Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great
inspiration to me! In August of 1998, about four months after my
father passed away, I read about one of Carol's
workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and
synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the
bookstore. The themes of her teachings were
familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts
and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before
his passing. Her books and workshops ignited my
spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path,
which led to the very creation of
SoulfulLiving.com! Carol's participation has been
an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul
level! Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com
January is an important month for the spirit. Named after
Janus, an ancient Roman god of doorways, of beginnings, and of
the rising and setting of the sun, the first month of the year
gives us the opportunity for reflection. Like the two
back-to-back bearded faces of Janus looking in opposite
directions, during January we tend to look back at what we
accomplished in the last year (or didnít), and look forward
to what we hope to create and experience in the new one. We
canít help but think about time. Passing. Moving on. Running
out. Picking up speed. Slowing to a crawl. We wonder how we
can use our time to balance the pressures of job,
relationships, family, creativity, finances, alone time, and
Letting Balance Come Into Being
Since my birthday is in January, I connect the month with
being one year older. Firmly within my sixth decade now, Iíve
started noticing something I hadnít expected. When I was in
my twenties and thirties--despite the usual old-age jokes and
general bad-mouthing of the aging process by which we keep our
fears at bay--slowing down in later life seemed like it could
actually be a blessing. This past year, Iíve found some
unexpected gifts that just might be the result of years of
simmering (warmed by many risings and settings of the sun).
For example, I now catch myself becoming less concerned about
small things. The other day I washed two sets of curtains and
they both shrank about six inches and no longer meet the floor
in a graceful way. I donít exactly think of myself as a
control freak, but in the young days, I might have bought or
sewn new ones or taken the hems down. Now, Iím content to
leave them and read my mystery novel instead. The curtains in
themselves are inconsequential, but what interests me more is
that I have somehow changed without trying to. Iíve noticed
that I donít have much "drama" in my life anymore,
and therefore, Iím less prone to moods and uncertainty. The
process of life never stops in us, even when we think we
really arenít doing anything momentous.
The New Year brings the idea that we should be taking more
control, that we should be meeting our goals in a more focused
way. That we should find a goal! That we should become
disciplined. And again and again we ask ourselves: How can I
find a good balance this year?
Those of you who know my writing know that I am a big fan
of the idea of Intention and Creating the Life You Want to
Live. However, I think itís also important to remember that
time can reveal priorities that werenít part of our
conscious focus. For the past fifteen years, career has been
the major focus of my life along with keeping good connections
with friends and family. But last year Iíve become the
grandmother of two boys and a girl. It never occurred to me
that this new role would be so rich and intrinsically
rewarding. The chance to be another kind of parent againóa
grand parentófurnishes a new playing field. Making time to
be with these kids and even provide a little babysitting
relief for my own children gives me so much joy and fills up
my life to the brim. Suddenly, serendipitously, there is a new
Balance Or Perfection?
One of the most common questions in my seminars is about
achieving balance in work and life. Laudable as the goal is, I
sometimes wonder if the idea of balance masks an unrealistic
expectation of perfection, as in: Why donít I have it
all, right now? The perfect career that is both meaningful
and highly paid, financial security, an ever-supportive soul
mate, the perfect body weight and tone, offspring that do me
proud, and time to pursue my creative vision, recognition and
global contribution. All at the same time.
Many factors contribute to shaping our idea of balance. We
compare ourselves to others; television, magazines, and films
create cravings and expectations. We feel that something is
wrong or incomplete, but havenít a clue as to where the
answer lies. At the deepest level, the concept of balance is
the desire to reconnect with what matters to us personally and
to differentiate ourselves from the social and economic
pressures which force us to make choices we donít like. When
our lives are out of balance, perhaps we are:
- making one area the focus of all our attention because
we unconsciously think our survival or our identity
depends on it
- ignoring warning signs like fatigue, irritation,
increasing impatience, and feelings of overwhelm
- focusing on problems and unintentionally narrowing
"optional" activities that might be lucrative,
fun, or healthyóexactly what is needed to provide balance.
When things feel out of balance, we tend to try harder to
control things or other people and this usually makes us feel
busier. Feeling burdened and scattered, we worry and feel
guilty. We tend to either think we have to change everything
in our life at once and start completely over, or, on the
other hand, feel that life is just this way and there is no
way to change it. I like it when Dr. Philóthe television
psych-evangelistólooks into the eye of the people who have
come to seek his advice and says, "Let me ask you one
question. Is this working for you?" Acknowledgement is
the first step to change. We can change by admitting
that we are out of control and by changing our behavior. If we
learn from our mistakes, changes will occur. Sometimes,
time brings the best changes of all.
Tips For Balance In The New Year
- Realize that balance is an overall goal, and may
not be felt every single day. Realistically, some days are
more packed than others, but the key is not to let imbalance
go on for too long of a stretch. Somewhere in the week,
you need downtime and fun time.
- Pinpoint the motivation behind the choices that have led
to your current situation. For example, Sharon, a
thirty-eight-year-old woman with a husband, two children, and
a busy fitness practice regretted agreeing to teach an
exercise class on Saturdays at a friendís aerobic studio.
She felt that the class wasnít well attended, wasnít worth
the time it took to do it, broke up her Saturday time at home
with her family, and was somewhat boring. With all these
negatives, she was beating herself up for agreeing to teach
for six months. Reflecting on why she made the decision, she
realized she was trying to maintain her reputation as being a
person who kept her word. Realizing this motivation helped her
to make peace with her decision but also to be aware of not
over-committing in the future.
- Pay attention to what you are doing right. What part of
your life is really on track? Determine what factors
account for your satisfaction, and write them down. For
example, if you are happy in your personal friendships notice
how much time you spend and how much commitment you have to
keeping up those connections. Use your imagination to see how
you could use those same specific factors to improve another
areaómaybe in finding a romantic partner.
- Stop blaming others or outside conditions for your stress.
You canít control what others think or do.
- Say no. Let go of trying to do the impossible (working
marathon hours, for example). Ask the Universe for a
- When something bad happens, reserve judgment and hold the
old Zen idea, "It could be good. It could be
- Try yoga and meditation. Personally, yoga has been a deep
source of balance in my physical and emotional life. I canít
recommend it enough.
While balance is an admirable goal, there are many things
worth doing in this world that may unbalance your schedule
from time to time. Only you know whatís truly important to
youóor you will know after painful experiences when balance
has been upset. Take on the next challenge with all your
heart. The important thing is to keep the heart open.
I wish everyone a very, very happy New Year.
© Copyright 2003 Carol Adrienne, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.,
is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author
whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages.
. Her latest book is When Life Changes, or You Wish It
Would: How to survive and thrive in uncertain times. Oprah
hailed, The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the
World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense a
must-read. She is also the author of The Numerology Kit. An
on-line copy of Your Childís Destiny will be
available in December.
Carol is available to for
keynotes, workshops, and seminars and can be reached at Carol22@sonic.net
or (510) 528-2226 weekdays 10 am to 6 pm PST.
- Information on private consultations and life coaching.
- Ordering your personal 28-page Numerology Life Chartódelivered
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the home page.
- A calendar of seminars and retreats.
- Book recommendations
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