Friday, March 22, 2013

Creating Balance in a World of Chaos

harold.lloyd / / CC BY-NC-SA
I don't know about the rest of you, but I have the hardest time slowing down long enough to eat! And I mean slowing down to make a healthy meal and then calmly eating it. I actually think that's why I married my husband, Will, because his daily priority is eating good food and enjoying it. I do love food, don't get me wrong, but it feels like such a burden to stop what I am doing even if I know it's what's best for me. Feeling okay about pausing to take care of myself comes down to self-love and trusting that I have an abundance of time, which truly is the root of living a balanced life.

And isn't that the ultimate goal, to create balance in our lives? I've been participating in the 21-Day Meditation Challenge by Deepak and Oprah, and in week 1 it helped me reflect on the divinity of my body and, now in week 2, on balance. Monday's centering thought was, "My outer world reflects my inner world," and it was great to take it a step further and think about what is happening right now in my outer world.
joiseyshowaa / Amazing Photos / CC BY-SA
(Yes, this is literally a shot of my outer world. I moved to India.)

Clutter was the first thought that came to mind—mental clutter, physical clutter, emotional clutter—anything that I am keeping in my life that no longer serves me. Once we get clear on our future and what we want, it is easier to let go of clutter.

We first have to know what clutter is to be able to let go of it.

Mental clutter could be put-downs or self-criticism, comparing ourselves to others and telling ourselves we're not good enough. Mental clutter could be thoughts that tell us "The world is a scary place," "Money is bad," "You can't trust anyone," or "I never do anything right." A lot of our mental clutter is made up of false beliefs that were engrained in us since we were little, so we've grown up tied to them without even realizing it.

Physical clutter may seem pretty obvious—a garage crammed full of old belongings, a closet spilling over with clothes that don't fit anymore, or an inbox filled with old and unopened emails. But what about physical clutter like unhealthy relationships, a stagnant job, and energy-zapping food? Physical clutter can take on all kinds of forms, but it basically is something tangible we have a hard time letting go of that is not making our lives better.
orangeacid / / CC BY
Emotional clutter is a much deeper kind of clutter, and interestingly it is often the cause of mental and physical clutter. Emotional clutter can be not letting go of a falling-out with a friend or a never-ending rerun in your head and heart of a bad break-up. Emotional clutter stirs up old feelings that provoke anger, sadness, guilt, whatever, rather than letting those feelings go and forgiving. Emotional clutter acts as a poison in our soul, refilling us with negativity every time we relive those horrible experiences.

Little by little as we clear away the mental, physical, and emotional clutter, we start to regain balance. One day, one thought, one emotion at a time.

Usually we know what we need to do to declutter our lives, but it's draining and slow going or we're inconsistent. Being inconsistent is my biggest struggle! The "not doing what I should be doing" reignites the mental clutter, telling myself, "Katie, stop being dumb. Just do it! It's your own fault you feel overwhelmed now and have a blaring headache." Not very nice, right?

I've found that if I do my "5 Pillars" every morning my day goes much smoother, I'm nicer to myself, and I feel much more at peace about the chaos around me. Even though I am sometimes inconsistent, I know that if I do my 5 Pillars I am laying a solid foundation for my day. You may have a variation on these 5 Pillars, so do what works for you. If you haven't created foundational pillars for your day, I strongly suggest that you do—it increases the inner peace you feel and re-instills clarity to know what you want your life to look like.
Stuck in Customs / Travel Photos / CC BY-NC-SA
My 5 Pillars

1. Green Smoothie: vitamins and oxygen to cells, energy, nourishment
2. Meditation: clarity, calmness, relaxation, perspective, peace, enlightenment
3. Prayer & Emotional Releasing: reconnection with God, peace, purpose, gratitude, help, releasing of emotions I no longer need and giving them over to him
4. Uplifting Reading: motivation, spiritual perspective, vision, grounding, focus, nourishment, peace, answers
5. Exercise in Nature: self-love, connection, peace, calm, adrenaline, energy, flexibility, wisdom

If you notice a trend in this list, seems like our lives attain balance when daily we do things that bring us peace. When we consider that 90% of all disease is caused or complicated by stress, it makes sense why these 5 Pillars help me feel so balanced. Guess I better stop all this blogging and go do yoga before the day's over!


Ben and Courtney Hugo said...

I love this Katie! We should talk about this sometime! Like maybe a girls night on a weekend night when Will is working?

Katie Newbold Smith said...

Or like maybe tonight?:)