How to Find the Balance We Need Right Now
I've been thinking a lot about personal balance lately, and what it means during this time of planetary upheaval and heartache.
It would be fair to say that a lot of my working life has been about juggling and struggling. I've accepted some unhealthy (sometimes downright toxic) work situations because I believed that I needed to do this in order to get ahead.
Yet for the past few years now I've been asking myself some tough questions about why I need to live in discomfort--both physical and emotional. And why am I consistently hemmed into doing things that don't serve my higher purpose? That doesn't serve the world?
To create a life that exudes joy takes loads of work and conscious focus. Yet by peeling away the layers of what we thought was important we will get to the root cause of our blocks and our destructive narratives to restore balance.
The unbalance we sense in ourselves doesn't stay within. This discordance with our higher purpose spans outward and impacts those we love. When we're feeling stuck and insecure we can sometimes blame others or project our negativity onto others, mostly without even realizing it.
I feel that our dis-ease with our bodies and with our lives is connected to what's going on in the rest of the world. The way we've lived pretty much since the Industrial Revolution, though before that as well, as though Mother Earth doesn't matter, is causing us to become sick physically and psychically as our planet worsens.
British author D.H. Lawrence wrote this in 1928, and yet he could’ve written it today.
"It is a question, practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe. . . . For the truth is, we are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs, we are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe."
Just as our planet is often experiencing droughts and a lack of nutrients due to toxic chemicals, we too are parched spiritually and in need of sustenance. When soil becomes devoid of nutrients then nothing will grow there, and so we humans are no different.
Yet if we care to listen to our higher selves during this time of global upheaval we'll discover that we're being called to replenish our spirits and fill up our wells with activities and foods that give us energy and a sense of joy and fulfillment. This is a slow process of identifying what nourishes us and of learning how we can re-balance our bodies and our selves back to wholeness.
Here are some ways we can begin to create more balance in our lives:
1) Write down five things that bring you joy and give you energy. Try to do at least one of these per day. After a week, see if you can do two or three a day, and so on. It won't be easy at the start, but gradually you'll find more ways to adjust other things in your life to make room--even if only a little bit at the start.
2) Pay attention to how your energy wanes when you do a particular activity. Often we've no choice to do certain activities and it could be that a simple correction of our approach and perspective will allow us to do the said activity with more energy in the future.
3) Check in with your body regularly when approaching a specific food. When we look at food as medicine that's there to heal and nourish us, then we can learn to get clearer on what our body needs.
4) Each day, create positive experiences or pockets of joy that will see you through the challenges.
5) Accept that balance doesn't have to look a certain way. Everyone is different and your life balance will be different than another person's life balance.
6) Connect to nature. Even planting seeds inside and listening to bird sounds on your phone can help to calm your nervous system when nature isn't close to you.
7) When someone asks you to do something, check in with yourself to see how it feels in your body.
8) Start your day with a mindfulness-based practice such as yoga, dance, meditation, or free writing to ground yourself.
9) Ask your friends or family what they do to cultivate balance. Having discussions with others can give you new ideas about what balance means to you, and you can encourage each other to develop healthy habits that nurture you.
10) If you're in a toxic job or dysfunctional relationship and feeling stuck, write a list of actions you can take to gradually change your situation. It won't happen overnight, but taking action--even one small step--will gradually open your life up to other possibilities.
Guided by our intuition, in time we become more aware of our higher purpose and begin to understand how we are connected with others in our sphere, those we don't even know, with plants, animals, Mother Earth, and everything else in the Universe.
photo credit: Alex Jones