Constant movement? Get out of your comfort zone! Push yourself harder! No pain, no gain!
How many times have we heard these phrases – especially in western-based cultures – and felt that in order to grow and “live your best life,” these are THE formulas for achieving success?
While growth DOES happen when we reach beyond what is familiar, and challenging yourself builds confidence and can make you feel truly alive, living in a state of constant stress, throwing yourself out of balance, or feeling like something has gone horribly wrong if things are calm and quiet for more than 3 seconds, is often the reason why anxiety, depression, sleep challenges, and a heighted state of day-to-day stress are SO prevalent in our modern, fast-moving world.
As a high-energy human who is all about moving “Onward, Upward & Forward” and who is also EXTREMELY driven and goal-oriented, I too, unfortunately, have found myself (whether consciously or unconsciously) feeling like things were amiss if there wasn’t some pressing thing that needed to be attended to, if the clock wasn’t ticking toward meeting my next target date, or if I was not on some device of the moment looking something up or reaching out to one of my people.
I also noticed that when realizing a new dream or completing a big project, rather than fully celebrate and savor the magic of the moment, more often than not I would crash… HARD.
What WAS this thing – and more importantly, what could I do to create a new experience for myself to allow my energy and well-being to continue to flow more consistently?
Recognizing the joy truly IS in the journey, it seemed logical that getting my hands into the next thing and starting a new journey STAT was the answer, but time and time again, once I would reach the next finish line, or any time my progress would slow or stop for one reason or another, some kind of self-imposed drama would ensue, and there I was back at square one…
…So no matter how much I tried to dance around it, I knew if I was going to live a long, happy, healthy life, rather than burn out and follow an unhealthy path like SO many others before me, I knew it was time to make peace with “the space between.”
Contentment: The space between In the “Blue Zone” longevity studies, along with data from the happiest countries in the world*, one of THE common denominators of people who live long, happy, healthy lives revolve around the idea of cultivating Contentment.
Many cultures (like the one from whence I came) have long taught that unless you are living at full throttle, are having peak experiences all the time, or are suffering & enduring valiantly for a worthy cause, you are somehow “less” – yet these states are simply not sustainable indefinitely – and many people who continue to live at this pace are the first to experience some form if dis-ease or have a shorter life span than perhaps they would have preferred.
In contrast, the humans who reach 100 years of age (& beyond) who are also still healthy & happy are those who live with a more balanced rhythm and flow. They continue to do what they love and keep learning new things, yet they celebrate the every-day simple pleasures. They participate in rewarding connections with a like-minded community. And they allow time to honor body, mind, and spirit on a daily basis.
While it may not be my destiny to buy a villa in Tuscany, host intimate dinners, and live quietly-ever-after, I have absolutely seen just how well my body, mind, spirit, and relationships respond to cultivating true Contentment in my life.
Yes, setting your focus and energy into motion is indeed a powerful way to engage the magic of the Universe, but ALSO allowing time to unplug, to be fully present with the ones you love, to truly savor life, and to embrace times of calm and quiet, is what FUELS productivity, creativity, what truly FEEDS health & well-being, and what can ultimately extend your life.
If you feel like you or your clients could also benefit from enjoying “the space between” more by sprinkling a little more Contentment into your life, give this tool a spin:
The Contentment Activation Process STEP 1: Start by making a list of at least 5 “Contentment Catalysts” =thoughts, ideas, and memories that are linked to feelings of Ahhh… For example - Some of my “Contentment Catalysts” include:
Sitting in my fav spot with my favorite blanket with “Magic” (our sweet kitty) curled up in my lap
The smell in the air and crunch of dried leaves when hiking in the fall
The happy song, “Amas Veritas” (which loosely translates to “the truth of love”) that plays at the end of the movie, “Practical Magic.”
Being perched on a shoreline or boulder enjoying the sights & sounds of a beautiful waterfall
Cuddling with my husband and listening to him read to me
STEP 2: Amp up the Contentment vibes by adding a sensory “tag” related to your “Contentment Catalysts” & keep it accessible:
See: Create a photo or video gallery
Hear: Create a playlist of songs/music/sounds
Smell: Bring in candles, essential oils, perfumes or any item that create related/similar scents
Taste: Eat and drink food/beverages that taste like Contentment
Touch: Touch a fabric, blanket, plush, object, or your fav furry creature
STEP 3: Read & add to your list/sensory tags daily and as inspired
STEP 4: DO something related to Contentment for you and savor the moment to the MAX.
STEP 5: Sleep with Contentment Review your list & tags when preparing for bed to go to sleep with calm happy thoughts
NOTE: Be kind to YOU as you find your balance & rhythm If you grew up with or are currently part of a culture of constant stress and crisis, or feel a constant need to be “on” or doing all the time, do know that just like any substance, your body and mind can actually form a very real addiction to the fight-or-flight chemicals your body produces from being in these all-or-nothing states. And just like breaking away from any kind of unhealthy substance, pattern, or habit, it typically takes a solid sense of conviction, a lot of self-love, some time, and consistency to create new rhythms in your life. With this, I highly recommend: -->Be patient & kind with yourself as you find your own unique balance of Forward Motion & Contentment
-->Reach out & allow for some support – Connecting with a life coach, accountability partner, or therapist can highly increase your chances of staying on track and cultivating lasting new rhythms and healthy life balance
The Bottom Line - Coaching Balance: The Dance of Forward Motion & Contentment Change and forward motion are indeed the nature of life – and there is incredible joy and energy in being an active and intentional participant in creating our own story. But even after attending the world’s best party, there is still joy to be found in curling up in your comfy bed at the end of the night, recalling the details about the fun that you had, waking to have a nice cup of coffee or tea with your favorite person or pet the next morning, and just taking a moment or two to say “thank you” for being alive. Moving forward is always fabulous, but perhaps it is “the space between” that truly makes the dance of life that much sweeter?
For more tools to cultivate Contentment and move joyfully “Onward, Upward & Forward” CLICK HERE