Finding Balance.

Finding Balance.

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being, in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures.

Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. 

Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.

Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life. You may want to spend less time on these activities and more on the ones that fulfill you. 

A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. 

With its many nuances, balance can be a life-long endeavor. Living a balanced existence will help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.

Based on text by Daily Om.
Declaring My Intentions.

Declaring My Intentions.

When you’re feeling stuck in life and are ready for change, take time to declare to the Universe that you’re ready.

There comes a point in most of our lives when we feel ready to experience a change we’ve had trouble carrying out. Maybe we’ve been stuck in a home, a relationship, job, or a town that hasn’t felt right for a long time, but we’ve been unable to shift our circumstances in the direction we want to go. At times like this, it can help to declare to the universe that we are ready for a change. Think of it as informing a helpful friend that you need her assistance to move to the next level in your life. If the time is right, the universe will respond with opportunities and offers designed to help you create the change you wish to see.

You can begin the process of making your declaration by getting clear within yourself about what exactly you want to change. Whenever we ask anyone for help, they can assist us that much better if we are specific. The universe also appreciates our clarity and has an easier time answering a direct communication than a vague yearning. When you are clear on what you want, write your declaration on a piece of paper and place it on your altar, if you have one. If you don’t, you can also place it under your pillow or in a box on your nightstand. Set aside a period of time every day to be silent with your wishes for change, repeating your declaration like a mantra. This lets the universe know that you are ready to change and will be receptive to its efforts.

Feel free to continue to refine and redefine your declaration, and remember to be open to the many different ways in which the change you seek might come to be. Remember also to be active in your own efforts, taking opportunities that come your way, watching for signs, and always taking responsibility for your intentions.

When things don’t happen quickly, be open: it might take time to free up energy that has been blocked and possibly serving a purpose beyond what we can understand.

When you continue your conversation with the universe, declaring yourself clearly and openly, you cannot help but experience the magic of changing and being changed.

Peeling Away Layers.

Peeling Away Layers.

Like a tree, our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed defenses we no longer need.

Trees grow up through their branches and down through their roots into the earth. They also grow wider with each passing year. As they do, they shed the bark that served to protect them but now is no longer big enough to contain them. In the same way, we create boundaries and develop defenses to protect ourselves and then, at a certain point, we outgrow them. If we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer, we can’t expand to our full potential.

Trees need their protective bark to enable the delicate process of growth and renewal to unfold without threat. Likewise, we need our boundaries and defenses so that the more vulnerable parts of ourselves can safely heal and unfold. But our growth also depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need. It is often the case in life that structures we put in place to help us grow eventually become constricting.

Unlike a tree, we must consciously decide when it’s time to shed our bark and expand our boundaries, so we can move into our next ring of growth. Many spiritual teachers have suggested that our egos don’t disappear so much as they become large enough to hold more than just our small sense of self — the boundary of self widens to contain people and beings other than just “me.”

Each time we shed a layer of defensiveness or ease up on a boundary that we no longer need, we metaphorically become bigger people. With this in mind, it is important that we take time to question our boundaries and defenses. While it is essential to set and honor the protective barriers we have put in place, it is equally important that we soften and release them when the time comes.

In doing so, we create the space for our next phase of growth.

Based on text by Daily Om

Underneath the noise.

Underneath the noise.

There is beauty and power when we listen to the whisper.

You may have noticed that when you want to speak to someone in a noisy, crowded room, the best thing to do is lean close and whisper. Yelling in an attempt to be louder than the room’s noise generally only hurts your throat and adds to the chaos.

Similarly, that still, small voice within each of us does not try to compete with the mental chatter on the surface of our minds, nor does it attempt to overpower the volume of the raucous world outside. When we want to hear it, no matter what is going on around us or even inside us, we can always tune in to that soft voice underneath the surrounding noise.

It is generally true that the more insistent voices in our heads delivering messages that make us feel panicky or afraid are of questionable authority. They may be voices we internalized from childhood or from the culture, and as such they possess only half-truths. Their urgency stems from their disconnectedness from the center of our being, and their urgency is what catches our attention.

The other voice that whispers reassurances that everything is fundamentally okay simply delivers its message with quiet confidence. Once we hear it, we know it speaks the truth. Generally, once we have heard what it has to say, a powerful sense of calm settles over our entire being, and the other voices and sounds, once so dominant, fade into the background, suddenly seeming small and far away.

We may find that our own communications in the world begin to be influenced by the quiet certainty of this voice. We may be less inclined to indulge in idle chatter as we become more interested in maintaining our connection to the whisper of truth that broadcasts its message like the sound of the wind shaking the leaves of a tree.

As we align ourselves more with this quiet confidence, we become an extension of the whisper, penetrating the noise of the world and creating more peace, trust, and confidence.

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor

The Message of Pain.

The Message of Pain.

Both emotional and physical pain are messages that we need to stop and pay attention to.

When we feel pain, our first impulse is often to eradicate it with medication. This is an understandable response, but sometimes in our hurry to get rid of pain, we forget that it is the body's way of letting us know that it needs our attention. A headache can inform us that we're hungry or stressed just as a sore throat might be telling us that we need to rest our voice. 

When we override these messages instead of respond to them, we risk worsening our condition. In addition, we create a feeling of disconnectedness between our minds and our bodies.

Physical pain is not the only kind of pain that lets us know our attention is needed. Emotional pain provides us with valuable information about the state of our psyche, letting us know that we have been affected by something and that we would do well to focus our awareness inward. Just as we tend to a cut on our arm by cleaning and bandaging it, we treat a broken heart by surrounding ourselves with love and support. 

When we listen to our pain we will know what to do to heal ourselves. It's natural to want to resist pain, and once we understand that it is here to give us valuable information, we can relax a bit more, and take a moment to listen before we reach for medication. Sometimes this is enough to noticeably reduce the pain, because its message has been heard. Perhaps we seek to medicate pain because we fear that if we don't, it will never go away. It can be empowering to realize that, at least some of the time, it is just a matter of listening and responding.

The next time you feel pain, either physical or emotional, you might want to try listening to your own intuition about how to relieve your pain. Maybe taking a few deep breaths will put an end to that headache. Perhaps writing in your journal about hurt feelings will ease your heart. 

Ultimately, the message of pain is all about healing.

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
Staying On Track.

Staying On Track.

In a world where we have routines to get everything done, we rarely have a routine for our spiritual self.

In a world where we have routines for nearly everything -- our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule -- it's amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs. We run around in an attempt to be at our many appointments on time and meet our many obligations. 

In our efforts to be as productive as possible, however, our spiritual needs tend to take a backseat. 

After all, taking care of our spiritual needs doesn't directly pay the bills or tone our abdominal muscles. We may even wonder who has time to meditate or write in their journal when there are more pressing matters to see to. The truth is that nurturing ourselves spiritually is what gives us the energy and grounding that we need to make sure that our lives stay on track. 

How you choose to nurture yourself spiritually is a personal choice. For some people, meditating once a day may be what they need to stay centered. While spending 10-20 minutes with your eyes closed and your brain devoid of thought may seem like a lot of time doing nothing, this state of nothingness actually allows you to stay calm and focused so you can be as productive as possible. Writing in your journal everyday lets you stay in touch with yourself so that you are always tuned in to your feelings. Repeating affirmations for success, happiness, and well-being on a regular basis can help you live with optimism and enthusiasm and create what you want in life. 

Having a routine for nurturing your spirit that you do each day lets you feed energy to your soul and can serve you well if your life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into a difficult period.   This kind of routine grounds your spirit in your body so that you stay anchored in yourself as you move through each day. 

Nurturing yourself spiritually allows you to not only stay on track in your life, but it allows for your life to stay on track with what your spirit wants.

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
Positive Thoughts.

Positive Thoughts.

The longer we are able to hold a positive thought, the stronger that energy around us becomes.

When we make no effort at all, our thoughts usually scatter in a vast array of directions. They start and stop and move in surprising ways from one second to the next. When we follow our thoughts without controlling them, we will be amazed at how truly inconsistent they are. 
And when we apply our minds to a specific task, especially one that interests us, they gather together and allow us to focus our attention, creating great power and energy. This is what is known as pure thought, because it is undistracted. 

The law of attraction -- like attracts like -- influences all energy, including our thoughts, and this is what makes pure thought so potent. Our undistracted thoughts create a powerful magnet that draws similar energy into our vibrational field. 

As a result, the longer we are able to hold positive thoughts in our minds, the more powerful the positive energy around us becomes. We don't need to focus on action and controlling so much when we are surrounded by energy that draws what we want toward us. We can simply respond to the opportunities that naturally come our way. 

When this is the essence of our experience, we can go with the flow, knowing that we will be okay.

If pure thought is a body, it is our emotions that supply the heart that can really bring it to life. Our thoughts and feelings exist in relation to one another, and they form a feedback loop through which they communicate and empower each other. 

When we hold a thought in our mind without being distracted, we have achieved pure thought. When we have a positive emotional response to that thought, we enable it to dance and move and breathe itself into existence.

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor
Expressing Myself.

Expressing Myself.

When we are in a relationship where we feel listened to and understood, we count ourselves lucky because we know how rare that experience is. We reserve our most intimate selves for the people who, along with us, co-create an open space where we feel free to express ourselves and listen without judgment. 
These relationships, which thrive on open communication, can mean the difference between existential loneliness and a deep sense of belonging. We all long to feel heard, understood, and loved, and clear communication makes this possible. 

Sometimes problems arise in the process of expressing how we feel, and it is always worth it to do the work. Even in our less intimate relationships, expressing ourselves honestly is essential to our sense of well-being. 
Whether at home with family or in the outside world, successful communication requires some forethought; otherwise we risk blundering through our relationships like the proverbial bull in a china shop. However, too much forethought can stifle us or cause us to pad our words so extremely that we end up saying nothing at all or confusing the matter further. 

The good news is that there are many methods that can come to our rescue, from meditation to visualization to journaling. 

If the person we need to communicate with is open to sitting in meditation together for a set period of time before speaking, this can be invaluable. When we are calm and centered, we can count on ourselves to speak and respond truthfully. We can also meditate on our own time and then practice what we need to say. 
A visualization in which we sit with the person and lovingly exchange a few words can also be a great precedent to an actual conversation. 
If writing comes easily, we can write out what we need to say; it may take several drafts, but we will eventually find the words. 

The key is to find ways to center ourselves so that we communicate meaningfully, lovingly, and wisely. In this way, we honor our companions and create relationships in which there is a genuine sense of understanding and respect. 

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor

			
My Wellbeing Is My Priority.

My Wellbeing Is My Priority.

Well-being is having a moment. What was once considered a soft-news lifestyle topic has, thanks to our collective experience of the pandemic, moved to the center of the conversation about work and life. And as a Chief Well-Being Officer, I’m certainly glad to see this shift (even if I obviously would have preferred a different catalyst). 

Still, when I’m asked questions about well-being, as I often am, I’ve noticed a troubling trend. Very often, well-being becomes just another stress-inducing item on our to-do list. So as we continue to prioritize our well-being, we also need to shift our mindset away from viewing well-being as work. Because well-being isn’t a benchmark we need to hit. It’s not another guilt-inducing metric to measure ourselves by. The whole point of bringing more well-being into our lives is to lower our stress, not add to it. 

With that in mind, here are six ways to prevent well-being from becoming just another item on our to-do lists.

Stop glorifying busyness

We often have this idea that busyness and productivity are the same thing. We wear our busyness as a badge of honor, believing that we should exist in a state of perpetual motion. For many of us, this extends to well-being, which becomes something we must do — that is, just another form of being busy. But well-being isn’t a moment, it’s a mindset — and one that’s an antidote to the mindset of busyness. Well-being is a way of living and working that can only happen when we leave busyness behind.

Define well-being for yourself

If well-being begins to feel like a checklist of things you’re supposed to do, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re subscribing to an idea of well-being that’s been defined by someone else. But well-being isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s different for every person, so it’s essential that we define it for ourselves. 

That starts with thinking of what’s important to us and defining our non-negotiables. Some people like to meditate, some don’t. For some, well-being might involve an activity. For others, it can just as easily be about doing nothing. When we focus on what truly makes us thrive, it will be a lot easier to integrate our specific version of well-being into the fabric of our daily lives.  

Start small

Prioritizing well-being isn’t about overhauling our lives, and it doesn’t mean we have to make huge changes. It’s not all-or-nothing. Thrive Global is all about Microsteps — starting with the smallest steps possible to build healthy habits. Maybe you don’t have time to work out for an hour a day, but can you get a few more minutes of movement in? You don’t have to cut out gluten or meat or foods you like, but can you add a piece of fruit as a snack? When we make these steps small enough, they become easier to make into habits.  

Be intentional about setting boundaries 

Having a set of well-being non-negotiables doesn’t do much good if we don’t make time for them. To make sure I make time for mine, I add them to my public calendar, which all of my co-workers and team members can see, and then I stick to them in the same way I do everything else on my calendar. This sends the message — both to myself and others — that the ways I’m nurturing my well-being are as important as any other meetings or appointments on my calendar.

Accept that well-being will change 

If we’ve learned anything over the past year-and-a-half, it’s that life is about constant change. Well-being isn’t a destination. As we move forward on our life’s journey, our conception of well-being is likely to change. When we accept that, we’ll be able to continue finding new ways to bring well-being, joy, and renewal into our lives that don’t feel forced.

Give yourself some grace 

We’re all human, which means we’re perfectly imperfect. The last thing our relationship with well-being should be giving us is guilt or a sense of failure. What’s more, self-acceptance — in this case, accepting the fact that we’re not always going to meet our own definition of well-being or find the time for it — is itself a great well-being practice. So let yourself off the hook, give yourself some grace, and when you do, you’ll be adding a powerful tool of well-being to your life. 

Based on text by Jen Fisher

Closing 2021 and Opening 2022

Closing 2021 and Opening 2022

The 7Cs, as described by Elaine Patterson in her book  “Our Humanity@Work” Working with the 7Cs, are our innate human capacities for care, courage, curiosity, compassion, connection, creativity and contemplation. They enable us to be mindful of how we bring our humanity into work and into leadership; they help those of us who may be naturally focused on driving for results, on efficiency and on process to ensure that we do this through our relationships with people and people-centred behaviours. At a time when there is uncertainty as organisations transition to hybrid working, face into restructures and redefine themselves to meet changing consumer demands as a result of the Covid era, your team members need a style of leadership that pairs care and compassion with courage and creativity. To bring these more to the fore in your leadership and management, start by looking back:

Reflecting on 2021

Take 10 minutes to consider your responses to the following questions:

Reflection Question
CareWhat have I truly cared about at work this year?In hindsight, were these the right things?
CourageWhere have I needed to show courage this year?On a scale of 1-10, how courageous was I?
CuriosityHow have I been curious this year?How did that curiosity add value (or not?)
CompassionWhere have I extended compassion to others this year?Where have I shown myself compassion?
ConnectionWhen have I felt a deep connection with someone or something at work this year?What effect did that have on me, them or on an outcome?
CreativityWhere did I bring creativity into my work this year?
ContemplationWhere have I invested time to take stock in my work this year?How have I checked in with myself or others this year and acted on what I have learned?

Sparking ideas for 2022

Take 10 minutes to consider the following to help you set yourself up for a good 2022 at work:

Future-Focused Question
CareHow will showing care be important to me in 2022?Where do I need to show care and to whom?
CourageIf I was truly courageous in 2022 what could I achieve?Where will it be most important for me to show courage?
CuriosityWhat am I already curious about in 2022?How do I need to continue to be curious?
CompassionHow can I extend my compassion to others in 2022?Where do I currently feel I will most likely need to show myself compassion in 2022?
ConnectionWhat connections will bring me joy and/or fulfilment in 2022?What steps can I take now to ensure those connections happen?
CreativityIf I am at my most creative in 2022, what is possible for me?What excites me about these possibilities?
ContemplationHow might I need to make time for reflection and contemplation in 2022?What do I see as the value of doing so?

I’ve found the time taken on these questions to be a great investment in enabling my learning as well as giving me motivation and excitement about what is possible in 2022.

HAPPY 2022!