Life Balance
Newsletter #1
From Diana's Desk

Consulting
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About Diana

Look at your Life


          I am so pleased to launch my newsletter with this introductory issue. It is free to all to read and circulate and will be published on a regular basis.  I chose Leading Your Life as the name for my practice and web site because it is broad enough to cover the various aspects of my work, work intended to help people become the best leaders of their lives. At the heart of it, we are the leaders of our own lives.  My mission is to:

Help people discover or uncover their own values and aspirations

Inspire them to change and grow in accordance with those values

Motivate and support them in their actions to reach their goals

            In my practice, I use my model The Wheel of Life. It is an opportunity to assess the quality of balance present in your life at any point in time.  The eight spokes of the wheel represent eight components of life that contribute to a well-balanced life. This doesn’t mean that we can rigidly attend to each and every component at all times in the same proportion and with the same energy. Balance is a dynamic process, not static. There is natural ebb and flow and a certain amount of chaos in living. But over time, our actions form a pattern.  The Wheel serves as a kind of self-reflective compass to check in to see how you are doing and to orient you to the whole of life again and again.  I like to think of it as moving lightly and confidently through the various components of your life, attending to the various aspects and activities in a manner that is in accordance with your beliefs, values and goals.

For instance, when I set out to backpack in the woods for a few days, I have a destination set and the goal is to reach that destination. I use strategies to ensure I will reach my goal, maps, food supplies and a compass. I check the map and compass as needed, make adjustments, putting on and taking off layers of clothing, resting and snacking etc. Many components go into the overall plan and process. For example, when hiking in the woods, crossing streams is frequently part of the trail. The preferable way to cross a stream strewn with rocks is to pause at the edge just long enough to determine the best route across and then to step confidently, lightly and rather swiftly from rock to rock without hesitation in a balanced and goal directed way. Hesitation or stopping too long on one rock can throw you off balance and even paralyze you, leaving you literally frozen on the spot. As in life, a sense of detachment and trust in the process is needed to get across and continue the journey. The Wheel of Life is an orienting tool, a compass, it is not a fixed prescription.

            The four elements noted on the north-south and east west axes are Values, Relationships, Self-Care and Work. These are the primary components to a rich full life. In a form symbolically reminiscent of the Native American medicine wheel, Values is in the north representing spirit and Self-care is in the south, grounded in the physical. Work and Relationships occupy the west and east.

            Leisure, Nutrition, Exercise and Centering support the primary components. Between each on the rim of the wheel are the qualities of life you can develop when all components of life are given full measure. These are the rewards for consciously living your life according to your values. As each quality of life is generated, it influences each of the components. This creates an ever-evolving, positive direction for your life.

            The center of the wheel signifies both balance and congruence: balance as in the image of yin/yang energy and congruence as described by Carl Rogers. A congruent person is aware of feelings and acts with authenticity on those feelings. Knowing what your values in life are and then living congruent with those values is the journey to a balanced life.

            Values Your life is ultimately guided and lived by your values. Your principles determine how you act in life and they flow from what you believe. Everything you do in life is a reflection of what your truly believe about life and the way it should be lived. This is true whether you are aware of your values or not. Time spent on becoming aware of your values and what really matters prepares you to live out those values and to be increasingly congruent. Congruent living reduces your stress and personal tension. You then have more energy for all that wonderfully aware living.

            Self-Care All the activities related to physical well-being; food, clothing, shelter and health promoting behaviors such as wearing seat belts and using smoke alarms are self -care.

            Work Work is the everyday work of making a living and in a balanced life, it is much more. It gives meaning and purpose to our lives and is different for each of us.

            Relationships Relationships give the social and emotional texture to our lives. Relationships on the east of the wheel is the complement to work on the west. Good relationships in your work are essential to the success of your work and there is certainly work in all relationships!

            Exercise and Nutrition support your self-care. I believe that rushing to fix your relationships and work without also taking care of your body is very difficult. A healthy body gives you the strength and stamina for your love and work.

            Leisure Leisure activities that have meaning and give you pleasure or a challenge are so balancing in your life. They can give you a time out to rest from stressful work and a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment not always there in your everyday job.

            Centering While your values influence everything else you do in your life, the practice of centering helps you to uncover those values and gives you the confidence and perspective to follow through on your plans. Centering is a state of optimal relaxation, where mind is clear and the body is calm. Time out and time alone to meditate, pray, read inspiring words or write in a journal are helpful. The more you practice, the easier it is to remain calm and objective in tense situations. Out of these daily periods of quiet and reflection you can clarify your values and sense of spirituality…

            I hope this overview of the Wheel of Life starts you thinking about changes you may want in your own life. To get the instructions to assess your current life balance, email me. If you want to be included in the subscriber list for the newsletter, contact me with your email address. Check in to the site at Diana's Desk for notices of workshops and presentations too and to read the next issue of this newsletter.

            I sit here at my desk next to the window. The sun is streaming through the snow-laden trees. Everything looks clean and white and new. At the close of this life-changing year, I wish for you space and time to Re-view, Re-new and Re-value your life to bring in more balance and meaning.

Good health to you,
Diana


dianacrowell@
leadingyourlife.com



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