“Work-life balance was a mistake from the start. Because we don’t really want balance. We want satisfaction.”
– Matthew Kelly, author
Busy is busy.
Hard is hard.
Pain is pain.
It’s all relative.
For each of us, our busy may feel more important than someone else’s busy, or your pain may feel bigger than someone else’s pain. However, we need to shift away from competing over who’s got it hardest and put positive energy into fostering growth in what we do want versus what we claim we don’t.
Balance is a sticky subject among many people. We have careers, partners, children, family commitments, volunteer work, classes, hobbies, worship time – plus, big desires to improve our health. How can one possibly balance so many things?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: You can’t.
Harmony is a more realistic and less stress-inducing goal than balance. (In this day and age, “balance” is just another word for “perfect.”)
Rhythm is more realistic.
Going with the flow – instead of against it – is more efficient and effective. (This is what I mean when I say “just roll with it” all the time!) Honestly, it’s about being more and more comfortable with the inevitable discomfort of life.
On first read, that may sound pessimistic. Life is always uncomfortable?! Well, ya! But it’s optimistic because it’s honest. That doesn’t mean life is awful all the time, it just means that life is life, stuff comes up, and wouldn’t you rather have a mindset and habits that help you handle those things versus get stuck in the junk or go into avoidance/denial mode? When we’re present with the realities of life’s up’s and down’s, we are probably just a smidgen closer to harmony than we would be otherwise.
Harmony means everything is co-existing in a spirit of cooperation, of integration. We see the interconnectedness of all areas of life. But whatever you want to call it – harmony, balance, or “fitting it all in” – there is a secret to doing more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
Want to hear it?
I just need to warn you that although these questions sound simple, they actually take massive mindfulness to execute. It also requires that you get absolutely clear on what you want your life to feel like, and what you do not want in your life.
Ready? Okay, here’s the secret:
1. First, ask yourself what isn’t serving you. What doesn’t need to be in your life? What is dragging you down? Keeping you awake at night? What pursuits are pined for that create more anxiety versus creating some sense of ease? Who in your life do you allow to constantly violate your boundaries and subsequently hurt you or “stress” you out?
2. Have you identified a few things? Now choose to change them. Yes, you have control over more things in your life than you give yourself credit for. To operate from a strengths-based perspective in this regard, I suggest trying to work with this concept: “adding-in.” Don’t worry so much about what you need to take out of your life, rather focus more about what you can add-in that is serving, healthy, ease-inducing. This works with food AND relationships! As you add-in the good stuff, you crowd out the bad stuff. The only thing is, this tends to take a little longer than the standard tactics of banish and conquering cravings, bad habits, etc. But the “get rid of it now” tactic is not sustainable. This requires patience and presence.
3. Next, ask yourself what you want in your life – more specifically, what do you want to FEEL in your life? Do you want to feel successful? Is that what drives you to work longer hours than necessary? Do you want to feel healthy? Is that what is driving you to lose enough weight so you can run around with your kids without feeling exhausted? Do you want to feel satisfied with life???? What do you want to feel this week or day? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be with? Focus your energy on these things. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. Anything that doesn’t fit into this larger scheme… let it go (or learn how to say “no”). This is about tapping into your “why.” When you know your purpose, it can guide you when the going gets tough. (This doesn’t mean the going isn’t still tough, it just means you can keep going with it not against it (see previous commentary about harmony and just rolling with it! 🙂 ). If you are just following a strict set of rules, but don’t know your deeper why behind them, ultimately they won’t serve you.
4. Then, get out of your own way. Don’t outthink yourself. We often ignore the signals our bodies give us, so I encourage you to have the courage to follow what your body is telling you. In the yoga classes I teach in Denver, I often say, “Ok, I’m going to give you a few options for poses, and a some alignment cues. Now, forget about them.” The idea is to get a little chuckle (if I’m lucky ;-p) and get people to lighten back up, be thankful for simply being there, and then go with their own flow on the mat. The idea is, as we feel this and practice this on the mat, we begin to feel it and practice it off the mat, too.
So, are you ready to dive in and make a few changes? Give these tips a try and see how much more harmonious your life can be. No balance required. Share your insights in the comments section below!
Get Even Healthier!
Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals? How to fit wellness into your busy schedule? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Or better yet, join me in Costa Rica in 2 months! ALIGN & SHINE RETREAT FOR DRIVEN PROFESSIONAL WOMEN 20-26 June 2015
Who: Women only, all levels of yoga experience welcome to attend.
What: a 7 day, 6 night retreat in a unique locale hand-picked for you as a place of healing, growth, adventure, and restoration
Where: Costa Rica Yoga Spa in Nosara, Costa Rica, about 2 hours from Liberia International Airport
When: June 20-26, 2015
Why: Why not? For example: “I’ve been on several retreats, bar none this was the most unforgettable experience, extraordinary group of diverse kind souls who all gelled. I learned something valuable from each and every one of you. Thank you to Sarah for pulling together such a strong team to guide us and taking the time to have every detail thought out.” Danielle (Pilates Instructor, New Jersey)
How: Go HERE and register by making your deposit.