“Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
Off on my (impatiently awaited) annual trip for the Christmas season, I arrived in my happy place sick. The month before, I was in a twirl of activity that I knew was too much for my constitution. Some circumstances were thrust upon me, like learning that my repair diagnosis clearly indicated it was time to shop for a new car, immediately. But the rest of the pace was something I’d chosen.
Sometimes we forget that we design our lives. We choose the restrictions and the schedules and the projects. We create the long to-do lists.
What would balance look like for you in 2019? This includes spirit, body, and mind and means that no area of life is dragging you into a state of exhaustion, anxiety, illness, or any other chaotic state.
Is life fun or a slog? What are you doing for play? Do you remember what your idea of play is anymore? Too many hours of work and not enough leisure down time is not balanced living. Seriousness and too many self-imposed rules and musts and have-tos only serve to foster a “life’s a bitch” feeling. Childlike play is a good idea at any age. Get your groove back and go have some fun.
Excessive stimulation; noise, traffic, loud music, crowds, advertising, internet surfing, social media, news, and TV is not good for the soul. You can set firm limits on any of these. If you don’t currently take time to be silent, incorporate at least one of these each day for some peace of mind: meditation, visualization, deep breathing, prayer, and listening in silence to your inner voice or that of the Universe.
Burning the midnight oil—A good night’s sleep
Sleep studies show that a lack of shuteye can cause a similar slow-time reaction effect to that of alcohol intoxication, which can cause accidents and have been a factor in disasters like Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and Chernobyl. Sleep deprivation can put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and depression. It can also age you and kill your sex drive.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, 2019 is a good time to go to bed earlier (set an alarm as a reminder) or find an effective solution for poor sleep quality, such as melatonin and magnesium pre-bedtime.
Solitude is a valuable pastime for rejuvenating and renewal. It is the time when we can hear our higher self speaking over the din of the world. But we also need people. From what I can gather, love is why we’re here. We are tribal beings with a need for community woven into our DNA. Spending time with friends and family is a soul nurturing part of existence. Going to interesting cultural events and concerts clears the cobwebs from the mind. Participating in groups and community gatherings helps alleviate existential angst.
When was the last time you frivolously frittered away a day with a good friend without having to run off to your next appointment or endeavor? If you can’t remember when, clear a day in your schedule and spend a long, luxuriant day with someone you love. I promise you’ll feel better for it.
Sometimes we fall into a habit of hanging onto things and to money because we fear there won’t be enough for a rainy day. This Christmas I watched a 9 year old squeal, laugh, and jump up and down with delight, not because of the gifts she was opening, but because of the gift she was giving her nonno (grandpa).
Giving and sharing what you have brings a feeling of happiness and satisfaction that cannot be bought or found through amassing cash or material stuff. If you’ve swung too far into the mode of “stockpiling” for you and yours, this year may be a time to share some of your good fortune.
Overscheduling, overcommitting, juggling, rushing, distractions, worry—these are self-inflicted complications. Making life harder than it needs to be can cause you to lose patience, be irritated, and make you seethe under the surface.
Could this be the year to finally simplify? Prioritize, downsize, and organize. Say no—and that means no to your inner slave driver, as well as to others. Simplicity can bring a whole lot of inner peace.
Oftentimes, we don’t realize the convoluted ways in which we’ve structured our tasks—methods that could be streamlined or even eradicated. One cool way to do a check and balance is to ask friends how they do things that currently seem like a lot of drudgery or eat up too much time.
Computers are not natural. Period. Spending an excess of time in front of one can cause eyestrain and blurred vision, poor posture, and headaches. Blue light from screens can affect sleep quality and a 2011 study of 4500 adults revealed that excessive screen time increased your likelihood of premature death by up to 52 percent.
Planet Earth is gorgeous. Step away from the screen. Go to the beach, walk on a ridge, star gaze, skate on a pond, hike around the mountains. Observe nature and listen to the rhythms of the planet. Have you ever noticed how a full moon affects the tides—and your moods? Biorhythms are real and being in harmony with them can improve life exponentially.
Do you do the same things day after day, in the same way? A life by rote can make your days tedious and imbalanced. Variety truly is the spice of life. Try different foods, do something you wouldn’t normally participate in, drive someplace you’ve never been—choice is a phenomenal gift that we often forget about.
Inertness and sitting—Movement and exercise
Sitting is the new smoking; our bodies were not designed to endlessly sit, whether at a desk, or in a vehicle. Neither are we meant for inertness. Insufficient exercise not only affects our health, it can lead to depression. Being in tune and listening to what your body wants and needs is critical for balance.
What exercise would feel like fun and not another chore on the to-do list? Salsa dancing? Kickboxing? Racquetball? January would be a good time to sign up for something other than the stereotypical gym membership for the New Year that, more often than not, goes unutilized.
Their goals—Your dreams
Jobs, contracts, consulting, coaching—all of these involve making someone else’s dreams, goals, or bottom line come true. Being in service to others is important and rewarding, but be sure you have not forgotten to feed and water your own dreams for the sake of another’s. What is the big dream you’ve tucked away for later? Pull it out, dust it off, and just do it—now.
There is an endless girth of things to learn about on this planet, from the fine art of cooking to quantum physics. If you have stopped reading, researching, or studying, 2019 is a good year to take a class or invest time in the joy of discovering something new. The fascinating wonders of our world shouldn’t be ignored—who knows how much we’ll miss it all when we leave here?
If you’re spending too much of your grocery shopping time in the center aisles, you may want to venture to the periphery and load up on more of the green stuff. Nature knows best, manufacturers, not so much.
I’m learning more about the incredible importance of the liver and its vast array of functions—veggies and fruit are critical to its role in the body, in spite of the current no carb fad. My intention for 2019 is to juice a lot more for immune and liver function. You may want to consider getting a juicer this year and adding more of nature’s food for your optimal health.
How much of your thought-space goes towards recrimination and harshly judging yourself? Do you compare yourself against others and constantly feel like you are falling short? For me, comparison: guilty as charged. I have to keep reminding myself that we are all individual beings with astoundingly unique destinies and one life cannot fairly be compared to another’s.
I know that time and thoughts spent on self-love breeds a garden of unexpected surprises and serendipities. I commit this year to cultivating more self-love and less rumination on shortcomings. How about you?
Pragmatism—Feeding of the spirit
Logic is one side of life. Spirit is the other. Our hearts and bodies crave nurturance and expect us to listen to our needs. If our inner reserves are running on empty and we do not practice self-care, we can’t be our awesome version of self.
We need to earn a living and we have obligations to meet. We also require fuel to have the energy and emotional equilibrium to execute everything with grace and competence.
My self-care will be distinctively different than yours; however, you need it as much as I do. Please don’t neglect it this year; the implications of overriding your requisites could take you far away from all of those responsibilities if you fall ill.
Whenever I am forced to visit a mall in Calgary, I am mystified at the jam-packed parking lots. It can be 11:00 am on a Tuesday morning and finding a spot will be a challenge. This illustrates something; we are a shopping-obsessed society.
If you have a habit (or even an addiction) of shopping and overspending, this may be the year to track your expenditures and assess how much of what you are buying is to appease something that aches within.
The flipside is being an Ebenezer Scrooge. You do deserve quality food and nice things. You are worthy of cars, appliances, and tools that function properly and you do not need to live a shabby life. If you are fixated on watching your bank balances grow and refuse to treat yourself to things within your budget, splurge in 2019. It will make your heart smile.
Living in the past or future—Living in the now
Unfortunately, we can’t change the past. But our perceptions of past events can change the now. We can rewrite an incident by focusing on the good within the experience. Letting go of the past by not reliving it over and over renders it faded and powerless.
It’s necessary to plan and project, but worrying about the future is a pointless undertaking.
Now is what counts. That profusion of purple bougainvillea you just passed begs to be noticed. The person who smiled at you on the street is honoured by a smile returned. The full moon casting a bright glow into your living room deserves a lingering glance. The person you are seated across from is worthy of your undivided responsiveness, without interruptions from your phone or your attention deficits. This moment right now is precious, because we are not guaranteed a next one.
Sometimes one just cannot find a “sponge worthy” partner and abstinence comes by default. But if you are in a relationship or marriage and are in the midst an intimacy drought—especially a long-term absence of sex—I am certain 2019 is the year to deal with it. Discover what the underlying truth of the matter is so you can heal it. Human touch is one of the biggest joys of life. There is nothing like the loneliness of sleeping next to someone who is not interested in intimacy and if left untended to, it can go on for years, into forever.
Stimulants, suppressants, and painkillers—Natural remedies
I recently did some research on common OTC drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen and learned that they can have serious side effects such as depression, a feeling of emptiness, and a numbing of pleasure when used on a frequent basis. More powerful prescription drugs can be many times worse for altering our view of life to the negative. If you take any pharmaceuticals, wherever possible, seek natural alternatives. Example: turmeric is as effective as 14 different drugs for inflammation and pain.
Chores and Functionality—Romance and Beauty
Sure. Chores need to get done. It’s just the way life works. However, our days need not be consumed with only the minutiae of tasks, work, and the grind.
Romance encompasses more than relationship sugariness—sensual pleasures are what make life worth living. Invest in art, good food, and pretty things you love, not just functionality. Create twinkling ambiance and surround yourself with beauty. Spread love in all its forms.
Don’t let logic crowd out loveliness.
Today, if we were to place all of these things, one by one, on the scales of balance in your life, what would it look like?
- Reflect and then acknowledge imbalances in your life.
- What makes you feel serene within?
- What areas listed above, if balanced, would bring you more happiness in 2019?
- Be accountable for change.
- Ask for assistance if you need it (get a coach).
- Make a play-filled plan.
Yin and Yang are what give life a blend of harmony and happiness. May your 2019 be a beautiful balance of both.
See my Facebook page for a 2019 balance checklist to print off:
Post © Wanda St.Hilaire