The LOTUS tribe continues to stretch the web of like minded souls with our newest member, Elizabeth! Each of us our faced with new challenges and perspective through this historic time of change. Go inward and gain a fresh landscape during your time of growth.
Pictured above: Elizabeth Gsell - Social Worker, Certified Medical Reiki Master and Soul Care Practitioner who lives in Missoula, Montana with her two spirited boys and Redbone Coonhound.
The last six months of life on this planet have looked different to most people, including myself. For the sake of simplicity, I will just say that I’ve found myself in a state of overwhelm. There are too many plates spinning all at once and sometimes I feel like they’re all about to crash down. All of these plates seem necessary to spin, however, I am not sure how to keep trudging and navigating this road I’m on. There are a lot of people that are in similar situations, some much worse. I am truly grateful for my life, my blessings and my experience.
I do the best I can with what I’ve got at the time. Sometimes this gets confusing and
overwhelming. Over this unique time, being a spiritual seeker, I have been in search of a
solution to help me feel as serene and centered as possible. I am blessed to have a lot of tools and resources to draw from.
One area that I really struggle with is balance in my life, especially since everything has been
tossed up in the air and I literally have not been able to go anywhere. This concept of balance has been coming up in every area of my life and has seemed more out of reach than ever. With balance, there is this element of back and forth, like a teeter totter, where one end is clearly taking all the weight. To be balanced is to be centered, in the middle, a feeling of evening out, not too heavy on one end or the other. Maybe instead, balance means sometimes its heavier on one end than the other and vice versa, like each side has an equal weight and time.
There is also this element of dark vs. light. I’ve come to understand that one does not exist
without the other. If we’ve never experienced dark, how can we recognize and see light? If
neither existed, everything would be a boring shade of grey. Because I have experienced the
dark and the light, my sense of self and purpose has grown. There has been a sense of
excitement, joy, and growth within these opposites. I think there can be a healthy balance of
light and dark and I certainly would not want to reside in the grey area. This struggle with balance has led me to ask: Is it possible for me to find balance in the midst of chaos? Is it possible for me to find a new sense of genuine healthy balance when I’m feeling the most unbalanced ever? Is balance something we can find? If found, how do we keep it? Is it a
state of being? Do we know when we are in a state of balance? Is there a way to gracefully
dance in the balance of all the elements of my life?
In a conscious effort to live my life in a more balanced state, I am searching for the answers to these questions. I have also been reminded recently that we often write about what we need to figure out. I’m observing and trying new things out to see what I can lean into gently. Some things are working, while others do not seem to fit. I try to keep the focus on healthy balance to bring in a little lightness. The simple word, balance, can seem quite heavy to me at times. With balance, I also think of contrast. Good days vs. bad days. Both are welcome and needed. Again, the good days are harder to recognize without the bad. Hopefully, we can experience more good days and enjoy them for what they are.
There is also bending vs. rigidity. Like a tree, finding strength in the roots so as it blows in the
breeze, it can do so with a sense of gentle ease and grace, a natural flow. In contrast, I know
rigidity as being breakable and too fixed in my own beliefs to have any natural shift or change.
I used to think of balance as equalizing a bunch of different areas. I do not believe this to be
accurate anymore. I will always choose certain areas of my life over others and that is ok. I must choose what is best for me at the time. Balance comes in when I keep making the best healthy choice I can going forward. Often, I find that when I am focused on doing the next right thing in front of me, that is the best-balanced action to take.
My work and home balance were definitely out of whack. I was experiencing so much stress
trying to sit at a desk, in my home, for long chunks of time to make up an 8-hour workday. All
the while, my two spirited young boys were home with me, needing my attention, as well as
help with remote learning and a million other things. Both of those plates were going to crash
down if I didn’t try something different. I experimented with doing a little bit of this and then a
little bit of that. Then time sort of just melted away. I learned that I am able to concentrate much better for shorter periods of time, like little spurts, than sitting at my desk for hours at a time. Because of this, I’ve become more effective at time management. I do what feels right for me at the time. It’s also given me much more grace and flexibility with motherhood. It’s made it easier for me to say yes to doing something fun with my kids during a time when I would normally be at my desk. I discovered that if I’m concentrating on the things I need to be focusing on, the length of time I pay attention to them doesn’t really seem to matter. I am a responsible adult and I can be trusted to do what I say I’m going to do; it just doesn’t have to look the way I thought it needed to.
To bring balance in, I am also aware that I need to be gentle and lean into self-care. It is critical to stay grounded, practice gratitude and be present in each moment. Coming from a place of compassion, I can experience gentle, loving kindness towards myself. I take actions that help lift my spirit and take care of me, which looks like meditation, smudging, massage, using essential oils, bathing, washing my hair, painting my toenails, doing laundry, cleaning, laughing, reading, spending time alone, spending time with friends, taking a walk, baking, making a good meal and connecting with my higher power.
"I can allow patience for myself and others, which is practice, not perfection. "
I sort out what I am responsible for; what plates I can let go of or not pick up at all. When I struggle with these things it’s because my ego is in the way. This happens when I deny who I am and don’t accept myself as I am. I look for where justification and distortion show up. I stop putting so much pressure on myself and “shoulding” all over me. Having humility is the counterbalance for ego. A lot of laughter and good friends help too. Surrendering to my strengths and weaknesses and learning how I show up in the world are so important. Today I’m working on honoring myself and who I am.
During my balance experiment, I realized that sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to do too many things when my boys are away, staying with their father. I can get exhausted and then the feeling of shut down sets in. Sometimes my bad days look like I’m a hermit sitting in the dark binging Netflix shows and eating too many potato chips. While this does not feel great to me, I recognize that I do need time like this every now and then to recharge my battery.
Especially during the last six months, with the pandemic, my usual outside go-to coping tools
have not been as accessible. I am doing the best I can, and it is working, it’s just different.
When I have time to myself, I try to flip the switch, so I have more good days than bad. It is an opportunity to lean into my deeper spiritual practices and focus a lot on self-care. Even during the pandemic, it has led to me to learn new and interesting things. My good days are filled with laughter, deep breaths, family, friends, snuggles with my kids and dog. There are always challenges and moving forward with a sense of balance has been so helpful.
There are different elements that bring balance to my life. I’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter what things look like from the outside. Balance is a state of being from deep within and that’s what really matters. If I’m focused on serenity and connected to spirit, the solution will present itself. Balance strengthens us over time. I am grateful that I keep growing and look forward to playing around more with balance. Practicing life and leaning into what fits is how we grow.
Surely others have different experiences with these things, I’m just sharing mine, take it or
leave it as you please. Many blessings to you and yours.
Feeling connected to this LOTUS tribe member?
Reach out and find balance together: firstname.lastname@example.org