Day 65 – All Yin and No Yang

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

Zencast 65 – Life Balance

I’m out of balance.

I’m all yin and no yang.

How do I know this? Let me think back to yesterday’s frustrated rant and the tears that spiked my eyes as I wrote.

What was happening? At the time I pretended I didn’t know, but I knew deep down that I was all out of whack.

I’ve been out of balance for a while. This tends to happen when I’m focused on goals that I want to achieve, but which cause a great amount of stress that I generally ignore.

Right now I’m using writing as an excuse for living out of balance and it’s detracting from my happiness. It’s not that I need to write less, because that’s what’s kept me unhappy for so long in the past – not following my passions. It’s that I need to remember that while I have goals, be they writing goals or not, I also need balance in my life. This balance comes in the form of:

  • Meditation – everyday – no excuses (Oh, but a new episode of Kendra just came on… )
  • Exercise – six days a week of whatever I choose, although yoga is the only thing that keeps me on track.
  • Sleep – at least seven hours a night if not more (I need about nine, darn it) and preferably at the same time each night or before I know it I’ll be up for twenty-four hours straight.
  • Food – a healthy balanced diet that includes cutting out sodas, cause once the sodas enter the picture it’s all downhill from there.
  • Writing – for at least one hour a day, which includes blogging, but shouldn’t if I’m really willing to put in the time.
  • Socializing – for right now that means going out with the girls maybe once a month with a couple of lunches thrown in there to get out of the office. That’s all I can afford, and right now that’s enough for me.

And how am I doing with all this?

Well, like I told you I’m out of balance, so right now all that’s getting done is writing with meditation thrown in about 4 times a week.

Naturally, this leads to stress. Mental stress. Stress of not doing what I should. Stress of planning when I’ll start doing all these things. Stress of thinking I can’t do all this because I need to stay up till 2am to get all this writing done for my deadline. Stress of eating food that irritates my intolerance to dairy and leaves me feeling under the weather for about a week before I recover. Stress of watching my muscles waste away because I’m not using them as I should. Stress of getting up at 6am on Saturday morning when I’ve been getting up at noon Thursday and Friday.

And this list goes on…

The saving grace in all this – brought on by my ranting and raving yesterday: last night I sat on my cushion thinking I wouldn’t even get through two minutes of meditation, and the relief overwhelmed me. I didn’t even need to count my thoughts. I felt such peace simply sitting and watching my emotions, moving into them and letting them do their own thing. Interestingly, the emotions didn’t stick around. The sickly, anxious ball of stress I had in the middle of my rib cage dissipated, leaving me with extreme calm and relief at having chosen to sit even though my mind was screaming ‘NO’.

Even my mind was relatively relaxed. It did run off with a dialogue towards the end of the meditation, but I kept coming back to my breath and the thoughts created some breathing room around themselves. When I got to the end of the 10 minutes I could have sat for another ten. Instead I got up off my cushion and went about my business with all the stress and anxiety gone.

Unfortunately, I then stayed up far too late again, but the point was that I started. I made a concerted effort to begin balancing one aspect of my life I had lost control of – my mind.

I know I still have a lot of work to do to get back to my level self and in many ways I’m procrastinating. I’m using writing deadlines as a deadline for getting balanced – When I finished my projects at the end of April I’ll _________ (fill in the blank).

The only way I can balance my life is by balancing myself right now. And right now that means I need to sit for 10 mins. I then need to practice yoga for 10 mins, and then I need to keep soldiering on with my Fiction Project seeing that I’ve been lucky enough to get an extended deadline. But I can’t squander this moment, or before I know it I’ll be back to ranting and raving about how stressed out my life is.

When I think back to how I got myself back in balance a few months before December last year I didn’t over think it. I simply let go of the idea of ‘doing it’ and did it. I started small. For example, I did 10 min yoga podcasts and built up from there. Even if I didn’t feel that I was getting very far there was no excuse for not doing a 10 min yoga podcast.  It’s the same with meditation (although I still don’t always do it). I tell myself that even if it is 11:50pm and I have to get up at 6:00am, there is still time for a 10 min meditation practice that will no doubt help me sleep anyway.

The key to balance in life is seeing it and feeling it. If you’re looking deeply at your life and your emotions, you’ll start to recognize times when you’re out of balance and you’ll know that something needs to change. You’ll feel out of control and unable to manage many of the things in life that should be easy to balance. However, getting balance in life is also an experiment that requires testing – you have to try different things to find out what works for you. You also have to understand that at times it will be difficult and stressful, and that there will be some resistance from you and others to the changes you need to make to create that balance.

If you’re feeling out of balance today, ask yourself what you’re craving more of and how you can bring that into your life. No matter what anyone else says, or thinks, you have to find what balance means to you because if you don’t take care of yourself and your life no one else will.

Remember – put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else! There are times to be selfish. This may be the time.


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