I must be fast becoming a guru!
You know…like Tony Robbins or Lisa Nichols or Wayne Dyer, dead though he is.
Every time I turn up somewhere, for whatever reason, somebody is waiting to engage me in a “life balancing” conversation.
They go something like this:
“Oh Lorna! I’m glad to see you (air kiss left, air kiss right) I’ve been meaning to ask you: What is your #1 tip for work/life balance?”
“Miss Barrow, before you go…you never seem to worry about anything…can you give me some advice on how to get my life in balance?”
“Lorna Barrow…you promised to tell me some of the things you do every day that brings balance and meaning to your life. Please tell me some so I can try them now…please…”
Guess what? I will tell you what I do every day because this is something I’ve been meaning to write about.
I’ve hesitated up until now because when I read the list of many of the gurus, they seem so…aahmm…profound. Or maybe “contrived” is the word I’m looking for.
So here they are, the 10 life balancing things I do every day. Except for the first three, they are in no particular order.
They may appear very simple or even pedestrian but they keep me mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. And they bring harmony to my life.
And I bet you will find at least one that you can use to change your life.
1. Make my bed
Every morning, as soon as I’m sure that I’m finished sleeping. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the bed in a hotel room.
I’m not sure why, but I think it’s my psychological need for completion or my celebration of a good night’s sleep.
But no…because if I lay on by bed during the day, I make it when I get up too.
Making my bed is also part of the preparation for my daily prayer/meditation ritual so that makes it spiritual as well.
Whatever the reason, when I make my bed, I feel as though I have a clear mind and the making of a peaceful foundation from which to face my day.
My “make-your-bed” life-balancing tip: Make your bed every morning as soon as you wake up. It creates the mental mindset you need to counter any chaos and confusion you encounter during the day.
Right after I make my bed and go the bathroom, I mediate or pray.
Since I wake up about 5:00 a.m. daily, this takes place in the early hours of the morning, just before sunrise. It is the most beautiful experience and the absolute chance to truly spend undisturbed time with myself.
Mostly I meditate but occasionally I invite the universe in, in the form of prayer.
Since I started this full time, I am even more calm and peaceful. My productivity and focus are through the roof and I truly feel like I’m operating from 30,000 feet above sea level.
My meditate/pray life-balancing tip: Meditate or pray every day. This does not have to be a grand production number with scented candles and chanting that starts the neighbourhood dogs barking in unison.
But the following is important:
1. Create a single place/space where you do this each and every time. This is important.
2. If you’re now starting out with meditation, don’t try for a timespan of like 30 minutes. You will frustrate yourself. Start with as little as one minute.
3. When your mind strays, gently and lovingly bring it back to what you’re meditating on.
4. Repeat the same process every day. Consistency is key to your mediating success. Dandapani has been doing the same mediation for over 30 years.
5. Practice being focused and completely involved with everything you do throughout the day. This will aid your meditation and vice versa.
I write every day. I mean the “real real” way to write, with pen and paper.
Right after my mediation/prayer session, I write in my gratitude journal. I begin by writing 10 things I am grateful for. They range from any to everything but I give thanks for life every day.
Then I write down the goals I want to achieve. At the moment they are 7, and while my gratitude items change, these do not until they are achieved or rewired.
Then I write some specific insight or understanding that I got about some aspect of life that I may have been reflecting on.
Coming after my meditation session, I’m in the right frame of mind to make this a powerful exercise.
Then I write for my business blog, for my training blog (I use the computers for these). I write summaries from the books I’m reading, from the podcasts I listen to, from the important conversations I have.
I just write everyday.
My writing life-balancing tip: If you’re not already doing it, write every day. Just the simple act of writing down your thoughts brings clarity to your thinking and your life.
The only thing that can challenge my love of laughing is my love of reading.
Reading has been, and continues to be, a source of unlimited knowledge, supreme comfort and incredible escape for me.
As a matter of fact, I have a shameful ability to read a book with a very weak plot, just because it is so well written.
One Christmas I found myself at home alone. I spent the entire weekend reading books, eating hamcutters and drinking sorrel. It was the best Christmas I’ve had in a very long time!
Is there a structure to my reading? Of course.
Naturally, I read work-related stuff and I read to have a better understanding of the world I live in. I read my favourite authors and every year I decide on some area I want to focus on.
These areas could include black authors, female authors, new authors, books on something new I want to learn…
I read heavy stuff when I am most alert and the lighter stuff when I want to relax.
I just love reading and I read everything from labels on bottle to several versions of the bible. So, you’ll understand why I’m amused when I see all these lists of recommended reading that do not include at least a good detective novel, one of the classics or some other non-fiction book.
But everyone to his or her own reading…
My reading life-balancing tip: Make reading a part of your daily regime. Encourage yourself to read outside your comfort zone. If you only read whatsapp message at the moment, try a magazine or try this 15-minute a day reading guide.
5. Take no shit from anybody or anything
Shit creeps up on you and when it does, it has the potential to turn your life completely upside down.
It does not come bearing a placard announcing its arrival. And the people and circumstances bringing it do not wear uniforms either.
Whatever it looks like, whoever brings it, whichever day it comes on, I am a real pro at spotting it and I’m having none of it.
This does not mean I’m aggressive in addressing this. On the contrary, I”m very calm. I stand on my values and in my truth and either call it out or refuse to even allow it into my space.
You see, my well-being and happiness depends on it.
My “take-no-shit life-balancing tip: Do not take any shit from anyone, especially from those closest to you. On the other, try very hard to not give any yourself.
I laugh everyday. with, at and by myself!
Not only the “LOL” type of laugh, although I do lots of that all day long.
But I also laugh at the curve balls life throws my way.
I laugh at the unknowing people who really believe they can knock me off my centre or draw me into their never-ending well of drama.
And I laugh at myself really hard every time I get slapped with a dose of “bright-girl whiplash!” That’s a term I came up with to describe the exact moment when that “something” happens that I didn’t see coming!
My laughing life-balancing tip: Laugh! Laugh every day and laugh the hardest at yourself. Life ain’t so serious after all…
Physical exercise has been a part of my life for as far as I can remember.
I can recall choosing to high jump and long jump over revising for my exams. I played netball for my school and hockey for my club and my country.
I engage in some form of physical exercise everyday.
I go to the gym three times a week. I walk around the Golf Course near my home nearly every morning with my neighbour. I go to the beach and stretch when I can and on Sundays I take a leisurely walk with friends.
But the high point of my week is hiking every Wednesday. The weather is almost always good and if it isn’t it doesn’t matter – Barbados is sooo beautiful.
Don’t listen to my sister when she tells you that I’m addicted to exercise!
But you will understand that physical exercise is critical to my physical, mental and emotional well-being.
I just can’t imagine a life without it…
My life-balancing exercise tip: If you’re not already exercising, get moving! Start walking around your yard, then add your avenue and then the neighbourhood. Do one lap, then another one and another one. Don’t wait until you can buy fancy gear…get moving now!
8. Talk to love ones
There is nothing mysterious or magical about this. It’s just important to me.
But when I didn’t make the conscious effort to talk to them, I noticed that too much time seems to elapse without my being in contact with them.
Every morning, right after writing in my journal and just before my shower, I have a quick conversation with each of the five people who are important to me.
Since they do not live with me, I do this by phone. Then I am ready for the rest of the world.
My communication life-balancing tip: Talk to loved ones often. If ever you can’t…there will be fewer regrets.
9. Employ lipstick and powder
I can hear you saying: HUH?
I need to explain this because it’s a metaphor as much as it’s an actual thing to do.
Once when I was feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope and longing to go and hide under the bed, a girlfriend said to me:
“Girl…once you have lipstick and powder, nuhbody ain’t have to know yuh business!”
Translated she meant: when life gets rough, don’t run and hide! Powder your face, put on some lipstick, bring out your best attitude and go out there and take on the world!
Eversince then, it has become my metaphor which I mentally apply every time I face or anticipate a difficult situation.
And there are times when I actually have to apply the lipstick and powder, as well as expensive high heel shoes and kick some ass!
My lipstick and powder life-balancing tip: Find you own version of “lipstick and powder” and apply it whenever you face a difficulty, or you need to feel grounded. Or, you can borrow my lipstick and powder…
10. Celebrate my birthday
I really do celebrate my birthday everyday.
You see, sometime ago, a male friend of mine explained to me, that the reason some people look old, was because they waited a whole year – all of 365 days – to celebrate their birthdays.
I don’t know about you, but this made perfect sense to me. So, I stated celebrating my birthday every day. Can you think of an easier way to remain forever young?
Seriously, it has actually become the means by which I give thanks every day to be alive!
I may eat a bar of chocolate, drink a glass of wine or put on my high heel shoes and dance to Tina Turner’s “When the heartache is over.”
However I do it, I don’t miss a day in celebrating my birthday…
My life-balancing birthday celebration tip: Follow my example, celebrate your birthday everyday! How you do it…that’s entirely up to you!
Yeah…I question. Everybody and everything. and everyday too!
It’s not like I’m stupid (although my brother might not agree, Wuhloss!).
But I have a healthy and natural curiosity about the world around me.
So, I question why things are the way they are and if that’s the only way they can be.
I challenge established norms and I want to know more about the latest research on several topics I am interested in.
I question those who were born before me and I question those who came long after me. The excitement and the knowledge are not always in their answers but in the diversity of those responses.
And of course, I question myself.
I need to know why I’m thinking what I’m thinking. Why I respond how I respond, why I’m feeling what I’m feeling and of course the big reminder question: Who am I?
It is the most life-balancing thing I do everyday.
My life-balancing questioning tip: Question…just question…
How will you balance your life?
So there you have them!
You asked and I delivered – 11 life-balancing things I do everyday that you need to try right now!
Next, I want you to reflect on the 3 things you do everyday that brings balance to your life and share them in the comments section.
Now, if you had to choose just one of mine…which would it be?