I felt connected. Complete. I drifted off to sleep while other senses were awakened.
The wind was the last thing I remembered before waking from a dream. In this dream I was dressed in army fatigues and being held prisoner. I was not alone and eventually helped the other person to escape.
I awoke from the dream slowly, still looking through the eyes of that person who had remained behind. Interestingly that person no longer felt like a prisoner.
I had this dream while preparing to write this article and feeling the frustration of writer’s block. How could I write about living a balanced life when I was struggling with it myself? Nothing I wrote felt right. I had become so attached to the outcome of the article I wasn’t letting the creativity flow. I was disconnected. What was interesting about this dream was my interpretation. The person who had been set free was my creative muse.
My thoughts returned to the connection I had felt while listening to the wind. I knew there was an answer there. Memories of other times I felt connected swam through my mind and I relaxed into knowing what living a balanced life meant to me.
Seeing a shooting star. Catching a snowflake. Watching the sunrise on a misty morning. Admiring a rainbow. Smelling the new cherry blossoms in springtime.
These are things that fill me up. They are without expectation. And because I am not attached to the outcome I can be more fully in the moment. Nature does that for me. It wakes me up. It inspires that feeling of being connected. When I feel connected I also feel balanced.
We have become separated from the natural flow of life in an effort to control it. Calendars and schedules attempt to balance our daily activities, yet we still run in circles seemingly getting nowhere. We have created this world and yet it controls us. We are out of rhythm and less flexible because we depend on these schedules to tell us where to be and when.
Life has a schedule of its own and it unfolds as we are trying to fold it up, throw it into a briefcase and run for the next subway train. We don’t even see where we’re running because subconsciously we’ve already reached our destination.
Because we have become so disconnected with our natural rhythm we feel unfulfilled. This brings an unconscious desire to fill a void. And fill it we do – with things. But it’s never enough is it?
Trouble is, the more things we collect the more complicated our lives become and the more out of control we feel. It is a never-ending cycle.
You can stop the cycle. Here are five suggestions.
1. Feel your connection: Balance is achieved through connection. What are you doing when you feel connected? See it in your mind and remember how it feels. When you feel out of control, revisiting this feeling can stop you from living ahead of yourself. It brings you back into the moment. When you are in the moment you are less likely to be distracted.
2. Honour your values: When you know what your ultimate goal is (the big picture), hold it in your intent but don’t become attached to it. Working with values gives a person the ability to make more powerful and appropriate choices about how to reach their goal.
Finding rhythm in attaining a goal comes through knowing that each step is connected to the other; like a dance. They’re not separate actions to be scheduled in a specific order. They naturally support and feed each other with little effort. One clue that you are not honouring your values is through your internal dialogue. See #3.
3. Choose your dialogue: Be aware of how you talk and think. What words are you choosing? When you say, “I should” or “I have to” you are putting pressure on yourself. Or, perhaps what you are trying to accomplish is not of value to you and you shouldn’t waste your time on it. If it is important, choose more empowering words such as “I want to” or “I will”. They’re less likely to cause resistance to action.
4. Practice meditation: Simply put, meditation encourages clarity. We aren’t scattered because there are too many distractions. It’s because we are not focused that we notice the distractions. When a person is not focused they are more vulnerable to outside influences. Responding to people and circumstances takes a back seat, while reacting takes the front.
5. Focus on fulfillment: Fulfillment surrenders to balance. As I mentioned earlier, when we are not feeling fulfilled we unconsciously try to fill a void with things we believe will fill us up. When a life is built on false beliefs any perceived balance is fragile and short-lived. I’ve had days where my life seems as organized as it can be, but find myself feeling restless. Something is missing. Things appear to be balanced, but I’m not fulfilled.
One thing to remember. If you’ve ever tried to stand on one leg you’ve noticed that balance fluctuates. That means if you aren’t flexible you’ll end up a prisoner of your own controlled efforts.
Wake up to your senses and they will lead you to the fulfillment that designs a balanced life.
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Photo Credit: Alison Lyons Photography