CREATIVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE
by Pamela Thompson,
President & CEO, Creative Life Coaching Inc.
Work/Life Balance is an elusive and personal concept. Elusive, because so many people talk about and strive for it, yet few are able to attain and/or maintain it. Personal, because what work/life balance looks and feels like for you is different from what work/life balance looks and feels like for me.
I would like to share with you three keys to Creative Living (1) and a tool associated with each key.
Key #1 – Listen to and Trust in Your Body’s Wisdom – How many of you have made decisions based on doing the ‘pros and cons’ list (using only the left brain) and found that they haven’t always been the right decisions for you? How many of you have found that all decisions based on going into your body and listening to your heart and/or gut have always been the right ones? That certainly has been my experience. All the decisions I have made by “going inside” and listening for the answer have always been the right decisions for me; whereas those made solely from making the ‘pros and cons’ list and only using left brain logic have not always been the right ones. Our bodies always have the answers and know what’s right for us. Unfortunately in our sped up culture that places a lot of value on the brain and information, many of us have “lost touch” with our intuition and have forgotten how to consult with and listen to our body’s wisdom.
Tool: Mindfulness (2) Meditation. – A tool from Easter psychology that I have found extremely useful for getting “out of my head” and into my body is Mindfulness walking meditation. Mindfulness practices focus on the senses and feeling sensations and emotions in our bodies. When we do a mindfulness* walking meditation we feel the ground beneath our feet, we feel the breeze against our face, we feel the cool air going from our nostrils down into our lungs. We smell the scent of salt or the aroma of lavender in the air and observe the scenery in front of us. We try to stay out of our minds and experience our senses. Rather than spend a walk in nature constantly thinking and processing all the things we have to do, instead we stay present and experience nature and all of its beautiful sights, smells, sounds and sensations.
Key #2 – Tap into and express your creative side – Many of us when we were children had an artistic or creative pursuit we enjoyed. It could have been drawing, painting, dancing, writing … . A number of us when we were about 10 years old were told by someone close to us that “we would never make any money” doing that artistic pursuit and shortly thereafter stopped doing it. Doing an artistic or creative pursuit enables us to connect with our inner child, express deep-seated emotions, focus and get into the flow, forgetting about anything else except the creative activity we’re involved in.
Tool: Reconnect with an artistic or creative pursuit you did as a child and notice how you feel when you do it. There may also be something creative you’ve always wanted to do such as play the piano, do salsa dancing, paint. I encourage you to take up a new creative pursuit and truly experience it.
Key #3 – Consciously create right and left brain/body balance -
The Eastern cultures of China and India for more than 2,000 years have recognized the importance of balance in our lives. The hot and cold theories of health and illness exist in these cultures (e.g. we eat certain ‘hot’ foods when our bodies have a ‘cold’ condition to bring them back into balance). Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the belief that all dis-ease is caused by energy blockages in our bodies. Having therapeutic massage or acupuncture or doing regular qui gong or tai chi helps keep the energy moving and our bodies healthy.
Daniel Pink in “A Whole Brain Mind” provides evidence that to be healthy, happy and successful in today’s world we need to use both sides of our brains. Many of us have focused on our left brains (logical, rational, structured) without consciously using our right brains (our creative, unstructured, emotional sides). By creating balance in our bodies and our minds there is much evidence to show that we become healthier in mind, body and spirit.
Tool: Grounding – A technique I have found extremely useful in helping me stay balanced is grounding. I do this exercise at the start of every day and before I head into an important meeting or go “on stage” for a speaking event. I go somewhere quiet (depending on the venue it may be a washroom stall), then I close my eyes and take several deep breaths to get into my body. I imagine I have roots growing out of the bottom of my feet going deep down into the earth. Then I imagine drawing the earth’s energy coming up through my feet, legs and into my heart. I then imagine I have branches reaching up to the sky to access the universal or source energy (or whatever you wish to call it) and feel that energy coming down through my head and neck and into my heart. I imagine that I am grounded to the earth and to the sky or the heavens. This enables me to be much more powerful in the work I do and to be less reactive and more responsive in my interactions with others at work or at home.
In summary: I encourage you to create your own personal vision of what creative work/life balance looks like for you and to also write down how you will feel when you have attained such balance. I invite you to begin to integrate at least one tool from each of the three keys into your life everyday for 21 days to start (as it takes about three weeks to form a habit). Notice how you feel when you do this. Enlist a friend, family member or a coach to support you to integrate these new behaviours. It is important when making any life changes to have the knowledge of why they’re important, the skills or tools to integrate them and the support to do them. ENJOY!
 From my book currently being written entitled: Creative Living: Learning to Dance with Life
 Several useful books on mindfulness are: The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield and True Refuge by Tara Brach. Check out www.nicabm.com for teleseminars on mindfulness.
Copyright 2013 – Creative Life Coaching Inc. – www.creativelivingcommunity.com