inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

working with uncertainty – january 2009


This morning, walking up the hill behind my sister’s home, I stood amongst the large trunks of the Eucalyptus trees. Great long ribbons of bark had broken off and lay heavy like discarded Christmas ribbons against the earth. I marveled at their raw smooth trunks. The scent of Eucalyptus triggered memories both of Sydney and of the San Francisco Zoo which I explored as a child. Standing on the edge of the hill that leans gently above San Rafael, I saw beyond my memories and the tall thick trees out to the new morning dawning in the San Francisco bay. I stood, feet planted in much the same way as these trees, my pockets full of decisions to make. Amongst the openness of nature, the decisions seemed to lightened.

Recently, I have been feeling full from possibility. My life is busy with emotion and choice. I am buying a car, looking for a home that will nurture our family and looking for workplaces based on integrity and balance. In this new chapter, I feel just like these trees standing bravely on the edge of the mountain. I am exposed and at the same time stripping off old layers to make room for the new. Looking back on the past year, I see both baby steps and giant leaps that have lead me to this place. What I find in this space of choice is a new kind of freedom. This freedom leads both to days of unbridled joy and to days of uncertainty.

Speaking to friends and colleagues, I have found that I am not alone in the feelings of uncertainty. As we open into this new year, there is an unsteadiness to the daily tides. Environmental and economic concerns paint the front pages of our papers all around the world. It is as if the curtains have been drawn back on the stage before the actors have had a chance to take their places. I sense that part of this uncertainty is due to the leaps and bounds that many of us made in 2008. It was a year of courage and movement. Many individuals that I’ve seen as clients or have friendships with have made decisions that have shifted the direction of their lives.

Perhaps after a year of so much movement, we need to take the time for a long exhale after taking such a deep inhale. I know that for myself, the first week of January is normally a time when I sit down and write out what I would like from the new year. I post a list of goals up and much like watching the new day dawn, I am aware of the dawn of the new year. But this year it is different. This year I sat down with a large piece of paper and drew images of what I am hoping for from this year. I let the creativity come from my heart rather than my head.

I’ve come into 2009 with an appreciation for simplicity. I’m choosing mindfulness of the present moment rather than looking to the future for fulfillment. I feel that in this year, it is integral for us all to take a comb over 2008. We need to take the time to feel the sorrows and joys that we have experienced. In times of uncertainty, it is so important to honor the events that we are experiencing and the impact that they have on our life. By being grounded in the present we are less likely to be swept by the tide of the media and plug into an energy of fear.

This week I invite you to take some time with your journal or your colored pens or to arrange to have a conversation with a dear friend over a nice hot cup of tea. Think back over 2008 and honor the difficulties and the celebrations that the year held. Take time to acknowledge the risks that you took, the patterns that you changed or simply the rest that you allowed yourself. Even if you tried just one new thing, honor the courage in that movement. When we move through each year as if it is something to be ticked off on our to do list, we lose the opportunity to celebrate our experience. Taking the time to acknowledge a new beginning allows us to not only to be aware of where we are going, but to understand the richness of where we have been.

As you move into 2009, instead of creating a list of specific goals, I invite you to experiment with choosing an area of your life that you would like to focus on for this new year. If this sounds too big, trial it month by month, to make sure it is relevant to where you are going. In my own experience, I’ve found that to make real changes, you need time to allow new habit energies to be created and to let go of the old. When looking at the areas of your life that you can focus on try dividing them into seven categories: spiritual, play, physical health, vocation, travel, relationships (friends, family, romantic) and financial.

When choosing an area of your life that you would like to focus on, consider each one of these categories. You may even like to write a short paragraph with a few sentences that describe this area of your life as it is now and a few sentences of how you dream it to become. Notice as you experiment with this writing exercise if there is an area of your life that you gravitate to first.

Does physical health grab your attention? Do you feel like you want to explore deepening your relationships? Have you been attracted to new spiritual activities? If you are more visual than verbal, draw each area of your life. Literally, ask yourself, what are you drawn to first? Follow your heart on this one. Often when there is an area of our life that is undernourished, we unconsciously begin to notice headlines in the paper or conversations that people are having or choose films that revolve around this area of interest. Observe your recent choices. Are there clues here that inform you about what area of your life you would most like to focus on?

It may help to begin by practicing a visualization. Allow yourself to sit with your eyes closed for a moment. Imagine that you are sitting in the garden of your life and that you are facing a single plant in the corner. Your focus is solely on this plant. The plant has dry roots, discolored leaves and weeds in its soil.  For some time you have watched these weeds growing tall and now they are beginning to shadow it from sun. All your energy has been focused on this plant. Suddenly you hear a beautiful sound behind you and you turn around. As you turn your focus, you notice that thriving all around you are voluptuous plants, singing birds, and streaming sunlight. These plants whose seeds you may have planted years and years ago are stretching their limbs to the sun showing off their zeal for life. Take a moment to feel the strength in this part of your garden. Ask yourself “How can these stronger parts of my life support me while I nurture this part of my garden that I have been focused on?” Gently ask yourself “What problem or area of your life does the plant in the corner represent?”

Go gently with the feelings that come up as you look at a problem that you may have been thinking about for some time. Sometimes we are unaware that our energy is so entirely focused on a particular area of our life. By bringing this into our consciousness, we have the opportunity to observe how much energy this preoccupation is borrowing from our body, mind and soul.

When you have taken sufficient time to explore what area of your life you have chosen to work on, write it down and post this intention around your world. Phrase it in the positive and give yourself permission to allow this journey to evolve over time. Let the beginning of this year reflect the essence of this intention. Write the words “Abundance” on the front page of your journal if your working on the financial aspect of your life. Use the phrase “Connection” if you are strengthening relationships. Repeat the word that represents your intention silently to yourself as you take your morning walk.

Explore what you know and what you don’t know about your area of intention by asking your friends about their experiences. Listen and learn from your community. Imagine that you have enrolled in a course for the length of this new year in which you will learn more about this subject as it manifests in your life. Believe in your ability to strengthen and change. Watch with wonder as the results of your intention bloom so magnificently that you can’t help but be supported by the beauty of the garden that you live amongst.

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 by clicking on the orange subscription icon at the bottom of the page. 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 2009 life balance

morning offering


standing beneath
this Autumn tree
I am awestruck
stopped in my tracks

looking up
through wide
reaching branches
a mural of orange and yellow leaves

against a sky
so periwinkle blue
that it soaks
in all your senses

this contrast
of color
wakes the very
tip of my wonder

and I look around
a crowd around me
jaws dropped

heads tilted
children shouting
to see the underneath
of every gold sewn leaf

but instead I find
the bike path empty
even the ducks
tucked underneath their wings asleep

however as I look to my feet
I see nearly a hundred
scattered shining leaves
brittle yet buoyant in their color

and I know
that it is I
late for this event
they would have gathered early

in their Sunday best
when the sun first hit
the branches
and they would have gasped

and clapped their hands
as this graceful tree
dropped a single leaf
for each woman, man and child

which they held
and gently set beneath her branches
this treasure
too valuable to take

left as an offering
back to beauty
their eyes alive
their hearts knowing

that life
drops love
in unexpected

copyright – Christina Adler – 23 November 2008 – Greenbrae, California USA

posted under 2009 poetry