inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

2007 – finding everyday balance in december


As a child the holidays always began the day after Thanksgiving. You could hear the neighbors stringing up lights and the chill in the air gathered force as we reached for brightly coloured scarfs and mittens heading out to the last days of school. Store windows became a display of wonder, tiny moving toys and flashing fairy lights. The world became a story book come alive.

In Sydney, instead of waiting for the chill, I wait for the sound of Cicadas and gorgeous dramatic thunderstorms painting the sky in purple light. The sea turns turquoise under these clouds and the air becomes wet with humidity. Santa Clause in swim trunks and christmas puddings filling bakery shelves, evenings full of light and sand in the bottom of the shower.

Both worlds, so different, fill me with gratitude. December, for me, is a time to give thanks, a time to reflect on the year experienced and gather together with family and friends. This gathering is so innate, the sharing of food and love and laughter. This time of rest is so rejuvenating, and in this we can say, look at this year so well lived, so full of love and grief and hope and growth. We can take time to reflect on those who have passed on and those who have been born into our lives, all the time celebrating life in so many shapes and forms.

In this month, where so many of us become overwhelmed by obligations and overwork and the organising of children and guests and ourselves, this shift into gratitude can shine an important light on our daily practice. I invite you to join me this year, in gratitude of the wonderful days you have spent this year and the days that you can celebrate in the year to come. By being in the present moment, and acknowledging the gifts that we have in ourselves and the people around us, we can shift our focus from becoming overwhelmed by the material purchases we so often become stressed by financially, physically and emotionally.

This year, when thinking of the kinds of gifts you would like to give, consider not only the items in shops, but also offering the gift of your time, your words or your creativity. Looking back over Christmas’s past, the gifts that stand out for me are the fable that my Aunt Nancy wrote for me regarding the folklore of turtles in our family, the homemade muesli that Emma made from scratch, the star that was named after me as a child, the black and white photos of my sister and I that Jo found and framed and the photo story that Peter prepared for me on the computer to an amazing piece of music. These gifts were made so special because I knew each person had taken the time to know me and prepare something that had a part of each of them within it.

If time is scarce for you this holiday season, a wonderful family activity is to set time aside, gather pens and paints and paper and create Christmas cards together. You may like to play your favourite Christmas album and then write out these cards with love. It is a wonderful time of year to acknowledge the role that your dear friends and family play in your life.

Throughout the season, be sure to also take time out for yourself. As the social engagements start to fill your calender, make room for the activities that feed your soul and give you support. Yoga and meditation are wonderful at this time of year to support the body, mind and soul. If you would like to receive tips for how to create a holiday practice, please feel free to email me or visit the yoga and meditation section of this website.

In the spirit of gratitude, I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me so beautifully this year. Your presence in my life is something that makes my present moments all the more beautiful. And to my yoga and meditation students, thank you for being my teacher in so many ways, your presence in my classes is a beautiful gift that supports me and I cherish.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good break!

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

posted under 2007 life balance

2007 – finding everyday balance in november


Last week on a rainy afternoon, where the clouds reflected the grey blue colour of the sea, I watched a great white splash on an otherwise near perfect sea. Out of this dramatic splash came the slick black back of a mother whale followed by the smaller body of her baby, gracefully flying out of the water for all to see. Standing at the window watching these great creatures and their silent dance between water and sky, I felt so blessed. I waited long moments of silence between magnificent splashes of thick skin and seamless silky water. I imagined the quiet under such a perfect surface, the vision of the undisturbed sandy bottom, the wet world surrounding each whale moving only with the breath of the tide.

Today the sea has come alive. It is lead grey and stormy. The waves have never felt so large and the sound that each set breaks with is deafening to the world around it. There seems to be miles of white water and turbulent tides swirling around each other in chaos. Amidst this grey wash of kelp and sea and sand, the whales are kept secret, their quiet beauty drowned out by the storm around them. Reflecting on two such different days, I am reminded of the emotional world in which we live. Some days hold such stillness that even the opening of a flower is not lost to us and on other days our own internal storms drown out even the loudest displays of wonder.

As we approach the end of the year, the tempo of our days starts to speed up. We have more opportunities to be social and the holidays begin to peek out through the music on the radio, the displays at the supermarket and that ever so quiet familiar thought of what gifts will be given and got. As a result of this change of pace, our intentions for balance both in our work and personal lives has the potential to be swallowed up so that at the time when we need to support ourselves most we find ourselves empty handed of resources. This year I invite you to lay down the groundwork to allow these last two precious months of 2007 to reflect the growth you’ve experienced this year.

To do this, all you need is a journal, a calendar and a chance to sit down alone with your thoughts. When you find this time, take out your journal and make two lists. The first list is your “resources” list. Write down ten tiny ways that you can stay grounded as the year speeds up. These can vary from “continue walking three times a week”, “write a list of chores for each family member on the fridge” or “get a massage once a fortnight.” Allow this list to be guilt free and think deeply about what and who really makes you feel good. It may be as simple as having a candlelit bath with your favourite music or starting work a half an hour early so that you can enjoy daylight savings time. With two months left in the year, you have the opportunity to celebrate who you really are. Allow yourself to end this year on a high note so that when you look back, you can say “wow that was the year when I really listened to what I needed.”

Secondly, write out a “celebrations” list for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas or even just cricket season, this time of year is when the whole country lets out a big sigh of relief and kicks their feet up with the people they love the most. To truly get into the spirit, start planning your December now. Make a list of ten ways that you would like to celebrate your holidays. If you run out of ideas, take a separate piece of paper and write a journal entry on what your favourite activities for the holidays were as a child. Write those items down and weave them into these lasts months of the year. These holiday traditions are what make our families unique, whether it’s going to an evening gift market with friends, having a quiet hour at a cafe to write holiday cards, buying tickets for a production of The Nutcracker or organising a trip for a beach BBQ, honour these celebrations. These special activities from your past, or traditions you create for the future, are what makes you the beautiful and unique person that you are.

When you’ve completed your lists, allow some time to visit your diary or event calendar. For each week until the end of December, write in one item from your “resources” list and one item from your “celebrations” list on dates that you think you would enjoy or need these events. If there are activities that you need to set aside money for, you may want to visit the link to the website one of my yoga students and her husband created called “No in November” at www.no-in-november.com. This is a wonderful way to observe your spending habits, help the environment and set aside some money for these special events. If you feel that you need to begin your holiday shopping in November, but you would like to observe “No in November” there are several second hand markets where you can find one of a kind treasures. These can be found by ringing your local council or using Google and searching “markets”.

As the weeks progress, check in with your calendar on Sunday nights and look at the week ahead. Ask yourself if you need to adjust the dates that you have planned items for and allow there to be flexibility so that you can support yourself the most when and how you need to. Honour this pre-planning as your days start to fill up. By looking after yourself first, you are much more likely to be there for your friends and family in a way that is genuine and healthy.

Observing the great splashes of the whales, I was also reminded of how much time we all spend under the water of our lives and then emerge in the same dramatic way that these whales do when we have an intention. The way we spend that time under water is so important, the inner conversations we hold with ourselves each day need to be honoured as well as the intentions that bloom from that dialogue and the path our lives travel as a result. By taking this time out before the holiday season starts, I hope that you will be well equipped to see clearly, both how to navigate the crystal clear and stormy days that appear, and to celebrate in the process!

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

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2007 – finding everyday balance in october


In every profession, there is a toolbox. For a builder, it might include a saw, a hammer and nails. For a yoga teacher, it may be a mat, a block and a strap. These professionals, although vastly different, gather their tools in anticipation of creating ease in their professional lives. When the tools are kept nearby, up to date and relevant, their days are likely to run smoothly. If they need help, nearby lies the toolbox, an anticipated set of strategies to apply to their craft. What I’ve found in my own life and from talking to friends and clients, is that in our professional lives we are very good at keeping a supportive toolbox, but in our personal lives our toolboxes are often out of date or neglected all together. This month I invite you to begin to create your individual ‘everyday balance’ toolbox.

As with differing professions, each of our individual lives will be vastly different in detail, but we may share similar challenges when trying to achieve balance in our day to day lives. When I sat down to consider my everyday toolbox, I observed four different categories in my life and brainstormed a few specific ‘tools’ for each area. The categories that I found useful when planning my toolbox were: physical, financial, emotional and spiritual. I chose these categories based on the different kinds of support that I have found most helpful over time.

If you would like to create an everyday toolbox for yourself this October, set some time aside that will be uninterrupted. Allow this to be in a quiet and supportive space. You might like to play a favourite piece of classical music or light a scented candle. Gather yourself a cup of calming tea and your journal. Title the page with the categories outlined above and give yourself a few minutes to write down a list of resources under each category. Try to write down everything that comes to mind and edit later.

For resources under the category ’emotional’, you might write down ‘going for a walk’, ‘taking a bath with candles’ or ‘speaking to Jennifer’. Under ‘financial’ you might write a friend’s name who gives good financial advice or the name of a book that you find inspiring regarding financial tips. Under ‘spiritual’ you might write ‘meditation’, ‘going to church’, ‘walking on the beach’ or ‘yoga’. Under physical, you might write down ‘cleaning and clearing the house’, ‘getting acupuncture or a massage’, ‘meeting a friend for a run’ or ‘going shopping for healthy alternatives for meals’. If you begin to struggle under a category for resources, this may be an area that you haven’t relied on for support in the past. Use this time to allow yourself to strengthen that area of your life. Let this list reflect your authentic self and keep it with you in your handbag or diary over the next week. If something new comes to mind, add it to your list. There are no limits on how many resources you can carry in your toolbox, the more the better!

After a week of allowing your inner resources to surface, take a few minutes to sit down with your list. You may like to use a few pages in your diary or use a small journal that you specifically keep as your toolbox. In the space that you allocate for this, write down the items that resonate with you the most from each category. Write out these items with love. Use coloured pens, stickers, photos of loved ones or images from magazines to remind you of what they mean to you.

When you find yourself in moments of overwhelm, practice this simple exercise. Sit quietly and allow your eyes to close. Feel into your body and ask yourself how you can best support yourself in this moment. Think back to your categories and allow the first one that comes to mind be your answer. Try not to overthink, if you have trouble deciding, visualise a deep lake and imagine that floating ever so slowly from the depths of the water is your answer. It may come in the form of a word or an image from your list. When you have decided, go to your list under that category and choose from the support systems that you have set up for yourself. You may need to use more than one tool from your list throughout the day depending on your challenge. Allow yourself permission to reach out and use your tools. Just like it would seem absurd for a builder to use his hand to try to place a nail into a board when his hammer was available, you also can use the resources that you have available to you.

By reaching out for support, whether from an activity, a person or a place, you will begin to create the habit energy of allowing the world to support you. This opening will be felt energetically by the people around you and you will begin to receive gestures of support in the most amazing and surprising ways. From this practice a beautiful garden of support can grow.

This October allow yourself to be supported by the resources that you already have around you. Give your toolbox a spring clean this October. Enjoy the process and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email me at the below address.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

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2007 – finding everyday balance in september


Do you ever wonder why the clothes that tumble out of the dryer are never wrinkled? All that turning up, down and all around and the clothes come out new and fresh, warm to touch and wrinkle free. Sometimes our lives are like this. Having just experienced winter here in Sydney, I have watched those around me and experienced myself, the inner questioning that this hibernating time brings. The seasons in our lives that are the most challenging can seem unfair and meaningless while they are ocurring, but more often than not when spring appears, we are wrinkle free and in some tiny or large way changed for the better.

With September upon us we are greeted by a new season, a fresh start. In Australia, the bulbs of winter that we planted, begin to send up green shoots into warm air. Each new season gives us the opportunity for a shift in our lives. With a change in the weather, we have the opportunity to change our daily activities and as a result, our outlook on life can shift as well.

One of my favourite activities is walking. I love the steady rhythm of my own feet upon concrete or grass or rain soaked earth. The set is always changing on my walks, whether it is a difference in the weather or a new path. I watch the trees coming into bloom then dropping their leaves and I am reminded of the cycles of life. I am reminded that everything is changing, all of the time. The leaves that fall in autumn make way for the new blooms in spring. The people that we have known for years gradually change and move in different directions. Our own emotions and goals are constantly shifting in reference to new experiences and interests. In this, there is enormous freedom, we can lighten up on ourselves and those around us knowing that everything is in a constant state of change. If something difficult occurs in our lives, we can find solace in the fact that it will not last forever. When we experience joyful events and are aware of change, we can be truly present for them without taking them for granted.

In difficult times, when things aren’t working out the way “I think” they are meant to, I try to question whether or not things are simply in a state of change. Perhaps the goals that I have set no longer hold meaning because of events or experiences I have had since setting them. They may just need to be fine tuned. Have I moved away from my original goals? Are those in my life closest to me experiencing change? In the midst of that change, am I continuing to treat them in the same “old” way expecting their reactions to be predictable? By reacting in the way we always have we close the doors that invite change. The alternative to resisting change is to follow change.

This September, rather than forcing your way through experiences that feel awkward or difficult, I invite you to step through the doors that open with ease, even if they are unfamiliar or surprising. Although sometimes it may feel that you are moving away from your original goal, you may just be taking a different path to a similar outcome. One of the benefits that you may experience when you allow ease to enter your life, is greater energy and enthusiasm for the tasks and the people around you. When you try new things like walking to work instead of driving or allowing someone at work to help with a project instead of independently organising it yourself, you shift the energy flow in the same way that a fallen branch changes a flowing stream.

At first, this can feel uncomfortable. When your family member or friend offers to cook for your dinner party instead of making the same meal that you always cook, you may feel hesitant to say yes. When a new door opens you cannot predict the outcome, so in essence you are placing your faith in the unknown. This can be difficult, but the upside is that opening new doors can be exhilarating! New experiences allow you an opportunity for greater mindfulness and growth. The richness of all your senses will be enhanced in these moments and therefore you will have greater awareness of the tastes, sounds, smells, sights and feelings of the experience.

This September, with the commencement of a new season, experiment with choosing ease over struggle. Start small. Begin by observing the moments in your day that flow, the moments where you think to yourself “well that was easy”. Try this for a week and at the end of each day, take five minutes to write in your journal three things that eventuated that day with relative ease. These details can be small. For example, someone giving you their parking ticket with two hours still left on it after you had worried about the expense of parking in the city. A moment of ease which you hadn’t expected has appeared. When you notice these moments, your focus begins to shift from noticing the everyday hassles to noticing the moments of ease and flow. This awareness has the potential to cultivate greater ease in your daily life. After a week of noting down your three moments of ease, ask yourself if your week felt any different? Was there more laughter and less angst? It is amazing how this shift of focus can affect your overall well being and the relationships in your life.

In the second week of this process, look at ways that you can choose ease in your life. Begin to work flow into your daily life. Note two areas of your life where you tend to experience hassles, perhaps financial (not paying bills on time) or appointments (late or forgetting appointments). Carve out a moment with your journal and list three tiny changes that you could make in those areas. Be a detective for ease in your own life. Would changing your bills to be automatically deducted from your account save you stress and late fees? Would making a commitment to arriving five minutes early to appointments so you can spend a few minutes sitting in the quiet of a waiting room increase your well being? These moments where we have time to wait, at the bus stop or in line at the grocery store, can be treated as gifts when viewed as times of rest.

These tiny shifts are just a few examples of how you can commit to increasing ease in your life. I have included a further list of tips for ease under the “more balance in September” piece featured in this section. As always, I would love to hear about your experiences this month while experimenting with these tools. Feel free to write to me at the suggested email address below. Welcome to September, to spring or autumn depending on your hemisphere, and to the opportunities for everyday balance with ease! Enjoy.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number.

posted under 2007 life balance

to create ease in September, why not try…


1. Setting up two baskets in the laundry, one for colours and one for whites to save time sorting.

2. Placing recycling baskets near your door so they are emptied each time you leave the house.

3. Having sections of your closet devoted to seasons and colours so you aren’t sifting through clothes you aren’t currently wearing and you can find items more quickly.

4. Buying gifts throughout the year, for birthdays and Christmas. When you find yourself at a sale and see something that reminds you of a loved one, purchase it. Designate a shelf or drawer for storage of these items and ask for them to be gift wrapped at the time of purchase. This will save time rushing around at the last minute and spending large amounts of money before the holidays.

5. Cooking double the amount of meals that easily freeze (casseroles, soups, sauces, chili and lasagna) so that on those days of overwhelm you don’t spend big bucks on take-out and you nourish your body with healthy ingredients when you need them most.

6. Having money for regular bills taken directly out of your account at the time of pay and placed in another account where they can be paid on time without the stress of juggling funds or withdrawing from savings after making impulse purchases!

7. Strengthening your belief in flexibility. If you are at the shops unexpectedly and you need to buy items from a nearby shop later in the week, do it then to save time doubling back later in the week. Use the time you gained later in the week to do something you enjoy. Take a walk, have coffee with a friend or simply relax at home.

8. Building exercise into your life. Instead of cramming a session on the stairmaster after work when its dark out and your tired, get off the bus a few stops early or park further away from work in the morning and walk the rest of the way to work. It only means leaving a half an hour earlier and you can save money on gym fees and create time to yourself before starting work.

9. Practicing saying yes when someone offers to help. This will help to strengthen your relationships and allows you extra time to do new things or more of what you love. Be patient, there is a strong trend towards doing everything yourself in western society. This habit may take time to strengthen, but in the long run you will be well rested and less stressed.

10. Eat well, drink enough water, exercise and get a healthy amount of sleep. We all have heard this bit of wisdom before, but by following it you will truly benefit and be better equipped to identify and explore opportunities for ease when they present themselves.

11. If you find yourself overwhelmed with things to do each week, try using, www.todoist.com, a online to do list. Get into the habit of checking this list each time you open your email and set up different categories for work, daily tasks and specific projects.

If you have further suggestions on how to create ease in daily life, write to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net and include your name and the town you live in and they may be posted on this site!

posted under 2007 life balance

finding everyday balance in august


As a child, when I turned the large coloured calendar page to August, I would sigh. The second half of the year had already begun, the half birthday of the year had past and the school holidays were nearly over. I would get out my coloured pens and draw pictures of what I wanted to do and what I had already done and give them to my parents, or friends or to our neighbour Kay. When we are children, years stretch out endlessly like long colourful sheets dancing on the clothesline. Years were like that, long and languid, endless and filled with colour and possibility. As adults, years sometimes seem like handkerchiefs, small, white and contained. The months page quickly by and we wonder where the days have gone. As adults we let out a different kind of sigh, sadly often one of overwhelm, wondering how we will fit in all the things we mean to do, to become, to accomplish. At what point did we let the dream and the colour and length of our years disappear?

I encourage you this August, to turn the page with love, to handle each square of this calendar month with the joy of a child. Go out and buy a new large wall calendar. You’ll find the cheery ones still on sale, often at half price, glossy pages longing to be written upon. Choose one for the child inside, with pictures of kittens or sailboats or of a town you would love to travel to. Dare to connect with the fun and less routine part of yourself and trust in your own creativity. Spend a day this week and using coloured pens, write in the activities that you want to fill your August with. Perhaps going to a movie with a friend, calling your grandmother and asking her about her childhood, visiting a new part of the city, getting a pedicure, collecting beachglass at the edge of the sea or reading Harry Potter. Choose activities that make you smile, that for whatever reason call out delight for you.

When you are finished decorating your days, think about setting some goals for this last half of 2007. Use a journal or a few pieces of paper and set aside twenty minutes to write. In your writing, identify the goals that you’ve already accomplished this year (no matter how small!) and then explore two goals that you would still like to accomplish. Often when setting goals for ourselves, we tend to choose large and lofty goals, so grand that in the context of our daily lives, they can very quickly become overwhelming. This time start out small. Instead of renovating the bedroom, set the goal to clean out your closet. Instead of writing your novel, set a goal to sign up for a creative writing course in your local area. Write out those two goals and leave them for a few days. Come back to them later in the week and notice if they still feel right. If not, change them, they are your goals! Make them as specific as possible and allow them to be something that you ‘could’ do rather than something that you ‘should’ do.

On your new calendar, set one small step towards your larger goal on the first day of each month, giving yourself a tangible time frame to work within. This month, it might be buying a hanging shoe rack and next month taking out the clothes you no longer wear and giving them to charity. With so much else going on in our lives, taking our goals in small bites like this, allows us to experience success in reaching those goals. As a result we build self confidence towards reaching our goals and greater authenticity within our lives.

Taking the time to journal before setting these goals is an essential step not to be discarded. Often we carry around a blueprint for who “we think” we are and when we get our thoughts on the page, we realise something within us may have changed. By connecting with who we are today, rather than who we were last week or who we think we should be next week, we allow our goals to be meaningful to us in the present moment. The good news is that when our goals are authentic, research shows us that we have a much higher chance of reaching them.

This August, I invite you to join me in choosing cheap and cheerful calendars and a new journal if you don’t have one. Set aside an afternoon this week just for you. Clear your dining room table or desk and arm yourself with a pack of coloured pens, your new calendar and your journal. Make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this time for you. Dream from the place where as children years stretched out far and wide, the place from where anything we dream is possible.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please send your name and email address to everydaybalance@gmail.com or visit this blog in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number.

posted under 2007 life balance