everydaybalance

inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

2008 – finding everyday balance in march

March1

Working with the idea of mindfulness this past month, I have been struck by such small details including the blue of the water before the sun tilts up, the taste of a green mango in a salad, the sound of my sisters easy laughter over the phone and the texture of the wooden floor in the yoga room under my bare feet. When slowing down and living in the canvas of each day, it is so much easier to notice these sounds, sights and tastes and the feelings that come with them. Simply by being still, by noticing the details and letting go of the need to rush, the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary.

During this time of mindfulness, I also began to experience pain in my right knee. This was a different kind of pain than I was used to and unnerving as I walked along and felt that my knee had lost its strength. To be mindful of pain takes effort, there is such a tendency to want to push past it, to fix. In the past (and sometimes in the present) I have been the queen of “fixing”. This month, being in the present moment and allowing my knee to heal has been difficult and has made me acutely aware of the times that I’ve taken for granted my limber and strong knees.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and author who was nominated by Martin Luther King Jr. for the nobel peace prize, has written extensively on mindfulness and this tendency that we have to notice aspects of our lives when they are broken. He writes about being mindful of the “non-toothache” asking us to be aware of the parts of our body and the parts of our life that are whole, while they are whole, rather than when they are in pieces. For the queen of “fixing” this was an interesting shift to consider and a very bumpy ride to practice.

What I found when I began observing my own behavior was that the things that were going wrong in my life held a seductive appeal that the parts of my life that were working well lacked. The drama had me right in the palm of its hand while the day to day seemed pale and dull in comparison. I recognized that it was time to take steps to help shift this focus so that my life could sing about what was going well rather than shout about what was going wrong.

Mindfulness and meditation worked hand in hand to help me to begin to be in the present moment. This was the first step, simply becoming aware of what was working. The second step I stumbled upon in a dimly lit second hand bookshop. For years I had seen Sarah Ban Breathnach’s pink covered book Simple Abundance. I had pushed past it at several garage sales, picked it up and put it down in many book stores and then one day picked it up at my favourite second hand bookshop when I had time to browse. That day the book fell open to a page where she talked about creating abundance in your life in the form of a gratitude journal. The words hit home and that June in 2005, I started keeping my gratitude journal. Amazingly I began to feel the effects in a shift of focus from broken to whole, that I had been seeking for so long.

When I look back on the many gratitude journals I have kept since that time, I get a true sense of what was going on in my life at different times. Some days I can see that I was filled with joy, I was thankful for the birth of my friend Valerie’s first baby Savannah, grateful for Peter and my 7th anniversary and brimming over with gratitude having taught my first yoga class. Other days their is simplicity, I am thankful for the kind word of a friend, the sound of the rain, an unexpected compliment or that my loved ones are healthy. On difficult days, I have been thankful for warm clothes, that I was going to sleep, that I was able to take time out on my own or that I didn’t snap at anyone that day!The gratitude journal acts as a companion that helps to celebrate the amazing moments of your life and also helps to remind you that even in the darkest of times there is light.

This month I invite you to experiment with practicing the art of gratitude. Make a date with yourself this week to go to your local bookstore, art shop or newsagent and spend some time in the stationary aisle. If you’re like me, this is something that needs a bit of time, all of those beautiful new books and coloured pages, pens and pencils, are a rainbow of possibilities. Take your time and find a journal that feels special. It may be the cover or the feel of the page. For my gratitude journals, I often choose the ones that have quotes on some of the pages and I find that the quote I need to hear comes to me on just the right day.

This doesn’t have to be expensive, if your wallet is light, simply buy a $5 notebook and decorate the outside with magazine pictures or wrapping paper that you may have tucked away. When you’ve found your journal, keep it near your bed so that each evening before you go to sleep you can reach for it. Take a few minutes before you turn out the light to write down the date and five things that you are grateful for that day. Remember some days this will be easier than others! Enjoy the process and let it flow, this is a celebration of your life in the present moment.

Practice keeping your gratitude journal throughout the month of March and observe how your focus begins to shift from problems to solutions, from lack to abundance and most of all from guessing to knowing that there is beauty in your life, and that by tapping into that knowledge, wonderful and surprising opportunities will begin to open and bloom.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece 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 2008 life balance