“Balance” was my word of 2017. I needed to find some kind of balance between work, family, and my passions. I ended 2016 scrambling to find my footing, and I had the idea that finding that always-elusive balance would be the answer to all of my internal struggles. And so I tried. But as I worked to find daily balance in devoting my time EQUALLY to family, work, and my passions I found that I was left completely depleted and exhausted. I was exerting so much energy to find the balance that I thought was necessary to bring me happiness, only to find myself worn out, fried emotionally, mentally, and physically, and left completely uninspired. So, about 4 or 5 months into the new year, I stopped trying to find balance, deciding it was impossible to find, and instead shifted my focus to what activities ultimately left me feeling the way I really wanted to feel in life. This felt better. By zeroing in on how I wanted to feel, what energy I wanted to bring to my family, work, and life in general, it guided my decision making. It wasn’t until late in the year when I heard Sadie Lincoln’s definition of Balance that I felt a connection to the word again:
“Balance is managing your energy proportionate to the people and things who matter to you most.”
YES! This is what I had meant but didn’t know it! It’s about energy management. It’s focusing in on the people and things that matter most, and forgetting the rest! I don’t HAVE to balance ALL aspects of my life. I can’t. It’s just not possible. But what I can do is get clear on the feelings I want to feel, the energy I want to bring into a situation, and the people I want to spend my time around. I can expend energy to follow my curiosity, because that is what is going to recharge and inspire me to evolve and move forward.
On this path, following my curiosity, I’ve found so many wonderful things that I’m so excited to continue to explore in 2018. And upon reflection, all of these things are routed in the idea of “Mind, Body & Soul”, and so these are my words for 2018.
Mind: In 2017 I found and began practicing meditation, and through my practice I can actually hear my inner voice, my intuition speak again. In listening to my intuition, I’m excited to learn again: exploring ideas and topics that interest me and expanding my mind.
Soul: I have rediscovered my need for nature in my life. As a child I always knew how important it was to my happiness and general well-being. I could feel it. It was common sense. But along the way, that connection got lost and replaced by all of the responsibilities that takes over every adult life. But I’ve been paying more attention, and I now understand how vital it is for me to be in nature to feel recharged. And I’m actually seeing the birds in the trees, the fox that runs across our yard, and the family of deer that live across our lane. I’m actually seeing the sunrise in the morning, the sunset at night, the changes in light throughout the day, the moon, the stars, and FEELING my place in the universe again. I’m FEELING the connection. The essence of who I am and who we all truly are. Right now, the connection still comes and goes. One moment I can feel it through every fiber of my being. And then the next, it’s gone, and I’m back in my head, worrying about all of the silly every day worries we all have. I acknowledge that I’m a work in progress and probably always will be. But I will keep trying to refocus and lengthen those moments of connection and inner peace in the year ahead.
So that is Mind and Soul. But what about Body? I’ve struggled with a connection to this one for as long as I can remember. Since I realized it was societally important as a woman, I have always been striving to be skinnier. And since having children, I had been striving to lose the baby weight that I gained, lost, gained, lost, and then gained again. And then for a while until VERY recently, I just gave up. Completely. I decided I was just going to focus on mind and soul, because those are the things that would make me a better person. Body didn’t really matter that much. I just needed to take care of myself enough to get by, to be healthy enough to survive. But above that, I had better things to spend my time on. I have made excuses: I can’t exercise, because it’s time away from my family who I don’t get to spend enough time with as it is. I don’t have time in the morning to make that smoothie for breakfast or prepare that healthy lunch to take with me to work because I have to a.) get into work early, b.) prioritize doing my hair and makeup c.) get the girls ready for school, and d.) you get the idea…
But it’s all crap. If I wanted to make it a priority I could. But I didn’t want to. Until I recently found the connection of physical wellness to my mental and spiritual development. I’ve taken yoga in years past, but always from the perspective of just trying to increase flexibility, nailing a certain pose, a way to get skinnier, longer and leaner. But this time around, I went into it purely to find and feel alignment in my body. To open up and balance. It’s not about getting immediately into the pose and mission accomplished. But about allowing myself to feel each part of the journey getting into the pose and adjusting to realign myself along the way. And I’m finding that I LOVE it. I’m not focusing on how I will look a year from now if I practice every day. I’m focusing on how it’s making me feel in my body in this moment for the day that is right in front of me. And it’s been such a huge shift. A miraculous shift. And I’m hoping it’s a shift I can maintain.
And so those are my words for 2018. This is what I will focus on aligning.
This is the first time in my life I feel I actually understand each of them and how they each affect and connect to one another. These words may evolve and my perspective on them may shift over the next year. But for now, I think it’s a good start, and I’m hoping my sharing this in this space will help hold me accountable in the year ahead.
What is your word or idea for 2018?