everydaybalance

inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

brave new chapters – january and february 2010

February1

Meditating this morning, the house was quiet around me. The pillows stacked beneath me gave my spine height and my body support. I could feel the breath coming in and out of my body and my mind following that rhythm as thoughts floated in an out like letters wanting to be opened and read. I could feel the strong shifts of my baby moving and waking up. I stayed with the sway of the breath and the shifts of movement in my belly as much as I could, allowing that tide to bring me closer to the moment, more into my physical body. The everyday swing of our thoughts can be like this as well, moving from one emotion to another can feel so strong. Like palm tree fronds in a storm crackling side to side, our moods and feelings can change so easily from one moment to another. As we move into a new year, we have a wonderful opportunity to set new intentions or reinforce those we have already planted. Often we focus on “what” it is that we would like to accomplish. Over the last few years, I have written about techniques and strategies on how to effectively reach those goals. This year I’d like to shift the focus from “what” you would like to achieve to “who” you would like to be as you reach your goals.

Think about the people that you admire the most in your life. Ask yourself what it is about them that rings true for you? For myself, the people that sing out in my mind are those that I feel good around, the kind of people that make me feel more me. In their presence I feel more inspired towards my own authentic path. The kind of people that I admire most, tend to ooze generosity. They are living from a space that isn’t about trying to be recognized or to get something, but from a natural abundance that they embody with ease. These people accomplish so much by simply being true to themselves and letting others around them be who they are.

My husband and I recently attended our first birth preparation class. As you can imagine there are a lot of heightened emotions in a room of very pregnant women. There were nearly ten couples in the room, many arriving directly from work, and most of the women were in the last two months of pregnancy. The childbirth teacher introduced herself and was immediately an open book with the group. She made an effort to learn people’s names and to share the knowledge that she had accumulated after attending hundreds of births. After our three hour evening of listening and interacting with Patty, what struck me most wasn’t the techniques that I learned or the stories that she shared, but instead her genuine presence for a group of people who she had only just met. I walked out feeling that she wanted very little from me, but was willing to give me as much of her time, knowledge and energy that I needed without a price tag attached to it. This felt unique. She offered each participant her phone number and said to call at any time and I truly felt that she meant it. She even offered to be at our births as a doula, if she was available, and with the invitation to only give her what we could in return.

After completing Patty’s classes it was clear to me that she was living an authentic part of herself. She loved helping women and their partners bring their babies safely into the world. Often we forget that each of us has this unique strain of love coursing through our beings. For some it is the love of helping to care for the environment, the passion for teaching children how to read or a love of baking food that comforts and delights the people that taste it. For everyone it is different. We are born with these beautiful unique pieces of passion in ourselves. When cultivated they bloom into something that others can feel exploding directly into their hearts. When we are in the space of that unique passion, either in the creation process or sharing it with others in speech or action, we often are our best selves.

Recently, at my baby shower, I was reminded of how unique we all are. At a table in our kitchen we had fabric markers and paints set up and a selection of white onesies and baby t-shirts. Throughout the shower, when our friends were feeling creative, they could sit down and create their own design on a tee or sleep suit for this baby in my belly. It was so wonderful to feel that creativity in our kitchen and to watch the color spill on to the white background of the fabric. Each piece reflected the unique personality of that individual. Some were funny, some zany, some just plain beautiful, but all of them had tapped into the play and the color that is always waiting inside of us. These little outfits will be cherished and worn with so many smiles because they reflect so much of the support around us.

Finding what it is that enhances us to be our most authentic self can be a journey. When we find it, we know it and sometimes it stems way back to the time when we wore those baby t-shirts. When I am writing or teaching yoga and meditation, I feel that I’m tapping into the part of myself that is uniquely whole. My insecurities and fears fly off and away and I am left with a grounded sense of what I truly believe in. Connection with this part of yourself on a regular basis can feed you in a way that spills out into the rest of your life. Not all of us will work in the area of our greatest passion, but the time outside of our work can be spent nurturing this area so that during our nine to five occupations we are filled with an inner knowledge of the fulfillment of this passion.

This month, I’d like you to think of the year ahead as a blank book. There are twelve chapters in this book of which you have been given the gift to choose the content of. This is the truth. You do get to choose. Although we can sometimes feel that our days are being dictated to us by our jobs, families or previous choices, this is only at the surface. In each moment, you have the ability to choose an intention for yourself and your day. Intentions can be very powerful. In tiny increments, they can change the direction of our entire lives simply by making slight shifts in the way that we carry ourselves, voice our needs an values and interact with the world.

As you consider this blank book of 2010, consider the title page first. Visualize how you want to embody this year of your life. Will your title be “Art and Exploration” or “Speaking the Truth and Self Care” or “Trying New Things?” Will you choose the title from last year or the year before or boldly embrace something new, something perhaps you haven’t embodied since childhood? Could your title embrace playfulness or peace or bravery? It is your choice. Often we become caught in the image of ourselves through other people’s eyes and we let go that part of ourselves that perhaps only we know to be true. It may be a very faint ember, but with time it can grow into something that others recognize and speak about with ease. This is your blank canvas and it asks to be colored in each day.

For myself, I find that it helps to take time out at the beginning of each day to come in contact with my intention for that day or for the month. I do this by sitting in a corner of my bedroom in front of a cedar shelf that holds items that remind me of what I truly believe in. I have a bracelet made of healing stones, books that inspire me, a tiny sand dollar that reminds me of my connection to the ocean and other supportive books or symbols that change throughout my days. I also keep a pen and paper here and a stack of small white pieces of paper. When I am struggling with something in my life, I write it down and set it in a special spot on this shelf. In my own way, I am saying that this situation is too big for me and that I need help with the solution to this particular problem. By taking it out of my head and writing it down, I set the intention that I will receive guidance or help with that issue. Over the years I have found that the solution or a shift in my thinking arrives shortly after I have practiced letting it go.

During this quiet time, when I meditate and read at the beginning of the day, I am able to reconnect with my deeper intentions. The irritation that I may have felt for a person in my life or the frustration I feel towards an illness might be transformed into an intention for patience or a new strategy that I can use in the day ahead. Instead of letting my strongest feelings choose the color of the page, I am able to actively choose what best will care for me and those around me. Over an entire year, I’ve found this creates ease, understanding and a deeper meaning to my days that would otherwise be lost.

This year, I invite you to begin a daily practice of setting an intention of “who” you will be in your everyday this year. Let go of “what” you will accomplish and allow “who” you will be to lead you towards richness in the chapters of this year. The time that you set aside daily can range from between five minutes to an hour. Often, I sit down for twenty minutes during the week and longer on a weekend. When my life is twirling at full tilt, I grab five minutes directly after getting out of bed.

To gain motivation to create this new practice, draw from the passion in your life. Think about how wonderful it would be if you could bring the same self you have for the activities you enjoy the most to the times when you lack that connection, like when you are in a long line at the post office. Think about how that feeling of fulfillment brings out the best not only in yourself, but in the people around you.

Setting intentions for yourself more regularly will not only allow you more time with those activities and people that you are most passionate about, but it will open new doors for positive feelings to walk through. As we look towards the year ahead, we may feel overwhelmed by what already exists in our life or the largeness of what we would like to accomplish. Try not to get overwhelmed by this. We all sometimes feel this way. It is with tiny changes, that big shifts take place. If you set a goal for each of the twelve chapters of the year, ask yourself first “who” you need to be to accomplish them.

This year, open your heart to the knowing that what may appear as certain may be uncertain and what appears as uncertain may indeed be a certain. Set your intentions for the person you would like to be this year and let magic and new truths unthread themselves amongst your everyday. This year, I look forward to setting a title page in my own life and imagining you doing the same. Mine will read “The Journey of Motherhood.” What will yours read?

As Maya Angelou wrote “It is the belief in a power larger than myself…which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.” This year take a brave step with each chapter you write and know that you are supported not only by the power of friends and family, but by people and experiences you are yet to meet. Believe in this and yourself and I promise that the energy will come that will support your most authentic goals.

This monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools, please feel free to email me by visiting the contacts section on the home page. To subscribe for a monthly reminder for these inspiration pieces, simply fill in your name and email address on the home page under “subscribe to everyday balance.” For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, visit the ‘for life coaching’ section of this website. Photo taken by Christina Adler in San Mateo, California.

posted under 2010 life balance