I got up this morning and went for a long walk. On the way, I stopped at a favorite spot for the best avocado toast on the planet.
Nothing really remarkable about that (except for the quality of the avocado toast) but it was remarkable for me. Walking out for breakfast wasn’t on my plan for the morning, and the habit of a lifetime is that the ToDo list rules me. Yet when I took a moment to check in with “the Spirit of Life flowing through me” – as I invite every client at the beginning of every session together – it was clear what I felt guided to do. So the walk happened.
If you’ve been a follower of One Step on the Path of for any length of time, you know how much and how often I advocate living a balanced life. I absolutely know that being centered and practicing good self-care lead to the reservoir of energy which is crucial to meeting all the obstacles, tensions and conflicts in our lives with clarity and resilience.
Skills are also necessary, but without energy and resilience, we won’t be able to practice them anyway.
What I would never want you to know – so I’m showing up and telling you – is that though I firmly believe in it, I often find excuses for putting off living in balance myself.
I believe I share this secret not only with most ministers, but also with helpers, nurturers and service providers of many kinds. I have lifelong patterns of being proud (ok, prideful) about my industrial strength capacity for endurance (which I actually no longer have, and which it was never truly healthy for me to live from in the first place). I also have several ongoing excuses. These include: “Next month will be better,” “I just need to streamline my efficiency,” “I’ll catch up on rest and exercise soon,” and “This just has to get done – right now.”
Underneath of all of these is the lifelong story that I can only feel good about myself when I’m doing something I can easily identify as “worthwhile.”
Last time I wrote about “going under the ice” into a state of psychic numbness as a coping strategy for “too muchness”. When a fissure cracks open, and red-hot emotion spews out, or even if you begin to break up the ice mindfully and with conscious intention – which is always messy – the energy of suppressed needs and feelings boils upward, demanding attention. That energy has to go somewhere. If we don’t handle that with care, there are any number of unhealthy places it can land. This is the route to addictive behaviors of many kinds, several of which I know something about. The good news is awareness can help us make another choice.
This spring, after both my health and my husband let me know that real change in my stubborn workaholic patterns is long overdue, I took an (illuminating) concrete step to make the consistency I want in creating greater life balance finally happen.
I created a daily “Wellness checklist.” Daily exercise, meditation, time for prepping healthy meals and “respecting off-work hours” are all on there, but there is more. I created a short, centering visualization to help me get in touch with what I really need as I transition from one activity to the next – and made a spiritual commitment to pay attention to that. I also committed to sending a daily text on my progress to a friend, so that I build in both accountability and support.
I still want my time to be spent in ways that are worthwhile. I’m just changing what that means.
Giving the Wellness checklist priority over the To-Do checklist is changing my life, one step at a life.
What might that do for you?
With You on the Path,