I saw this article in the NY Times this morning on balance (oh, the things you can learn from children), and it inspired me to write this post...
Thanks to technology, I have a lot of tools at my disposal. All of these tools are, ostensibly, supposed to make my life easier. I've found that, just like with the Ayurveda Doshas, when things get out of balance, these tools go from helpful to harmful. Yes, I love my new iPad, but if I spend too much time using it for email and Web browsing, I find myself feeling depleted and without enough time in the day to accomplish what I want.
If I find myself at the end of the day thinking, "Whoa, where has this day gone?" then I know that I've let myself get distracted by unimportant things (like email, Facebook, RSS reading, etc.). The advent of the iPad in my life encouraged me to crack down on these distractions. I knew that if I didn't get tough with my technology time-wasting, I would use my newly-acquired iPad powers for evil as opposed to good.
These days my email inbox doesn't get nearly as much attention as it used to. I've let go of the need to respond to everyone who makes blog inquiries, choosing only to respond to pertinent requests. I've unsubscribed from newsletters that I'm not 100% thrilled by reading. I've limited Facebook and Twitter time, releasing the thought that not offering an immediate response is a bad thing. Some days I even steer clear of the computer altogether, realizing that the world won't stop turning if I let email languish in my inbox.
I suppose it's all about finding balance. For me, balance is feeling like I'm flowing through my day rather than my day is running me. The difference between the two is huge -- when I'm flowing I feel at ease and am actually quite productive, whereas, when I'm letting my day run me I always have that feeling of being behind and of not having enough time to get it all done. Ironically, I've found that a more leisurely pace and putting play first results in a flow state for me.
Starting my day with an intention (knowing how I want to be during the day and knowing what's important to me on that day) and my practice makes it easier to get into my flow state. Even if you're short on time, setting an intention and doing a brief daily practice doesn't take all that long. It's one of those small things that can make a big difference in your day. Need a little inspiration? Check out these resources:
- Intent.com is an online community where people can share their daily intentions. A quick daily check-in on this site allows you to state your intention (which is great for accountability), learn from others, and seek support if you need it. To date, the site has generated over 100,000 intentions. I like to drop in for a little inspiration now and again.
- A 20-Minute Home Yoga Practice -- the folks over at Kinetic Vigilantes (I just love that name!) offer a get up and go yoga practice on video that will get your blood pumping and your body loose and limber. The video is only a little over 6 minutes, but the sequence can be repeated a few times to provide a quick and effective yoga practice. If you're short on time, you don't have to deprive yourself of a yoga practice.
How do you find your balance? How do you know when you're out of balance (what do your days look/feel like, what do you feel like during these days?)?