Living a balanced life is a way to welcome not only a healthy life, but a happy one. Even when we find a career, pursuit or routine-albeit good for us– that we love, adhering to it unrelentingly can lead us to negate other essential parts of our life.
Yep, how many times have you heard yourself tapering off conversations mit friends with ‘its all about balance,’ or ‘everything in moderation,‘ (favorite of mum’s).
We human folk have a lot to juggle; family, friends, dependants such as children or fur- babies, work, health, home. That’s a lot of balls in the air! And its ok-normal in fact-to drop one or two from time to time. Or even to trip and loose the whole lot.
As you know I spent two months in Europe this summer. This trip did a lot to rebalance me. I was beginning to become a little bit too set in my ways. I’d found a lifestyle that I believed brought out the best in me and was pretty certain I didn’t want any major disturbances to that equilibrium, thank you very much.
Problem was, Europe wanted to see a bit of the ‘old Yvette.’
See by nature, like some of you I’m sure, I’m a bit of an extreme person. From teens to twenties I was something of a rebel. Oh you know me by now! But for our new friends I was someone without scruples, nor judgment or apparently much conscience. My eyebrow raising lifestyle was fuelled by heavy drinking, drugs, non-stop partying and friends who did likewise.
My latter twenties and thirties saw a more sober me in every respect. The pendulum swung entirely the other way. I threw myself into service, study, roles of responsibility including parenting, volunteering, homemaking and management (posh way of saying housewife:-) I forfeited much of the partying and (all of the) smoking and indeed anything that would really compromise my health too much. I watched TV and movies mostly intended for the older generation, free of too much sex and violence. I read only non-fiction, feeling that everything I absorbed should add something to me. Gosh, reading those words back on paper, I can see what a bore I was becoming!
Hanging with family and friends in Europe is both a blessing and a curse. They know ‘the old Yvette.’ And, admittedly, she was a bit more fun:-) Going back to the scene and set of my rebellious years provided a fertile environment to activate some of my old tendencies. I listened to music I usually wouldn’t; bad language and all. I ate meat on a few occasions (as my family and I amusedly say, I’m the worst pescatarian Ever!). I went out, partied, sucked on one of those smoke-less flavored cigarettes, chatted and hung out with people I usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet and I bumped into people from my past. It forced me to confront and then accept the girl I once was and witness the conditions that led to her rebellion which, of course, fostered a new level of sympathy for the old me: She was just doing the best she could at the time with what she had. In some ways I respected her rebellion, taking a stand and saying no, this life I’m being coerced into is not for me.
Europe was, in many ways, good for me.
Denise Linn was chatting about this very thing on Hay House Radio on Tuesday. She was encouraging listeners to change their stale routines in any way possible. We, ‘coincidentally,’ chatted about this very thing on Friday in Getting Lost. So my attention was instantly captured.
Sometimes we don’t notice we’re all out of whack. We sedate ourselves with our routines and never offer ourselves a opportunity to wake up out of the daily script. Denise advises this: If you read only non fiction, pick up a fiction book instead. If you watch only documentaries, watch a reality TV show for a change. If you’re always late, try being early and vice versa. If you eat only salads, try something heavier. As we mentioned last article ago-and I was delighted to hear Denise offer too on the radio- even if that change is seemingly not a better way, try it anyway.
By beginning to emerge from the stalemate of our existence we invite balance back in and we expand our horizons. As we age, becoming more set in our ways is a natural course. This is because we understand ourselves more, and what makes us tick. In some ways this is a good thing, but it can cut us off from experiencing new wonders and trying new things. That thoughtless- gung-ho- game- for- anything- youthful- attitude can serve us very well when coupled with our more mature heads.
As I’m discovering, there is no real ‘old you’ and ‘new you.’ Its all You. Sometimes we grow, develop and unfold in ways that move us so far away from who we were appearing to be that we d think of ourselves as two separate beings. When we can embrace all of who we were, are and want to become-and love every stage- we get a much greater perspective to get to know ourselves. In addition our capacity for self love sky-rockets . We are saying to ourselves; you are loveable and acceptable at every stage of your life. Much like a developing child is to you, perhaps your own. Their ignorance is no deterrent to your all-pervasive love. You don’t love them any less when they stumble, make mistakes and fall down. Those are the times you jolly them along. So too extend that same compassion to yourself as you evolve in life.
So a balanced lifestyle can be obtained by remaining open, flexible, available to new experiences life has to offer. But how else?
Have you, my friend, heard about the 80/20 method? Ten days or so ago I was sitting in the departures lounge of London Gatwick airport with two coloring children, in a sea of swarming holidaymakers whilst reading the UK’s Healthy magazine. It was my first introduction to this publication and I have to say I relished nigh every engaging and insightful page.
There was an article all about this 80/20 method. Basically, the idea is, 80% of the time you make healthy choices, and 20% of the time…well, you indulge your sweet-self. Examples given were ‘the fittie’ who cycled for miles, ran too, had her own business, raised children and enjoyed spending her 20% portion on a friday night gin and tonic with friends and the odd home-baked apple pie. Then we had the yogi vegan who loved to party, the fashion designer who meditated.
This whole approach to health and wellness just makes me beam, internally and externally. Not only does it invite Balance with arms wide open it allows us to lighten up, to invite some ‘naughty’ treats and choices into our otherwise healthful lives. What may be ‘bad’ for our body can be very ‘good’ for the spirit. This is what keeps the sparkle in our eyes, the spring in our step, the charm, cheek, mystery and confidence in our personality. We can’t be boxed or stereotyped into cultural groups. We can relate to a wider variety of others and with that comes empathy and compassion with our community and beyond.
Take a look at your life. Do you pigeon-hole yourself into what you do, eat, read, watch, the friends you hang out with?
Do you tend to already live life the 80/20 method? If not, how might your life look if you did? As always I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.
Namaste and have a beautiful and bright weekend!