It is usually the simple pleasures that bring us the most joy. A baby’s first steps, the sweet smile of a lover, a hug from a long lost friend, a walk in a light misting rain, the fragrant smell of fresh flowers, reading a book on a snowy day with the embers of a fire glowing. Yet how often must remind ourselves to stop and enjoy the moment, to take time to relish that which brings us joy.
It is too easy in all of our busy lives to try to finish the endless to-do list, to rush onto the next chore and forget to take a deep breath or enjoy our accomplishments. The reality is in that in order to achieve some balance in your life you must work at it. Job success and fulfillment in your family and interpersonal relationships take some effort. Why shouldn’t balance?
Every woman needs to take a day for herself, a day to do what she wants to do. This can be once a week, once a month or once a year. It matters not how often it happens but merely that it does. If you have kids, they will survive for a day or two without you. Someone can and will take care of them if you ask them to. You need time to be you even if sometimes you aren’t quite sure anymore exactly who you are! You need time to be alone with your thoughts, alone with yourself, free of the burdens and responsibilities of your day-to-day life. If you can get away from home, try to do just that. Plan a spa day (or weekend) if you can afford it. It will be money well spent and pampering well deserved. Sleep late. Read a magazine or a book. Watch movies. Order room service. Work-out (or not!). Go hiking or walking. Explore the country, the quaint little towns. Check out the shopping, the local boutiques. Look at the houses, the real estate for sale. Find a local restaurant and stop in for lunch. Rest and relax. And when it is time to go home, cherish your respite. Look forward the next one whenever it may come again. Go back to your life and just be you.
My spirit is alive. My heart is open. Energies are flowing with a creativity and passion that is astonishing. I feel spiritual, but I am uncertain what that exactly means. For me, it is not based in a day to day religious orientation. Yet, the “do good, be a good person” religious philosophies common to all have provided a fundamental foundation to my being. There is a certain spirit that exists merely from having a positive attitude and good sense of self. The glass is never half empty but always half full. Faith exists because hope is unending. I believe good things will happen to good people because I want to believe. Self confidence enables me to take risks without letting the fear of failure overwhelm me. I trust others because while they may let me down at times, I know that they too are only human. I learn from my mistakes because I have come to realize that there are lessons being taught that are meant to be learned. I am there for others, because it is the right thing to do and not because I expect something in return. I cry in joy as well as sorrow because it cleanses me in ways both physical and mental. I am a dreamer but try to keep reality in check at the same time. I fantasize about what could be because sometimes dreams do come true. I visualize because what really is the harm in doing so? Sometimes it is the thought process that initialized the beginning of a new reality. All this is part of who I am, what my spirit has become and what it needs to still be. It is an unending process. I am open to the possibilities that are out there because they simply exist and to those that I have yet to create or encounter. My spirit changes as I change. And as long as I am aware of that, I can embrace life. I will work through the challenges it presents along the way and try to do so with a smile on my face as well as in my heart.
The creative energy that flows from my brain forms in my mind for days or even weeks before it becomes written word. Until the words find their way to paper or the keyboard, they are surreal images floating across my mind. My obsession and constant yearning for life balance are often the subject of my wanderings as well as my writing. A realization came upon me that when my life is out of balance, I do not write. I was surprised by this revelation, but enlightened by the understanding of self. Emotional distress with special emphasis on the “stress” part extends its boundaries and manifests itself physically. The dilemma caused by the lack of balance is fertile territory to explore my mind and my heart. My brain is on overdrive. And my body wants to simply shut down in response to the exhaustion. As the crisis works itself out in time, the urge to express myself magically reappears. Writing it down is an exercise in remembering, in understanding, of growth. The written word validates the experience and provides fresh insight and a much needed new perspective. It helps me find my way back home on the road to balance. A road that I will always seek. A road that comes without a map. A road that I do thankfully find throughout my journeys of life.
A plan envisioned. Changes on the horizon. Excitement swells inside and bursts as you announce your intentions to the world. But as the reality of your action plan begins to take shape, the plan probably needs to be flexible. Because sometimes, you are simply biting off more than you ought to chew.
Utopia is not going to happen, at least not all at once.
If you are lucky, you will adapt to the changes, go with the flow. Realize that if Rome wasn’t build in a day, then your game plan doesn’t have to happen exactly as planned in the strict time table you carefully designed. You need to keep open that window of opportunity, be spontaneous and let the picture paint itself instead of strictly coloring by the numbers. You need to listen to the rhythms of your body, your irregular heart palpitations and recognize that you are not even coming up for air to breathe. Replay the conversations in your mind, the ones that are keeping you up at night or waking you from a marginal night’s rest. If you can see through the daze you find yourself in, know that this foggy person is simply not you. And stop to take a deep breath. Smell the flowers, clear your head and make a decision based on the facts at hand, your reality such as it exists.
In making any important decision, you will need to do your homework. But once your research tells you that the change is simply being made for changes sake, ask yourself if this is what you really want. If the answer is no, alter your plan accordingly and move on with your new and improved revision. You may once again come to a fork in the road where you realize that something has got to give. And when you get there it will be from a position of strength. For as you go each experience, listen and learn. The cumulative information you obtain in this journey called life is so valuable. Its value is not measured in terms of monetary reward, although those may in fact result, but in terms of a wealth of knowledge and of wisdom. And those treasures are what you are seeking whether you realize it or not.
Change is a fact of life. Some changes are expected, others unanticipated. Some changes are welcome, others not. And then there are the changes that are embraced, welcomed with open arms when your head and your heart are ready for change. Sometime you might feel that you will never be ready. But try not to let the fear lurking around the edges of your self confidence stall you before you even get out the starting blocks. Take a risk on yourself and you will be the winner no matter what the outcome. You don’t always need to give yourself a specific time table. But check in with yourself periodically to be sure you are on the road that you want to travel. Remember that there will be bumps along the road, detours from your path. This is to be expected. Life lessons will be learned, both good and bad. Listen to their messages. Let yourself be open to all the opportunities that change really can offer you. Heed its infinite power.
Bones connected to bones, working in coordination to stimulate movement. One weak link and the chain of command crumbles in pain and confusion. Mental energy works in similar coordination linking the best of friends – mind, body and spirit. The mind thinks, the body reacts, and the spirit provides zest and energy to welcome life with open arms. An open mind and a strong body allow your spirit to be free. There is a wholeness of purpose when the mind, body and spirit are well connected. Your spirit is a source of great strength and a guide to your inner wisdom. And if you trust and believe in yourself, your inner wisdom will guide you well. Balance is achieved when you allow all aspects of who you are to respect and honor one another. There is harmony in alignment and a feeding frenzy of soaring spirit when your mind is at peace and your body’s wellness is nurtured. Life becomes a dance, a playful romp of oneness.
In most everything we do in life, there is a purpose, an underlying meaning.
We don’t always realize it at the time, but an insightful view can readily expose us. Intention doesn’t always equate to a higher purpose, a lofty goal. Sometimes the things we do benefit us personally and not those around us or the world at large. This should not be considered a selfish act. For if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? So many of us are busy being
caretakers, …children, parents and or spouse that we often neglect the one person we can’t live without …ourselves. It is not always easy to step back and take care of ourselves, but we must try. In order to nurture others we must first nurture ourselves. Simple acts of kindness rendered unto thyself. Ask yourself, what have I wanted to do for me? And then do it. Schedule it into your life even if your busy calendar or your endless to-do list can’t seem to handle one more activity. It can, it has and it will. Take a bath. Read a book for pleasure. Get a massage. Go away by yourself for a day to rejuvenate. Have lunch with a friend. Let attention to yourself be your intention.
With age, I have learned that I might be able to have it all, but probably not all at the same time. With wisdom, I have learned that this is probably a good thing. An over-achiever might believe that balance means superior achievement in all aspects of life. However, this belief would probably prove unrealistic and difficult to obtain. You can’t be all things to all people, yourself included. And if you constantly continue to try, the reality is that you wind up shortchanging every aspect of you life. Instead of striving for perfection in everything, learn to sometimes be satisfied with ‘good enough’. Focus on the two or three things that matter most to you. Be open to the possibilities that a lifetime of opportunities really does offer. Periodically reflect on how you spend your time and make adjustments as needed. Acknowledge that your focus may change with time. Give yourself permission to accept change with a positive, welcoming attitude. Fake it if you must. Do not let the fear of failure interfere with your taking risks. Accept the rewards that result from your efforts with grace and humility. Share your joys and achievements as well as your sorrows and disappointments. Learn from your mistakes. Give up the myth of perfect balance because trying to achieve the myth is sure to frustrate and disappoint. Aim for reasonable balance for the long haul. You will be healthier, happier, less hurried and thus, less harried. And so will the people around you.