Make sure that it is indeed a life you're creating. A career is not a life. A huge wardrobe is not a life. A pile of money is not a life. Indeed, remember that even a relationship is not a life. But love, service to others, caring for yourself, those can be a life. Those can indeed be a beautiful and amazing life.
This is something fun to do and something that gave me real perspective when I was in the midst of a very difficult time. I read a short story by David Sedaris in which he met a woman during his travels who told him essentially this, We don't have unlimited energy in this life. Our time and efforts are like a 4 burner stove. One burner is Friends, one Family, one Work, and one Health. There isn't an unlimited amount of gas for each of those burners. We have to choose which we will heat the most and which we will turn down. Each day, and all those days combined, we are choosing which burners to give energy and which to turn down.
So often we try to find balance by running all four of these burners at full heat all the time. Whoa. Something is going to explode. That's exactly what happened to me before my life was shattered by this illness. I was working like a maniac at my job as a caseworker, giving everything I had to helping children and families. Nick & I were basically running a Bed & Breakfast out of our home for friends and family we had company and events going on so often. And I was an active runner, sometimes running twice a day, on my lunch break at work and then again when I got home from work. I was even practicing self-care at a breakneck pace, meditating, doing yoga, practicing prayer and breathing techniques.
I loved it all. I'm a passionate person and I've never really done anything by halves. I love my friends and family, my career, my home, and my health. I enjoyed making healthy foods and doing yoga and encouraging everyone around me to as well. I didn't want to believe that I had to turn anything down in order to stay safe and healthy. And our society encourages us to believe that. We're constantly bombarded by a culture that worships busyness.
But this is the absolute truth; If you don't decide which burners to turn down, life will decide for you.
For me, life choose Health. It turned that burner down so low that I nearly died. And then in the days and months to come, I had to turn my career down, and then off, just to maintain a trickle of energy and life into my Health burner. Later, as I realized that my blood clots were turning to painful scar tissue all through my femoral vein and my IBD drained all the energy from my body and mind, family and friend activities were turned down to almost nothing as well.
I learned this lesson in the harshest of ways but I'm sharing it with you in the hopes that you can learn at this time and balance your "burners" so that you can have a life of love, success, peace, joy, and all the other good things that come from Health, Family, Friends, and Work.
Okay, this is the fun part (and often the crazy and surprising part!). You can check yourself with this quick, cool method that creates a pie graph of your current priorities. But the only way it works is if you're honest. It's Pretty fun and enlightening.
Go to to Rapid Tables Pie Chart Maker at http://www.rapidtables.com/tools/pie-chart.htm
For the data names, write Family, Friends, Work, and Health. Now you just think about the numbers that go to each category in your life. You don't have to limit yourself, if you feel like work is taking up a thousand parts of your life, write 1,000 under the work part. Just be honest with yourself, then click on the little pie chart button on the bottom right and you'll get your chart.
I made one for myself at my current place in life and this is what it looks like.
I hope you try this out and learn something about yourself that maybe you didn't know. It's not as tricky as it looks. You can always just draw your own chart on a piece of paper. That would be pretty revealing too. I bet for some out there today, your chart would just look like a circle with the entire thing scribbled in by one category. If that's the case, take a moment, turn down that burner, and prioritize peace.
Lots of Love,