inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday



autumn leaves crunching
beneath my feet
and I am a girl again
with purple heart shoelaces

making up games
to the tune
of the season

wide rainbow oak leaves
behind my ears and
in my denim pockets
so that

as I walked
I made the sound
of a tree
caught between weather and sky

from any kind
of time piece
except the light

by San Francisco fog
which traveled
over tall red arches

through a rainbow tunnel
down the eucalyptus lined
freeway and
up the wide belly

of our mountain
to find my home
where the deer hid in
the corners

of my playpen
and the squirrels jumped from
tall branches
and my sister and I

would watch for bluejays
that matched our eyes
and I can almost
taste the hot apple cider

that warmed our small
cold hands
when the sky was nearly black
and the redwood trees started to creak with night

while our stories
told to the wind
and the ivy
and the large plum tree

would wait
to continue
for another day
where wonders never cease

copyright – Christina Adler – 2 June 2008 – Narrabeen Beach, NSW Australia

posted under 2008 poetry

2008 – finding everyday balance in june


Harrison's Feet

Tonight the rain is tap dancing on our skylights as if the sky was letting go stardust. It pitters and patters so gently that it matches the magic in the mood that has followed me through the week and home from Kiama tonight. On Monday we were stopped in our normal morning routine by the ringing phone. A new mother and father, our dear friends Denita and Andrew, announced the unexpected arrival of their son, Harrison Smee. He was a month early.

That afternoon Peter and I gingerly passed Harrison, tiny and perfect, back and forth between our arms. What a gift to be in the presence of a beautiful and healthy baby born that day. In the room, the love was palpable. We marveled at his tiny hands, that moved with the grace of a magician, as if he was casting a spell to remind us how miraculous life can be.

This weekend many of our friends traveled to celebrate the arrival of this beautiful baby to his own baby shower. I sat and watched everyone’s expressions as they held and spoke to this new little boy. There was generosity and joy. Our bodies leaned into one another to be closer to the sounds he made or hoping those tiny hands might brush our skin as he weaved his magic. I was struck by the ease and balance that is born when we connect in happiness with those around us.

Driving home I thought about the connections that we all have throughout our days and why some days shine bright and others are easily forgotten. I thought about the people that flow in and out of our homes, work places, exercise classes, grocery stores or brush past us on the street and the impact that they have on our lives. I reflected how the words, feelings and body language that is exchanged, shapes so many aspects our day and yet we may be virtually unaware of how that presence effects us and those around us.

In these last few months, I’ve been increasingly aware of those interactions in my life because of our upcoming move to San Francisco in July. I’ve been noticing with mindfulness whose footsteps cross my path each day. From the pelican that gathers fish in its giant mouth while I walk around the lake to the person who packs up my fruit and vegetables down the street, they all have an impact. And I’ve been feeling with more mindfulness the tones of voices, the words expressed and the connections that I’ve built over the years with those whose lives are interwoven among mine.

And it is in these connections, that I feel we can draw great balance from in our day to day lives. Often we are told, or at certain times intrinsically feel, that this life is one we walk alone. Nothing really could be further from the truth. When we really stop to listen or to feel those around us, we can begin to understand what Thich Nhat Hanh refers to as interbeing. The concept that we are all interconnected, that the breath I take in is connected to the breath you let out. And what I experienced today, in a room full of wonder, was how the presence of just one person can change a day for many individuals, regardless of their own set of circumstances or feelings or predicaments. One small smile and a moment can change.

This month, I invite you to consider the wonder of your own presence in the lives those around you and of the gift of the people that are woven into your life by choice and by accident. Each of us was once that tiny baby in the arms of an adult, looked at with love and wonder. We were bright eyed and open, allowing ourselves to be cared for by the people that loved us. Imagine if we could take just a drop of that trust and grace and add it to our interactions with our friends, family and colleagues.

I believe so strongly that what we pay attention to blooms. When we pay attention to our relationships they take on a certain quality of reverence. Simply by being mindful of our speech can elicit this result. Think back to a time, when a friend, a partner or colleague has shown you an unexpected dose of kindness. There is a pause. A pause that something has shifted, something out of the ordinary has occurred and the moment can’t help but be changed for the better. It is like the part in a song that takes your heart with it, it is felt on an entirely different level than that of the rational mind. Often the forgotten aspect of this interchange and what was tapped into by the editors of the wonderful little book Random acts of Kindness is that treating others with kindness has the same effect as being treated with kindness.

This month, if you would like to explore this concept, take a few moments with your journal and make a list of the main characters that walk through the pages of your life. Let your pen write without too much thought. Identify the people in your daily interactions, those in your heart and those who may live oceans away, but always feel close. Allow their names to take up space on your page and simply acknowledge their presence in your life.

Don’t overanalyze who appears in your list. Sometimes it is the person that we least identify with that makes the biggest difference to our days. It might be the man in the parking lot who sees you are juggling two toddlers and takes your bags to your car, the chance encounter with someone who you had lost touch with or the colleague that you are able to help in a crisis. Whether or not you believe in coincidence or fate, the people that come across our paths often have hidden gifts to bestow.

After you have made your list, circle three names. Don’t overanalyze or plan, just follow your first instinct. If it helps, shut your eyes and circle at random. It may be that you circle your best friend, the mailman and your child. Write these names on a separate piece of paper labeled one, two and three. This month experiment with the effect that your connections have on your daily life. For the person named next to the number one write “known act of kindness”, for the person named next to the number two write “anonymous act of kindness” and for the person named next to number three write down “mindfulness”. Keep this list where it is private to you, but that you will see it regularly.

Over the month of June notice the effects of these actions. For your “known act of kindness” you might give this person a compliment or help them in some way. This doesn’t have to be grand. A simple compliment or small gift can turn someone’s day around. Even the presence of a single chocolate frog once turned a tumultuous day for me into something manageable, simply because I knew someone was thinking of me during a difficult time.

For your “anonymous act of kindness”, simply apply the same principle, but without that person knowing about it. When I’ve worked with this exercise with my students, this is often the exercise they were surprised they enjoyed the most. One person paid for tea for an entire group at break time and I watched as the group giggled and came together. You couldn’t have picked the person who paid if you tried. Sometimes we think that the acknowledgment we get from an act of kindness, is what feels good, but what we find is that it is the joy exuded from the receiver that opens our heart.

For the third person, simply try to bring a sense of mindfulness to your words and actions with that person over the next month. Speak and act from a place of kindness and take notice of how that relationship responds over this time. If one of the people that you circled has passed away, continue the exercise in their memory. For your acts of kindness, do something that you know they would have loved, be it an activity they enjoyed or giving to a cause they believed in and tell them about it in your journal or tell someone that knew them. For mindfulness, simply bring mindfulness to the ways they continue to influence your daily life, your interests or your activities. Bring mindfulness to the role that they continue to play in your life.

As you work with these tools, you are both practicing awareness of the relationships in your life as well as noticing the effect of interconnection in your everyday balance. When I teach yoga, I marvel each week how my students walk in as individuals and they leave as a group. There is something so intuitively healing in the power of connection that even when someone across the world holds us in their thoughts, we are affected. The serendipity of the phone call that comes from the friend you were just thinking of, lets us know of the deep power that our thoughts have on our connections.

Imagine the difference we could create among the circle of people in our lives, if we each took only five minutes a day to reach out with our words, our actions or our thoughts. Imagine if we simply looked at the people near to us, in the same way that we meet a new child, with mindfulness, ease and a smile in our eyes.

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 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. Photo by Peter Moore featuring Harrison Smee’s feet.

posted under 2008 life balance