We are not in total balance until we are lifted to a place where differences are resolved and our natural confidence emerges. It does not mean we will never face a conflict again, or will never find ourselves in another moment we are not proud of. It means accepting our imperfections, our past, and our present as part of our whole being. It means total self-care, understanding what our inner self is lacking, and learning to fill that with positive means. The “true self” is completely fulfilled by being present in a moment and recognizing nothing else is needed.
In the first week of this meditation practice, I’ve faced a few hard realities on who I have subconsciously evolved into. While I still find myself infinitely more balanced than years prior, I’ve learned that I’ve let some of my practice of self-balance slip quite a bit.
I got quite sick for a while, my job became super busy, and any free time I had left was spent trying to cram in all other personal passions that take up the time I had left. I stopped meditating, wasn’t working out as frequently, and my diet wasn’t consistent. I felt myself growing short on patience, was becoming crankier, and it finally gave way to stress and sadness last week. I was spending so much time planning, working, doing, and thinking that I didn’t give myself “me” moments to get to the root cause of all the toxicity building up. It wasn’t until Friday that I realized, when I started crying out of stress, that I had finally went back to the bad place I had worked so hard to get away from.
Balance can only be restored when one sits still and remains present. For me, sitting still is not an easy task, so I instead started to ask myself questions on what would allow me to remain present while moving aka, what do I find enjoyable that will keep myself on the positive end of the spectrum. I found it was the simple things: holding hands with the man I love, playing fetch and cuddling with my dog, taking a long walk on a beautiful day, writing, helping someone else with a task, taking a long bath, having an untimed workout when I’m not rushed, etc. And then it hit me. The root cause of all the toxicity was time. When I felt rushed, things stopped being enjoyable. When I could take my time to do something, I found much more pleasure out of it.
Time will throw our balance completely off in a matter of seconds. We have been programmed to try to do several things at once (simul-task as I once heard it called). We are inadvertently expected to accomplish more in less time. We expect ourselves to leave self-care for last, and yet that is the number one biggest mistake that can cause more failure than we should experience.
When I realized where my whole being was headed again, I took quick measures. In fact, all but one of the enjoyments above were achieved this weekend and I have to say, I feel infinitely better than I have in a long time. So how did I achieve the list above?
- Reconnecting with the man in my life. For a few months, things were getting rocky because my patience was in short supply. I only see him a few days a week and those few days are precious. However, given that I had subconsciously retrained myself to not sit still, I was having a hard time appreciating our time together, as I was still rushing to do things and was getting frustrated with him not aligning with my time tables. On Friday night, we held hands and watched TV and instantly, everything changed. I realized getting back to basics was the number one best thing we could do for ourselves – just simple little gestures – and voila, we’ve never been happier.
- My dog. He always gets a ton of love and I’m fortunate to work from home so he can have the constant attention he seems to think he needs (aka throwing a toy for hours while I’m on calls). It’s the brightest spot in my day everyday, as that little guy doesn’t know any other emotions except for love and happiness. He teaches me a lot.
- Taking a long walk on a beautiful day. Living in DC in the springtime has its perks, namely beautiful weather with lots of sidewalks to choose from. My boyfriend and I took a 6 mile, roundtrip walk (with a stop for brunch) from my place in Courthouse to Georgetown and back WITH the dog in tow. All three of us felt exhausted when it was completed but also happy to get the fresh air, a new perspective on our home town, and to be able to enjoy it with a four-legged “son” who loves to sniff everything.
- Writing. If you read my blog posts, you know that that was going to be a given this past weekend 🙂
- Helping someone else with a task. My mom and I are co-chairing a fundraiser luncheon next Thursday (if you live in the area or want to donate, click here). We have worked tirelessly on behalf of the organization to raise funds for it. Today, we spent a few hours, along with my sister, putting together almost 100 gift bags. It’s a good feeling, knowing we will be celebrating such a special cause.
- Getting in a good, untimed workout. Aside from the longest walk of all-time (that’s an exaggeration – I once did 10 miles), I was able to get to the gym a few times and take my time with my workout, which is almost like going to a spa for me because it’s purely “me” time and no one else’s. I’m working out not just my body, but my mind and soul as well.
(Note: I never got to the bath but I did get in a long, hot shower!)
Notice how work didn’t creep in there once? I certainly did and it gave me the biggest lesson I needed to re-learn: self-care is everything and if need be, to get me back on track, treat it as a reward.
I know, that sounds like it defeats the purpose of it but to me, it doesn’t. Looking at my weekday calendar can give most heart palpitations when they see how much is on my plate but nine times out of ten, those are self-imposed “to-dos” to keep myself on track. When I have evening activities, I’ve now schedule in an hour of gym time. When I have an evening free, I make sure my work is complete before the day is over so I can have my untimed gym time, followed by a nice, long bath. On weekends, I try to have one or two fun things scheduled so I can feel like I not only had a weekend, but that my boyfriend and I both got to experience some new and fun things together. In other words, the more time I can build in for pleasurable things, the more I can say I’ve enjoyed my weeks and certainly have things to look forward to. All that positivity can certainly change a mindset around very quickly!
So start small, schedule in 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour a day, etc. of “me time”. Find something you love to do (it doesn’t have to be related to sitting still) and go do it without thinking about anything else. It’s your personal time off to be YOU.