One of the things that this pandemic has taught me is that prioritizing what matters, being my authentic self, learning more about who I am and who I am destined to be, and adopting a different mindset is necessary for achieving true balance in mind, body, and soul. I am imperfectly perfect, and once I can accept that, I get closer to who I really am. I found and read a great article that I used as an anchor for our Sunset at the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse class to set the stage and to reflect upon, once we got to savasana. It is called, “The Difference Between Being Alive And Living: Your Life Should Be More Than Just Breathing” by Lauren Martin, published April 3, 2014. Seven years later, the information couldn’t be more relevant. Coming out the other side of a very challenging and enlightening year, there is no better time than to actively live your life!
A big part of living is knowing who you are, knowing what drives you, understanding who and what you value, and the list goes on. What I am also learning is that living requires establishing balance and balance depends on speaking your truth. It forces me to identify where I am in my thinking and in my mind, how I feel in my physical body, and taking care of my soul and, WOW, that seems like a lot of work. Knowing who I am and identifying my truths helps to drive the exitance of this fitness and wellness platform. What I do know, without question, is the reasoning that this fitness platform exists. It exists to create a community that supports community with physical fitness, mindful connections, service for our community, and creating a space that allows every person to belong. These are the things I love: community and service, and THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE...for the minds, bodies, and souls of those within our immediate fitness community, as well as providing support for our local community through initiatives for food. A quote from Rumi says it well, Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”, and community and service are what I love.
I suppose that the journey for our exteriors has to come from we are made of within our interiors, including our life experiences (both good and bad), goals we have created for ourselves (some that we have met and others that haven’t been so successful), those who have walked with us (and not ignoring those that we have had to walk away from or those who have left our lives), and walking through fires to find our mountaintops. For me, finding balance doesn’t mean that there is a precise equation, rather a really messy walk through things, some really hard, that allow me to grow into my best self. There is no ONE checklist that will automatically create a balanced life...wouldn’t that be nice? That being said, Forbes magazine talks about the benefits of taking breaks, resting, establishing healthy eating habits, and exercising. They also discuss how to prioritize and work to increase positive experiences in your life. Check out the article at this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2017/10/24/five-simple-steps-for-creating-balance-in-your-life/?sh=563a6e0a149a
As I sit and write this article, I am also forced to think about the three pillars for the Lion and Lamb community: Body, Mind, and Soul. What might these things mean, when life balance is the topic of the conversation? Do these 3 pillars connect to the events we do for outdoor and virtual classes, blog posts, community events, and community donations...and that’s just the beginning. So, I have to start small, with ME and that is no small feat for those of you who know me. I started plotting out exactly what I have listed below, in hopes it can help me start to shape what my own balance looks like and, maybe, in some small way, it helps you too….
What does balance in my body look like?
Strength, cardio, and recovery - do I have an equal balance of all three?
Increasing movement is the goal, where a fit and functional lifestyle endures the test of time rather than the goal of having certain body type...ahhh body image, stay tuned for the next blog post with a discussion on that piece. Hear me out...there is nothing bad about having goals to look and feel good, but my goal for this community is the love of self and others through healthy habits.
Taking an approach to fitness and movement that is balanced (i.e. my goal is to move better, feel physically better, increasing my flexibility and stability, eating things that help my body function well
What does balance in my mind look like?
Being authentically me...I have to decide and learn what that is
Full disclosure, I am someone who struggles a great deal with anxiety and all of the “stuff” that comes with it...those of you who struggle with this piece know what I mean...Am I good enough? “What if” such and such happens, How come such and such happened to me, How can I make it better? Sometimes, it can be debilitating and I work every single day to use the things I have learned from my faith in God, counselors, mentors, family, and friends to exercise FAITH OVER FEAR.
Learning and creating something and setting new goals helps my mind to become refreshed. Learning and creating are intrinsically who I am and what I love to do
What does balance look like in my soul?
My faith in God drives me everyday and is part of my every single day. It lays the foundation and groundwork for so much of what happens in Lion and Lamb Fitness, some things you'd never realize :-) If my faith life isn’t balanced, all of the other pieces are “off”
What makes you feel ALIVE rather than just living the day to day? I talked about this article earlier in the blog, and it fits so beautifully in this space. Take a moment and check out this link - https://www.elitedaily.com/life/the-difference-between-being-alive-and-living-your-life-should-be-more-than-just-breathing - I just love this section where she says, “Living is something completely different. Living is taking someone’s breath away, losing your breath at moments and forgetting to breathe. It’s almost the opposite of being alive, because living will always be closer to death. Living is refusing to let the rhythms of life drown you into submission. Living is never missing a moment...It’s laughing until you can’t catch your breath. It’s crying until you’d rather just never breathe again. It’s the feeling that everything could end in a moment and you’d be ready for it. Living isn’t about preserving your breaths, counting them, watching them go in and out. It’s about forgetting to breathe, delving into passions and opportunities, swimming against the current and almost drowning. Living is what you do with those breaths, those moments. It’s how you make your own path, dance because there’s no other way to express yourself and experience heartbreak...It's loving your children so much it hurts, sacrificing your happiness for others and losing yourself in a guitar solo. It's painting until you forget your sorrows...It’s burning out and falling down. It’s failing and fighting back..It’s being wild and untamed. It’s never stopping, always looking and never being complacent.”
It is establishing boundaries and being OK to see them through. A great book that helped me give my best YES to situations is a book called The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst. She talks about how to give the small “no” along the way so you are free to give your BEST YES to the things that deserve them.
I believe that knowing your authentic self can lead to being wholly invested and living intentionally. It comes with work and time to know who you are, but in the end, I really believe it will be worth it! I'd love to hear what your thoughts are here too! Comments below.
Martin, Lauren. “The Difference Between Being Alive And Living: Your Life Should Be More Than Just Breathing.” Elitedaily.com, 3 Apr. 2014, www.elitedaily.com/life/the-difference-between-being-alive-and-living-your-life-should-be-more-than-just-breathing.
Nazish, Noma. “Five Simple Steps For Creating Balance In Your Life.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2017/10/24/five-simple-steps-for-creating-balance-in-your-life/?sh=5f38c467149a.