It’s a Matter of Balance
(written for the Coaching Corner; Glebe Report)
Like a lot of people, I love social media. I tweet, I have an Instagram account and I’m on Facebook. I blog, I just got Netflix and I use Photoshop. I used to spend hours of face time in front of a screen. Way too much time. At the peak of my obsessive screen time, I would resurface feeling fatigued and slightly disoriented. These days, I have learned to pull back and to balance screen time with other activities.
It is a given that social media is a big part of our children’s lives, both at school and at home. And it’s astonishing to imagine how youth are forging new territory with the world at their fingertips.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating a return to a world without social media. I’m advocating tapping into a way of living that balances the online experience with the natural world.
Batia and I are certified Master coaches with Integral Coaching Canada. We work with all kinds of people on all kinds of topics – the sky’s the limit, as long as there is a desire for our services by people who wants to make sustainable and long-term changes to their lives. Often, we work with individuals who are at a cross roads in their lives – at work, school or home – and seeking to find more balance.
Last year, I had the pleasure of working with a woman who was struggling with balance. Every two weeks for three months, we would meet at 5 pm. I would arrive first and wait in her office. Suddenly, she would burst through the door clutching her Blackberry, muttering, “sorry, sorry, sorry” under her breath, sometimes an employee in tow clutching folders. The phone would ring and her Blackberry would ping urgently. She looked frazzled.
I quickly assessed that I would have to use baby steps to introduce my coaching client to new ways of doing things. Together, we looked at her work agenda. There was not one blank space anywhere. The calendar was chock- a- block with meetings. She had not even allotted a break for lunch.
When I proposed that we build a daily walk into her calendar, she looked panic-stricken. The idea of taking a break for herself was overwhelming. So, I introduced the notion of a daily five-minute walk without her Blackberry. At the beginning, five minutes seemed impossible. We decided to schedule the walk into her agenda as she would a meeting. Slowly, with each coaching conversation, she began to find herself enjoying her “me time”. Her five minute walk became a ten minute walk, then a 12 minute walk. You get the picture.
Now that Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are over, many of us are looking at 2017 as a return to good habits. But rather than creating one of those long scrolling New Year’s Resolution lists pinned to the refrigerator door, here are a few small and gentle things you can do to help create more balance in your life:
- Schedule a daily short stroll in your neighborhood or in nature. Walk slowly and deliberately. Look around as if you are seeing your environment for the first time.
- Challenge your family to a mobile- free zone for 30 minutes so that you can hang out together or sit down for a leisurely meal.
- Drop into your favourite Glebe coffee shop. Order a beverage and read a newspaper, not the online version but a paper copy. Turn the pages slowly. Look around you. Daydream.
- By bringing your awareness to the present, you can begin to build the “muscles” you need to find more balance in your life. And by grounding yourself in balance, you can enter the New Year feeling at ease and rejuvenated.
The Patience of Ordinary Things
It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes Or toes.
How soles of feet know Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience Of ordinary things,
how clothes Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?
Batia Winer is a meditation teacher and a certified Integral Master Coach™. 613-327-7522; firstname.lastname@example.org