Achieving Balance – A Practical Guide
The phone pings, the washing machine completes a load and the postman arrives with the bills. There is always something external vying for your attention. Do you ever get the feeling that you are being taken away from where you are and being sent far into the past with some worry about what has been? Or that of being propelled into the future with a hope about what will be?
If this sounds familiar, then let’s stop and take a moment. Breathe in deeply and notice that little pause before you breathe out again, repeat.
It is often hard to remember to stay present whilst your brain is flitting between the present the past and the future. By staying present we mean being aware of what is happening right now without any interruptions about either the past or the future. This practice of being present and being focused on the here and now, particularly in times of stress, can be a wonderful way of finding oneself in the hubbub of daily life.
I’ll share a story with you that I hope inspires you as much as it did me, and demonstrates a great example of presence. A friend messaged me, telling me he had fallen and broken his back. Shocked and concerned I jumped in to my car panicking all the way to the hospital about what will happen to him now and what it will mean for him. As I rushed down the hospital corridor I thought of funny anecdotes and jokes to tell him that may distract him. I approached his bed armed and ready to clown my way into seeing him smile I was greeted by someone in rather good spirits. Confused and delighted I took a deep breath and sat to listen to his story unfold. Inspired I spent the next few days piecing together in my head how this wonderful human being came to be.
This is what I found. Just as with all people there are external forces that pull us, there are trials and tribulations and then there are the highs that are all designed to distract us. We also have internal incidents such as my friend’s predicament. Often we become completely distracted by these things and we are not present to who we are and what is important to us. We start to believe that all the pulls are all that matters and it is often not so. My friend was in good spirits because he knew himself well, he was aware of the things he loved to do and he did them. He was satisfied and content in the life that he was living, at that moment in time.
As my friend did we too must come to know our true selves better and live in line with what we value and love to do. It is with this awareness and clarity that we can be in a hospital bed with a broken back and still be smiling and thankful for the love that we receive from well-wishers.
So how do we find the answers to who we truly are and what we truly value? I’d like to invite you to try this technique.
Consider this diagram the plate of your life. ◊ It is divided into eight slices; each slice represents an area of your life that is important to you.
◊ Consider with complete clarity what is important to you, not because anyone says but because you choose it.
◊ When you are ready label each slice with the important aspects of your life.
◊ When you are done use the rings within to shade in your level of satisfaction i.e. you might have health as a slice and your level of satisfaction might be 4 so shade in 4 rings.
◊ Do this for all the slices.
◊ When you have finished take a moment and look at your plate. Is it round? Is it balanced? Have you been looking after what is important to you?
◊ What do you notice?
◊ Now shade in where you would like the level of satisfaction for each slice to be, you might be happy with health being 4 or you might want health to be 9.
◊ When you have finished take a moment and look at your plate. ◊ What do you notice?
You can use this tool to reflect on what is truly important to you and get real clarity on what you value. If you ever find yourself out of balance you can choose to come back to it.
As for my friend, with his positive attitude and magnetic personality he is making a speedy recovery. He valued the love and regard that his friends and family had for him and when the trials came he held on to that knowledge even tighter and worried less about the new job and the mortgage.
Sometimes amidst all the chaos we have to find our way, ground ourselves and trust our ability to handle life. Knowing that we are safe and capable. A quote comes to mind which seems befitting – a bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking. Her trust is not in the branch but rather her ability to fly. Wearemomo.com
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.