This blog post is going to be in two parts. Part A consists of My Perspective on questions of balancing ones life. We have different parts of ourselves that can go out of balance something like a child's crib mobile can go out of balance. Something is missing. What's missing? Part B is a listing of self-care activities that just might help you in finding that missing piece.
A Question of Balance and Spiritual Nourishment Part A
Imagine your life is like a child’s crib mobile. It has a center and usually 4 umbrella like spokes emanating out from the center, and hanging off the end of each spoke is a piece of monofilament line which is attached a small object or toy. When all the parts of the mobile are in place the mobile hangs in balance. What happens when one of the objects or toys falls off or somehow gets damaged? The whole mobile gets out of whack. Oh, it will still hang over the crib, but it will have taken a different shape…cockeyed and out of sorts. Unless you fix those broken or missing pieces attached to the mobile, it will continue in that cockeyed shape and probably not be in balance as it should.
Living your life to me is a question of balancing your various selves and I honestly do not know how a person can live their life without a sense of balance. We all consist of various selves: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. People sometimes wonder why they are such a mess, why they are walking around cockeyed or out of synch with the rest of the world. Despite all the money, honor, success or celebrity they have, they still feel something is missing.
The answer most likely is that they are out of balance with one or more of their selves. Think about it for a moment. If you are not happy with your physical image because of your weight, or if you have been wandering around the emotional desert of meaning in your life, then you have answered your own unbalanced mobile of life dilemma and you need to begin the process of doing something about it. You need to fix some of the pieces of your life.
Those examples are obvious, the spiritual example is less obvious; you can’t see spiritual you have to be spiritual. Of course, the word spiritual has different meanings for different people. I think spirituality is an important piece in keeping the mobile of life in balance. And if you are wondering what’s missing in your life-it could be that spiritual piece. To me, God is that spiritual piece. I agree with Father Thomas Merton when he says, “we are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God” (Merton,1998)
I think the meaning of life is to get as close to God as you can get. When you are not getting as close to God as possible then you are doing nothing to nourish that spiritual part of you; the lack of the spiritual part of our self could also have a profound impact on the psychological, physiological and emotional part as well.
You know that your body needs nourishment from good food not junk food or it does not function properly. You simply cannot live on a steady diet of junk food. Sooner or later your body tells you so. You instinctively know when it’s time to eat something good. What do you think happens to your spiritual body when it gets little or no nourishment or the wrong kind of nourishment? Bishop Robert Barron says, “that the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, honor and power are all junk food for the spiritual nourishment that is needed”. More often than not those pursuits don’t provide the meaning of life that humans truly seek. Humans have an innate need to connect with their spiritual self. I believe St. Augustine when he said, “Lord you made us for yourself and our heart is restless until we rest in you.”
Prayer, spiritual reading, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, going to church, receiving the sacraments are all ways to nourish the soul and by doing so you just may nourish the whole body. The question of balance in our lives is not something that just happens you need to make it happen.
There are many studies that foster the idea of a connection between spirituality, helplessness and happiness.(Fisher, 2013)(Holder, Coleman, & Wallace, 2010). People who feel they are helpless in dealing with many of their life’s issues are often the unhappiest and more often than not they are also the God-less.
Saint Padre Pio had a simple solution to living one’s life. Pray, hope and don’t worry! A mantra from Alcohol Anonymous says “let go, let God”!
In many people’s lives spirituality is the missing piece in the 4-spoked mobile of life. My spirituality is in Jesus Christ. He is the Vine and I am only a branch; with Him I accomplish much, without Him I accomplish nothing. Jesus is the hub of the mobile in my life!
So, I have identified four selves of a mobile of living your life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Now let me give you some self-care ideas on how to deal with each of those life pieces that may need a little tweaking or a little bit of self-care glue. Next Friday I will post some self-care ideas that I hope and pray may help you. A question of balance and spiritual nourishment Part B.