Reframing Work Life Balance

The topic of work / life balance was the focus of our October meeting, yet it seems especially relevant at the end of January when our New Year’s resolutions once again prove too ambitious.

When people talk about work/life balance what it really means is the notion that your work is not part of your life. That your Real Life exists outside work hours. That may be true for people who, for whatever reason, feel trapped in a job they hate, but it’s not so if you choose to follow a career or build a business you’re passionate about. Balance itself is a dynamic state, a regulatory mechanism, constantly adapting to every little change. So attempting to find a fixed balance point only works for those seemingly impossible stone sculptures. And they could easily topple at any moment.

I prefer instead to think of INTEGRATION.
How can I integrate all aspects of my life, including my work, into a coherent whole?

For years I tried to organise my time according to various experts’ systems that no doubt worked wonders for them… I could make wonderful plans on paper that included everything, apart from my inability to follow them. Eventually I realised I’ve got to create something uniquely mine that’s based on who I am:

@ Personally I thrive on flexibility, whilst some others thrive on structure.

@ Personally my energy fluctuates and I do my best work when I follow the energy, whilst some others seem to have a constant flow of energy and do well to schedule their activities in advance.

It’s really important to know what works best for each of us and honour ourselves if we want to do our best work and live our best life.

A little bit about my professional background before we continue:

From a young age I wanted to be an artist and at some point went to art college, even had my own studio/gallery and been selling my creations for years. Also from a young age I’ve been interested in how awareness, emotion and movement are linked. At some point I trained to teach the Alexander Technique and been helping people ever since.

So how do I integrate into my everyday life the demands of these two very different professions, whilst honouring my specific needs for flexibility and energy?

some examples:

@ My best ideas and clearest thinking come when I walk in nature. I feel happy, connected and expansive. My thoughts are free to roam and move around. The easier I feel in my body, the easier my thoughts and ideas flow. The bigger the hill, the bigger my perspective becomes (on situations I’m trying to resolve).

@ As I walk, I’m aware of my body, my surroundings and my thoughts. This creates freedom and ease within me and expansion of possibilities, including how I might help my clients to experience these qualities in themselves.

@ Being highly visual, when I walk I also notice pleasing colours, shapes and patterns that find their way into my psyche, into my joy, and into my paintings.

It’s all a unified dance.

Work and Life, the merging of both gives me the best of both. As you can see a change of perspective plays a major role in my wellbeing and my productivity. The discussion we had in October showed I’m not alone in this. Walking or running in nature was a great favourite and most of us are lucky enough to live in a place where we can easily do that.

Changing perspective is easy when we step out in nature or climb up a mountain. Yet sometimes we can’t just leave the desk or screen or easel or client… These are the times to remember that changing perspective is really just a trick of the mind:

@ When we focus on our problems and our discomfort our world narrows and we tend to feel restricted and drained.

@ When we focus instead on surrendering to the support from the ground and Mother Earth, we become expansive and experience a sense of calm, freedom, connection and creativity that are actually always within us.

When you change your focus you change your experience.

Remember that everything you do is an expression of who you are:

– the great
– the ‘could be better’
– the ‘where’s the delete button’

What are the specific needs and/or strengths that help you be your best and do your best?

What aspects of your work and your life can you integrate into a coherent whole?

What can you bring your awareness into that will help your life and work flow more smoothly?

Do you still feel the need to escape Work to have a Life despite being your own boss?

Are you constantly in pursuit of an elusive WorkLife Balance?

What if there is another way …

Zohar Hartley Please contact me if you’d like to find out more email: / tel: 07875141543 / f
b: Zohar Hartley at Aetiart / ig: Zohar_art_studio

Below are some examples from the exercise we did of changing our focus to change our perspective and experience (focusing on discomfort vs releasing into support):

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