Has anyone else had a hard time getting going with this whole 2013 thing? The beginning of this year has proved challenging for me, not so much because there have been profound shifts but rather because there haven't been. I've been just itching for change-to travel, to spend more time pursuing my passions, to create, to feel a sense of progression. Instead, I've felt very much like I've been treading water and that has made me feel at times resentful, regretful, doubtful, and tired. I guess you could say I've been feeling like my goat has been, well....gotten.
For some reason, I was able to shift out of that frame of mind this weekend. Did I travel? Not really, no farther than Topanga Canyon. Did I get to do or create something I enjoy? Certainly, I got to my mat for a yoga practice, hiked, connected with friends, spent time with animals. Did I make "progress"? Not in any discernible way really. So why do I feel so different, so very light and open today? Could it be because I re-connected to nature? to my community? to my social circle of friends? My yoga practice? Spent quality time in conversation with my husband? AB-SO-FREAKING-LUTELY!
Years ago while going through yoga teacher training, I was introduced to a particular conceptual model, and I believe that this model and its power to reveal both the strengths and weaknesses or imbalances in your life and relationships is truly transformational. Frankly, I can't believe I didn't think to utilize it sooner and thankfully, the universe nudged me towards it before I even realized I needed it.
Have you ever sat at an uneven table? Perhaps in a restaurant or cafe? Imagine that the table had 7 different legs, each one important for the balance and structural stability of the table. So this 7 legged table in your mind, is actually just an analogy for this conceptual model. You are the table and the legs are different relationships that support you and help you grow. Press too much weight into one leg and you could break it. Spread the weight out equally between all legs and you are firmly supported. The areas or relationships defined are:
Spouse/partner (provides consistent and regular contact and intimacy, affection, and attention)
Nature (this category includes food, the physical body, nature, animals)
Personal Rituals (anything that you do on a regular basis that promotes your well being, from yoga practice to mani/pedis)
Family (people we did not directly choose but must learn to relate to)
Teacher/Mentor (provides an objective source of information and an outside eye)
Community (connecting with like-minded people - could be the farmers market, a spiritual group or a book club)
Friends (provide fun, advice and attention)
Think about these areas of your life - where do you really excel? What or who do you depend on? What have you been ignoring or too busy for? If you had to give yourself a score out of 10 for each category - where would you notice those lower numbers?
Sometimes all it takes is a reminder, going for a hike and feeling that sense of connection and accomplishment, to get us back on track towards balancing our lives. I may not have all the answers and let's face it, our needs and circumstances are constantly in flux, but I'm so grateful to be reminded of this powerful tool for assessing what relationships need my attention.
So, after spending some time under a bit of a dark rain cloud (Hey, I am a Vancouver aka Raincouver native originally! It happens!) I feel like I'm emerging back into the sunshine. So here's to evenly balanced tables, being in relationship, feeling connected and remembering that we cannot expect one person, or one relationship or one aspect of our lives to support the totality and happiness of our rich, complex and varied individual life. And also to the goats!