are human, you are alive. Our worlds are in constant change, the amount of activity and intensity ebbs and flows. Accept that sometimes we will feel pressure and stress and that is not a sign that we are failing or doing something wrong.  There are ways to encourage calm during the chaos. Go to what makes you reconnect to who you are underneath the noise, to-do lists, and demands. Breathe in the air of being you, being here. Know you are doing great work!

beinghere

Balance, Curiosity, Dancing is Healing, Dreams, Embodiment, Experimentation, Freedom, grounding, Life Coaching, Mindfulness, Movement, Open, Personal Growth, Play, Power Within, Transformation, Whole Body

Balanced Living Part 1: Myth Busting

Who here practices yoga?

You know tree pose? Or vrkasana in sanskrit? Non-yogis: imagine rooting one foot into the ground and balancing on that side while your other leg folds up so that the foot can lay flat on the inner thigh of your standing leg. You are grounded to the earth and lifting up– long spine, chest open, arms out wide like tree branches, or palms together in prayer at your heart. Eyes fixed on a still point to help focus the mind.

5798315823_19a54c728a_zEven in the most expert and balanced version of this, there is movement. Some of us feel trembling in the leg, some shakiness in our arms. We may fall out of the pose and re-center to move back into balance. Then there is the rising and falling of breath, the micro-movements and tiny imperceptible adjustments to continually tweak and maintain strength and stability in the posture.

And yet in life, we often do not see balance like this–as a dynamic and ever-shifting process. Many clients come to coaching seeking balance as if it were a place they will finally land, a state at which they will arrive or a magic formula they will figure out…never to be overwhelmed, exhausted, or thrown off course again.

It can feel super challenging to do all the things we need and want to do in our days while also getting the sleep, nutrition, exercise, and time to relax that we need.

I want to offer some strategy and perspective to help. The very first is dropping the expectation that there will be a time when we will just get it and forever be balanced. Life is fluid and full of change…we can approach balance as something that we, everyday, recommit to moving toward and dancing with. We set our intentions and move consciously throughout our day, deciding what is truly needed in each moment. Breathing into our legs and lungs and making adjustments to stay clear, centered, and sane.

We can create more ease, be more clear on what our priorities are, and practice more presence. Yet moving towards balance does not mean we can eliminate uncomfortable feelings or stress or reach some final perfected equilibrium. More so, dancing with balance means we won’t get so rattled or discouraged by our challenges or by waves of chaotic energy. We will pay attention to our limits, know the signs of when to stop, and take steps to best nurture and care for ourselves. We honor our wholeness in all our decisions, and consciously choose how we spend our time and energy.

Next post: I will share more on how to stop chasing balance and how to live in the dynamic dance of balancing.

For now…

Homework PLAY:

Create a dance move that expresses your relationship with balance in your life right now…the dance may change, but now, what does it look like? What does it feel like in your body? Choose a theme song and do your balance dance movement to it! What did you come up with?

Compassion, Discernment, Emotions, Healing, Life Coaching, Mindfulness, Power Within, Radical Acceptance, Relationship, Self-love, travel

family first aid

 

don’t get tangled in your family’s tree. listen to this audio on ways to stay sane while visiting family.

some nuggets

1. bring something from your home that reminds you of who you are–whole, complete, adult, or find a meditation that connects you to your center that you can use as a go-to when feeling shaky

2. bring a distracting or comfort activity to soothe yourself and engage your senses (for me it was a mandala coloring book with colored pencils)

3. find a way to stay connected to your community and chosen family while far away from them, such as scheduling a check in phone call for support, bringing notes of encouragement from friends, photos

4. create space for yourself to have time on your own and set appropriate boundaries

5. accept that your family members are who they are and how they are…don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting them to show up differently

6. keep noticing that you are breathing deeply and taking care of your needs as best you can in the situation

any other ideas?