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  • Jen Mantle

3 Steps and a Grain of Salt to a Well Rounded Life

"Balance lives in the present. The surest way to lose your footing is to focus on what dreadful things might happen." Oprah Winfrey

This week is our final week visiting balance! Not to worry though, it will definitely be revisited. The more I think about this subject, the more I realize that it’s such a tapestry. How do I create consistent balance in my life? Well, the real truth is, I don't. But I do feel balanced. Balance was a huge endeavor in my life for quite a long time. If I could just figure out the answer of how to achieve balance, then I would have this magically well rounded life. There has to be an easy answer, right? Like a recipe or equation? And yet, it just ended up as me trying to cram more in. An eternal summer of production and output. Always burning, yet never enough fuel. Can you feel me? What really helps me achieve a well rounded life? There are a few things that I live by. I notice what season I’m in. It’s true, all the stuff from last week is really a daily thing for me. This can relate to my monthly cycle, the cycles of my intentions or goals, my projects, you name it. There are cycles and seasons for everything, and learning to look where you are spells out exactly where you need to go next. Really, it is like having a recipe card for the unknown, and it’s always right. There will always be rest, emergence, growth and decline. Winter, spring, summer and fall. You can even use childbirth or labor as your model if you like. Every time with every thing you go through in life, there is a cycle. Whether it’s a project, your health or your schedule. To be in one cycle for too long, literally goes against the laws of nature, and eventually starts to feel uncomfortable. Recognizing where you are takes curiosity, a change of perspective and loads of compassion. Next, the pause. Yes. It’s that simple. Pause and give space. Take a breath, a week or a month. Pause, rest and integrate. Pausing after a project, a drop off at school, or after a discussion helps us to reset and start fresh. It helps us to ground and find our center again. It helps us to determine what’s ours, and what we can let go of. I build bigger moments of pause into my morning and evening routines. In the morning I pause, meditate, reflect, and most importantly, drink my coffee while it's still warm. At the end of the day I stretch, release energy (aka feelings or old emotions), and breathe deeply for several minutes. Pausing. So simple, but so important. Lastly, I do a little juggling act with my schedule. What does it look like? I ask this question. What would nourish my soul? I list ways to nourish myself on a soul level that sound juicy. Things that will make my heart sing and fill me up. Ways I want to move, places I want to go, people I want to see, things I want to create. These things get filled in around my life duties (you know, grocery store, laundry, school pickups, etc.) and appointments. These activities happen daily. They may only last 5 minutes, but they happen none the less. Why? Because we are all worthy of time and love. You know the saying about the oxygen mask, right? Secure your own mask first, otherwise we’re all screwed. :) You can do a similar exercise with my guide- Creating Room to Bloom. Creating Room to Bloom is an in depth guide which helps you to identify all of the things that feed your soul and help you in times of stress. It’s an in-depth way to create an emotional toolkit for yourself, and it's the same method I use to create my weekly plan of action. I do the same process, but use the shortened version :). Is it perfect every week? Far from it. Do I fit it all in, definitely not. But the more space I make, the better I feel. Stretching myself too thin means my boundaries are stretched too, and well. That feels like shit. It begs the question, what are you agreeing to? Is it a true yes? Or is it really a no and you’re doing it anyway, leading to feelings of resentment and feeling stretched thin? Is the balance we’re all looking for actually having better boundaries? Big questions dear ones. So, seasons, pausing and what would make your heart sing. The lovely recipe for a well rounded life :). As for boundaries? Well, we’ll get to that later :).

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