Back in October I heard a wonderful thing on the radio. The caller told listeners about how the first two letters of November are N and O – as in ‘NO’ – November was the month to say ‘no’ to everything so you don’t end up feeling too overloaded during December. I loved this idea of self-preservation so you maintain an ounce of dignity and elegancy and you don’t fall in an exhausted heap before the natural Christmas pause.
I have thought of that a lot in the past four weeks. And failed miserably at turning down all the fun stuff. And I am being more than a little hypercritical here as I have contributed somewhat to all this by hosting three big lunches in as many weeks, while still looking forward to attending a few more special Christmas lunches. But, when overwhelm threatens, of course you need to give yourself an out. And sometimes it feels hard to give that simple permission to yourself. But if your heart is whispering to you, or indeed stomping on your soul to get noticed, and if it’s telling you that it needs a breather, then do give yourself a break. Simplify where you can. Maybe downsize a few things. And do keep your soul care by continuing to come to class. As fitness is like flossing. If fail to attend to it regularly, it’s much harder to get rid of that build up. Instead, continuity is crucial. There is nowhere in the yoga texts that tells you to always push 100 percent to your edge. Instead, the texts remind us that consistency is the key. And I think it’s like feeding a kitten – little and often is good to keep yourself on track.
You Don’t Find Balance, You Create It.
Another thing to consider is that I believe you don’t really ‘find’ balance. I believe you build it for yourself. In my 30’s I founded and ran a large studio and health clinic. For the first couple of years I used to work 60 hours a week. I was able to do it as a was single, motivated and mad keen to make a go of my passion. But after a while, I decided I wanted to work less and cut to 45 hours. So, I kept note of my hours each week and, while it took a few weeks, I was able to bring it down to that level. Bingo! I had made it! I was proud that I had succeeded in achieving the much conversed about and magical work life balance. So, having achieved that, the next week I relaxed a little and when I added up my hours at the end of that week I was amazed that they had crept up to around 60 again. And then and there I got it – Balance wasn’t something you got just once. You had to keep on getting it! And that takes effort and discipline. It takes firmness to say no. It takes strength sometimes to choose space over space-filling. For the following year I was vigilant and cut to 43 hours per week, and then for the remaining years rested at 41.5 – which sounds a bit random but turned out to be the right amount for both the business and myself at that point.
A Shift in Perspective In the flux of Christmas Chaos
So, as you go for creating your own special blend of balance, consider how may spiritual teachers have you heard tell you that the answers are to be found within? How often do you ignore those whisperings from your own heart? Yes, it’s hard to maintain that inward focus as you battle the cash register crowds at the mall. But it’s work keeping the inner perspective as you go forth, remain inner focused on getting your deepest needs met and create your balance. I wish you strength, focus, firmness and softness in this worthy endeavour.
Blessings to you and yours for the season,