Reality check: I don’t have it all together all the time, and I admit there have been times when I’ve been out of balance. I recognize the signs now: irritability, depression or withdrawal. We have a built-in balance detector if we’re paying attention because our mental state and physical symptoms let us know we are out of balance. Too much of one thing means too little of something else. For example, too much work means too little time for family or for self-care. Have you ever heard someone later in life say, “Man, I wish I’d spent more time at the office?”
A favorite concept and activity of mine is Grace Cirocco’s Destiny Mandala, which she describes in her book, Take the Step: The Bridge Will Be There. She says “The Destiny Mandala is meant to be a visual guide, a map reminding you of who you are and what’s important to you as well as an opportunity for self-discovery and personal reflection.” And I would add, an excellent way to work toward and achieve life balance.
She uses the four directions of the compass as a framework, stating your Spirit is like the North Star. When you feel overwhelmed (or out of balance), you need to connect to your Source. She suggests these questions can help remind us of what is sacred: Who am I? What is sacred to me? What did I come here to do? How does God / the Universe speak to me? How can I make the world a better place with my spiritual gifts? What spiritual “undones” do I have? What symbol expresses my true spiritual Self?
The South point of the compass represents intellectual faculties, wisdom and the vast power of the mind. These questions help explore that territory: What did I come here to learn? What did I come here to unlearn? What or who did I come here to teach? What are my intellectual gifts? How can I make the world a better place with my intellectual gifts? What intellectual “undones” do I have? What symbol expresses my intellectual gifts?
The East represents the realm of emotions as East is where the sun rises and where possibilities are born. These questions help us feel the emotions so we can move mountains: Who did I come here to love? Who did I come here to forgive? What brings my heart joy? What did I come here to heal? How can I make the world a better place with my emotional gifts? What emotional “undones” do I have? What symbol best represents my emotional gifts?
The West, the final frontier, represents your physical body. You need endurance to go West and courage to push your body’s physical threshold. These questions help navigate that journey: What part of my body needs healing? What part of my body needs acceptance / nurturing / care? How can I be kinder to my body? How does my body want to express itself? How can I make the world a better place with my physical gifts? What physical “undones” do I have? What symbol represents my body and my physical gifts?
Seeking balance is a life-long pursuit. Some days I can find it and some days I can’t. When I’m intentional enough to sit still and reflect on the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical directions of my life, I’m on my way. I plan to consider just one direction of the compass each month going forward, reflect on the questions, and be a little closer to finding the balance I seek. I hope you might as well.
SUE'S GIFT BLOG
Sherry Martin is the Patient Services Director for Sue's Gift, a licensed clinical social worker with over thirty years of experience in the field of oncology social work, and author of the book, Beginning Again: Tools for the Journey through Grief: A Step-by-Step Guide for Facilitators of a Grief Support Group. Sherry lives with her husband in Woodland Park, Colorado.
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