Human beings seek creature comforts, things, people and experiences which fill them up – cozy spaces, pleasant lighting, delicious food, easeful body, free mind, supportive friends….
In a perfect world, we’d live in a state of peaceful, easeful balance. Life would more often feel like day four of a 15 day vacation. We’d let go of our cell phone attachment. We’d go on more epic carnival rides. We’d sleep more. We’d try a new recipe. We’d enjoy an excursion with a parent. We’d have a long coffee date with an old friend….
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
But in a country where we collectively leave 175 million (MILLION) days of vacation time on the table, it’s hard to find time to cultivate peaceful, easeful balance.
And when we find ourselves over (or under)whelmed by the demands of our relationships, when we feel stressed by the pace of our jobs, when we feel like we just do too, too much:
How do we let go of the pressure to always DO?
How do we create the space to just BE?
We start with awareness of how much we DO and how often we let ourselves BE. I call this assessment the “Balance Spectrum.”
I’ve used the assessment below with Ivy League graduates, I’ve used the tool with MDs. I’ve used this tool with artists and entrepreneurs and I’d like to use this tool with you, if you’re game.
So. Are you ready to bring awareness to your place on the spectrum? Are you ready to become aware of how much you DO and how often you let yourself BE?
- Get a piece of paper (yes, now).
- On the left side write “Empty” and on the right side write “Fill.”
- Number your lines 1-10.
- Take a deep breath and begin to populate your “Empty” list. These are things that deplete you. Things that stress you out. (Ex: cell phone ding, a coworker or boss, an unfinished project, cooking dinner, online dating, picking up after the kids, super needy friend X). See photo above.
- Now, populate your “Fill” list. This may be a little more difficult (Ex: go to a Yoga class, a walk with a friend, dancing, reading, playing music, camping).
- Now go through the Empty list and give yourself a check for everything you think you routinely do TOO MUCH of.
- Now go through the list “Fill” and give yourself a star for everything you do ENOUGH of.
- At the bottom of the page draw a horizontal line with “0” in the middle.
- Start with your pencil at 0. Count left as many spaces as you have items with a check.
- From your stopping point, count back right as many spaces as you have items with a star.
- Circle your number and take a good hard look.
If you are all the way at -10, you probably feel extremely depleted. You may not be sleeping well, you may feel tense, testy, wound up all the time. If you are all the way at +10, you may feel like you have a lot of “to do’s” hanging over your head and you may feel like you can never get anything done.
So now what? Now you work to find more balance. For those of you who are depleted, you already have a list of 10 things that fill you up. Find time to DO those things so you can BE more. For those of you who BE all day, every day, carve out some time to check off items on that DO list you just created. Perhaps you find that once you commit to accomplishing them, they won’t feel so scary.
Finding balance can be a challenge. If you need some support, reach out to me at RachelBDorsey@gmail.com.