Deepening Change, Chapter Eight, Holistic Change & Balance
by Melissa Martin 11/28/2011 / Christian Living
Please ponder on these questions?
Do you feel like your life is balancing on a broken teeter-totter?
Do you feel similar to a hamster running on a wire treadmill?
Are you walking a tightrope without a net?
Do the days blend together and turn into hazy weeks?
Is your life out of balance and out of control?
Are you cramming too much stuff into one day?
Do you need a class in Change Management 101?
Are relationships suffering due to busy schedules?
Is stress a constant companion?
Are you frizzled and fried?
Do you have acid indigestion?
Is anxiety an uninvited houseguest?
Are you in financial debt from chasing the "good" life?
Are bill collectors calling you?
Is self-image tied to your checkbook and savings account?
Do you desire more and more and bigger and better and newer?
This article is not a commercial for a quick-fix-easy-answer product. Perhaps it's time to slow down and make some vital changes in your hectic and hurried lifestyle. We only get twenty-four hours a day and sleep is a necessity and health is a priority. Cultivating physical, mental, and spiritual wellness is a no-brainer, yet we sacrifice daily exercise, nutrition, relaxation, recreation, meditation, relationships, and other important elements on the balance wheel of life. For an intelligent species sometimes we are sooo clueless.
When you make physical changes, do you neglect spiritual changes?
When you make spiritual changes, do you neglect mental changes?
When you make mind and body changes, do you neglect relationship changes?
Make a plan to find and keep holistic balance in all areas of your life. Dip deeper into deepening change.
Let's talk about coins. Money is a paradoxical beast. Whether lack of money or an abundance of it, we worry. Money is tied to security and fear; pleasure and pain; guilt and anger; greed and poverty. Perhaps you need to visit a financial consultant and change your spending habit. Maybe you need to visit a therapist and explore deeper issues? Or meet with a priest, pastor, rabbi, or spiritual leader. Do you need to read and practice what the Bible says about money? Is it your money or is it God's money? Study your checkbook. How many checks are written to help others? How many checks are written to expand the Gospel? How many checks are written for pleasure and material possessions? Money is not the root of all evil but the love of money is the root of all evil. Is your spending out of balance? Out of control? Investigate your money motives. Why do I spend what I spend? Why do I buy what I buy? Do you need to change your spending and saving habits?
Do you want to learn to be a solution-finder? A change agent? A seeker of deeper meaning and change? It takes courage.
Mirror of Truth and Deeper Change
I gaze into the change mirror and look beyond my physical reflection. I stare into my soul, my psyche, my heart. Defining moments stare back at me. I turn the pages of my memory scrapbook. A timeline of memories flood my consciousness; pieces of every person I have met in my search for answers, significance, and wholeness. The pages are etched with lessons of life with many repeated because I did not learn the first time. I did not learn the lesson of change. Albeit, many lessons were repeated the second and third time; learning, unlearning, and relearning. If only I could begin life over with my forty-six years of collective experiences, wisdom, and knowledge. But not for the purpose of acquiring more money and possessions, more power and privilege, more education and degrees. I would spend the time learning how to be in relationships. Words would be said and words would be unsaid. How do I change to find my balance? How do I manage change?
Have I changed my way of thinking? Have I changed some attitudes? I have learned so many lessons in my journey to understand myself and otherness. How I react to others is more about me and less about them. I have choices and sometimes it's a choice of attitude. I can agree to disagree about your opinions with politeness and respectfulness. People of other cultures are more alike than different. Elderly folks are full of fascinating stories. Blessed are those who are flexible for they shall not break. A gentle response deescalates anger. Wisdom is found in proverbs, quotes, and sayings. Balance in all things is healthy. Words can be gracious gifts or poisonous arrows. Humor is a lifesaver. Nature is a playground of serenity. Family is shelter from life's storms. Being able to process the day's events with your trusted spouse is a form of therapy. God's meaning of success is different from the worlds' definition. Sound physical and mental health is more precious then gold and silver. Comparing your traits to others causes superiority or inferiority and neither is sensible. I'm glad life is full of second chances and changes. I'm still learning how to balance life's activities. How do you balance change? Is your life balanced?
A balanced life must endorse humor, laughter, and joy. I've learned about the spirit of laughter from the writings of Erma Bombeck. Meaning-making is found in my ability to laugh at my imperfections. I cherish my sense of humor. Laughing purges distress and heals the body; just ask Norman Cousins. And sometimes we need to chill, lighten up, and get over ourselves. Wisdom knows when to laugh and when to cry or when to do both.
We continuously experience transitions from one stage to the next and usually pay attention to major happenings. Are you aware that many days go by unnoticed? Growing events can be linear, circular, spiral, and a combination. Deeper change is found in enjoying uneventful moments as well as weddings, graduations, vacations, birthdays, annual parties, job promotions, holiday celebrations. Do you desire deeper change?
I invite you to put this guidebook down and set in total silence for ten minutes without doing anything and without distractions. What happened? Did you become fidgety or bored? Did you watch the clock? Did you feel uncomfortable? What did you glean about yourself? Now, I invite you to try the same activity for fifteen minutes but this time I want you to tune into your lungs and body as you breathe. I suggest you do this breathing activity daily for thirty days. Spending intentional minutes with "you" promotes introspection. Steadily increase the minutes over the next three months. Describe what changed?
Analyzing and dissecting every moment, movement, and motive is not the vehicle for deeper change. Too much sunshine produces a desert. Apply balance to your inner and outer journey of seeking meaning, truth, and altruism. Although time spent alone is beneficial for mind, body, and spirit isolating from your family, friends, and coworkers in order to find deeper meaning does not make logical sense. Balance your sabbaticals. Neglecting your children for the sake of enlightenment is irresponsible. Damaging relationships while searching for spiritual renewal is imprudent. I am speaking to myself and to you. Keep your feet on the ground as you reach for deepening change.
Look into your INNER Change Mirror.
Look beyond your face, hair, skin, and body.
Look into your heart, mind, and soul.
WHAT DO YOU SEE?
What are your internal strengths?
How can you change or enhance your inner strengths?
What do you want to change about YOU?
How do you balance change?
Reflect and write about the lessons you've learned in your journey. What lessons keep reappearing? Are you in need of a second chance? God is a giver of second changes, third changes, and ...
List your strengths, talents, abilities, and resiliency factors.
Draw a large circle and write in the important areas of your life. Write how much time you spend daily in each area. Is your time balanced? Do you spend time with the things you say you value? Do you spend more time with technology, TV, Internet, computer, cell phone, and video games than face to face with people? Do you talk to people or at people? What needs to change? Reflect on the challenges.
Find courage and gaze into your mirror of truth. What is changeable and what is not?
Do you consider the needs and wants of others during times of transition and change? Explain.
Jot down your epiphanies and share with others. Talk about changes and choices.
Take one day and live moment-by-moment without thinking about the past or the future. Continue to bring your thoughts back to the present moment. What did you learn? What needs to change?
Do you hurry and scurry your time away? What needs to change?
With flour mark a small square (4x4) in the grass and count the blades. What did you learn? There is no right or wrong answer to the outcome of this activity.
Ponder on the results of too much water or too little water. How does nature find balance?
Revisit chapters one through eight of the workbook, Deepening Change. What else did you learn about change?
Share the workbook, Deepening Change with a family member or friend. Talk about deeper change.
Start a 'deeper change' discussion group at your church or place of gathering.
Copyright. Please use proper credits.
Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.