It was about a month ago that I set myself on a wild ungoverned schedule, full of whatever my body said it needed. You can discover why I decided to throw out the generic approach to balance, here. My personal protest to peace was born out of a need to calm my crazy, perfectionist self from selling my soul to schedules, routines and perceived necessities. I needed to revive myself after drowning in a sea of unmet goals.
It was totally insane.
But before I reached my own sense of equilibrium, I sent myself into a tail spin of uncertainty and doubt. The first three or four days working without my usual set of life rules had me quickly realizing a few key things:
Much of what I thought was keeping me balanced, was just a coping mechanism.
Because, you know, if you have a long task list of busy work ahead of you each day, then you’re, well…way too important to deal with your heart.
My energy and creativity levels follow a seasonal pattern, not a daily one.
I used to think that I had to respect my daily rhythm – like being more focused in the early morning hours. This is still true, in part, but I discovered that I flow with the seasons. I’m introverted and super productive in the winter months. I write like a boss and formulate business plans, set up my schedule for the year, study by correspondence and journal. I am insanely productive. But not social. Not at all social. I can go days without seeing a friend.
I barely spend a minute inside. Making myself focus in front of the computer for longer than absolutely necessary is torture. I connect, talk about ideas, play, garden and run around Wanderlust Festivals (truth). It’s so amazing. The only problem was my own brain scolding my soul for being footloose and fancy free. And that’s not a good enough reason to stay inside.
I am so much more productive if I follow my own rhythm.
I still make a list, but only to get things out of my brain and onto paper. I feel clear this way. Each day, I get to work on the things that are top-of-mind and fire inducing. If it seems chaotic, trust me, I know.
How could this possibly work?
It just does and I trust in the process. I like that I don’t interrupt myself after 3 hours in the garden because I ‘should’ answer emails. After 3 days in the dirt, I naturally want to connect and spend a morning at my local coffee shop catching up on correspondence. I work on the task in front me until it’s complete. It works the same way with deadlines and whatever work you do. You know what needs to get done, so if you just allow yourself to do it, minus the story, you’ll be better off.
I like to have days where I eat only dark chocolate and bananas, followed by a few days of veggies and smoothies, followed by a day of steak. Sue me.
Maybe not exactly like this, but almost exactly. I’m a foodie and a healthy foodie. I would eat because it was ‘time’ to, being driven by schedule, not hunger. I stopped thinking about whether I got in my greens each day and trusted that over the days and weeks that I’d give my body what it needed. I have hungry days and not so hungry days. I listen to that.
Exercise? I did so much more of what I LOVE! Plus tried new things too.
Since I gave up on balance, I’ve taken more yoga classes than ever. I also tried Aerial Hoop, took Acrobatics, joined the big dogs in an Advanced Handstand class and danced my way through African Rhythms. Because it was fun. My motivation was fun, nothing else.
Balance is not a predefined box in which you can neatly fit yourself. Not even close. It’s fluid, it’s versatile and it’s seductive. It is moody and changes it’s mind. Often. She’s temperamental, but if you trust her in all her perfect imperfections, she will do you no harm. Trust in your relationship with yourself and you will not only discover what you’re made of, but feel like a rock star in the process.
Often referred to as a little firecracker, Mara Panacci is an international yoga teacher and holistic nutrition expert. She is the founder of Yoga Renegade, your rebellious playground, and co-muse at Accidental Renegade, helping yogis navigate the branding and marketing underworld. Nomadic adventurer and wellness devotee, Mara leads programs and workshops all over the world.