You Can Balance Your LIFE!
One Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1999, I had just drifted off to take a nap when my husband Gary put his hand on the calf of my leg and gently shook it as he said these encouraging words: “What’s wrong with you? I’m worried about you. All you do is sleep. Are you depressed?” The searing bone pain that had kept me up most of the night had finally lessened enough that I could relax and sleep, and now he was waking me up. “I’m NOT depressed. I hurt so much I hardly slept last night. I just now am able to get some rest. Leave me alone and let me sleep!”
It had been months since I had had a decent night’s sleep and years since I had normal energy. Every move I made felt like I was dragging an elephant. My bones felt like they were on fire from the inside out. Every touch felt like it would burn right through me. Every sound aggravated my whole spine. Often I couldn’t walk a block and back home. Other times, I couldn’t climb the stairs in my house without crawling up them on my hands and knees. My brain seemed to be in a thick fog–like Winnie the Pooh sitting on the log telling himself to “Think, think, think” except that my neurotransmitters weren’t connecting. I stopped making plans to do anything or go anywhere because I didn’t know if I would be able to do them or not – most likely not. I closed my counseling office and sublet from someone else a few hours a week for the few clients I could still muster the energy to see.
My life was a nightmare. But it didn’t stay one!
Would the things I learned and what I did to transform it possibly be helpful to you with the challenges you face in your life?
Have you ─
- felt overwhelmed with too many demands on your time and energy?
- suffered from compassion fatigue—caring for everyone else before yourself?
- felt frazzled from being tugged in too many directions at once?
- known that your creativity & your relationships are being drained because of your [too high] stress level?
- felt STRESSED TO THE MAX?
I have good news for you!
- I lost my health to two stress-related health conditions – and regained it again.
- In this process, I’ve learned how to build resilience and balance my Creative, HSP, GT, 2E life.
- Putting this into practice has enabled me to get my health and my life back
I know that I’m not alone, especially as a creative, sensitive or gifted person, in experiencing the down side of stress. So I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned that helped me to cope, heal and thrive.
One of the first things that I learned was to activate my imagination on behalf of myself. We often get our imagination fired up for our jobs or our families, but how often do we give it permission to fly free for our SELF? Most of us are taught from a young age not to even think of ourselves, but to think of others instead.
We are, in fact, taught the opposite of what works.
When was the last time you flew in an airplane? If you’re like me, you have heard the flight attendants’ safety spiel so
much that you no longer pay attention to it. Of what important life lesson do they remind us every time? To put on our oxygen mask first, before we help anyone else. Why do they emphasize it? Because if we don’t get our own oxygen mask on and hooked up first, we won’t be of any help to anyone else.
It’s the same in life. When we don’t take care of ourselves first, we hinder our ability to be of service to others. And that is also the root message in the scripture that is misquoted and misused so often. What it says is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”. In other words, how we love and care for ourselves determines our ability to love and care about others. So if we want to care about the people in our lives, we have not only an opportunity, but an obligation to care for ourselves FIRST!
Why did I say imagination? Because the second thing that I learned was that my imagination was one of my most important and useful assets. As is yours. As Albert (Einstein, of course) said, “Imagination is more important than facts.” The fact that I was sick and tired and in pain was not as important as what my imagination did with those facts. I could have given up and given in to those potentially devastating circumstances. Sometimes I did. But I learned to transfer my physical and emotional pain into things I made, with the help of my imagination. And step by step, my imagination guided me back to health and to life. And yours can do the same for you.
And what does a bicycle have to do with any of this? I’m guessing that you know how to ride a bike. Which means that you have learned to get your mind and body working together to create and maintain an ongoing, dynamic balance. Do you remember how it felt to finally ride free? Free of the training wheels. Free of anyone else having to help you keep the bike upright. That mind-body skill that you developed so long ago can help you now to develop a creative, dynamic, flexible ongoing balance in your life.
This skill can help you balance the multiple competing demands of your life. As you consider what is the hub around which everything else revolves, what awareness surfaces? All of those competing demands in your life can be like the spokes which provide both the tension and the support that creates the wheel of a bike. How many gears to you have on your bike – or did you on the one you had when you were younger? How many gears do you have in your life?
To maintain balance on a bicycle, we have to keep moving; to keep balance in our lives, we also have to keep moving – if we are not growing, we are stagnating or even going backwards. You can see that there are so many more aspects of this metaphor that we could expand and explore to help you balance your life.
And because we have just scratched the surface of this topic, I’m giving you a chance to get the audio recording of my live LifeCraft™ PlayShop, “Life’s a Bicycle: How to Balance Your Life Like you Balance a Bike”.
Click Here to get more information about this “Life’s A Bicycle” Audio Seminar and Action Guide. I look forward to sharing more with you to help you Balance YOUR Life, Just like you Balance a Bike!
ScrapLady Sharon Barnes