Two Ways To Move You Into Life Balance

The other night as I was leaving a parent meeting at school, I shared a quick exchange with another mom that I hadn't crossed paths with in a while.  "You know," she said, "I hate that word life balance.  There is simply no such thing.  I hardly ever see my friends or anyone socially and all I do is work!"  And, yes, I could definitely sense a thud to the exclamation mark at the end of her statement challenging me to even try to counter with any alternative view.  However, I was curious if she was enjoying her own business.  She shot back with how completely busy she was without anytime for anything or anyone in her life, upon which she turned and began a conversation with someone else.

Life balance is a powerful concept.  The pain of the concept comes when we load it up with the expectation that our lives are components of inanimate objects to be picked up and placed on an immovable scale.  In fact, Martha Beck says that any "deep-seated, long-lasting, intractable emotional pain is always evidence that we believe something false". 

So, what is life?  Life is simply the existence of change.  And change is ever constant.  Adding the concept of balance actually adds deep beauty if you recognize balance as simply presence. Presence allows for acceptance in what is in the moment.  That awareness offers compassion and love, if you let it.  

So, you are probably saying, "come on now...life balance is awareness of constant change opening into compassion and love?!?"  Oh, ya, baby, you've got it now!  So, let's bring it down to the everyday.  A couple of ways to do that... 

If life is change, then check in with yourself.  What are you feeling?  Self-awareness comes with self-reflection.  So do it!  Ask yourself.  And, if change is constant, consider making it a habit.  That feedback can be amazing content in your forward movement. 

If balance is about presence, then take some time to introduce yourself to yourself!  Take yourself out on a date and give yourself time to yourself.  Do you know what you like?  Do you know what makes you happy?  Peaceful?  Excited?  Find out!  Living in the moment is a sensory explosion of an amazing magnitude.  Check it out!  As you do, you might find the power of you and the real blessing that you are to the world.

So go for it.  Life balance can be a lot of fun, if you allow it to be what it is...awareness of constant change opening into compassion and love.  Bring it on!

3 Small Steps Toward Your Truth

Are you one of those people who start a novel and take a peek at the ending?  Maybe closer to my M.O., is choosing movies (at least a majority of them) that simply have a happy ending.  I want to know that everything will end up alright.  Perhaps this is world news coverage fatigue, but at any rate, knowing that I will have the happy ending is where I go and play.  

But what about life?  You know, the real thing.  You might think that after the above I would be dead on arrival.  And yet.  I am not.  Does that mean that I have found the special happy pill?  No. And. Yes.  However, it's not a pill.  It's more like awareness of a journey.  A journey that I slip and fall occasionally, lose my way, get tired, but also get back up, stop for rest, enjoy the vista, play on the hillside, regain my path and well, have a fun along the way.  

This awareness is found in three small steps - stillness, listening and observing.  It is these three steps that take me to a deeper truth that can't be found in the noise swirling around me.  My family's spring break was a mishmash of various directions - taking my daughter on college visits, engaging in a local business entrepreneurial class and celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.  Of course, looking back on this list to be accomplished in 3 different states might lead someone to say, "Too Much".  But then, leading a life in the "AND" of a professional life, family life and personal life can sometimes get off track when I stop moving from a place of awareness that takes me to my truth.  

Fast forward to about week and a half in, and I was toast.  I had let go of pretty much all three of my steps.  The beautiful part, however, was feeling the resulting pain and letting it guide me back to my awareness.  Moving back into stillness found in my early morning, took me into listening to my life.  Many thoughts came, but by observing them and just letting them move on through, I found myself backing into my deeper voice of love, gentleness and healing.  

Claim your time of stillness whether it is in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee, going for a walk or claiming journaling time before you start your work day.  Use the time to be with yourself, feeling your amazing body that you are privileged to have and just breathe.  As you relax into yourself, listen.  Yes thoughts, like clouds in the sky, will come.  Let them and let them keep on going!  Observe what is going by.  Begin to notice the tape that might be playing and how the repeat button is on constant. In the noticing, comes the awareness of the existence of your deeper self that is listening and observing,  That is your beginning.  It is this place, the place of awareness, that will lead you to your deeper truth.  

Moving From Lies

Do you remember when you were a kid and got in trouble for telling a lie?  The process of getting to the lie felt smooth and easily justified (whether it was grabbing a piece of candy at the store or telling a story about your brother that was well....trouble-inducing to say the least).  Maybe it wasn't so smooth and easy, but at least it was a quick run to justification.  I know I felt shame in being caught in the lie but also in the parental conversation that ensued about my choice and clearly seeing the lie in broad daylight. 

Bringing our "lies" about ourselves into broad daylight continue to be our saving grace.  Our lies, created by self-judgement, opinions by others and future outcomes, imprison each of us to such an extent that not only do we lose track of who we are and who we are meant to be, but we loose our direction as well.  Our career, the course of action we each take over a lifetime--whether in the world of work, family or volunteer--is hidden from our own understanding

Finding our truth begins in stillness.  It is simply the only way.  Once that door is opened (and trust me it can get sticky at times!) self-inquiry enables us to use our brain as the tool it is rather than the slavedriver/prison guard it can become.  Our prisons are created through the claiming of false and limiting thought.  Truth in reality is our key, or better yet, our sledgehammer!  As a fellow life coach and friend, Ray DePaola, has tweeted, "Truth is about trusting yourself.  You are strong enough, resilient enough and creative enough for your heart's truth."  Take the chance, you'll never go back.

Falling Short?

Been there.  Done that.  The frenzied action, I mean.  How about you?  Honestly, it really doesn't matter if it is the frenzied action of an engaging work project, or the organizing of a family holiday event.  The outcome can fall a bit short and I am tipping toward exhaustion rather than being energized.  I seem to re-learn this one a bit.   My life without stillness, simply frays.  And, yet.  Each time, I reground myself a little easier, smile a little more, even laugh when I recognize the walk.  Life works when stillness is one of those "rocks" in the jar rather than the sand filling in.  

How's stillness finding its way into your life?  Try it.  Play with it!  Begin in a way that fits you.  Perhaps it's with a cup of tea sitting in your backyard.  Perhaps it's getting up early, and feeling the celebration of oxygen entering and exiting your body.  Create space and listen in to yourself.  As you enter greater stillness in your life, you may be surprised by what you will find.

The Beauty of Nothing

The beauty in nothing is, at first glance, counter intuitive.  At least to the frenzied YOU.  No worries-I know her well.  And, as I allow myself to come to a stop, I feel her, too.  That stop-it's painful.  So much so that it would be almost easier to get back to it.   Almost.  It's like catching a glance of something out of the corner of your eye, but it is a whisper from inside.  You almost miss it.  It's a whisper of thank you.  It's as if I am catching up with myself.  And really.  I am.