Finding balance

Lately I find myself focussing on balance in all areas of my life.  At home its a see-sawing of time between cleaning, cooking  and relaxation. Socially its all about time spent with friends and at classes versus alone time with the Bean. At work I find I am battling the most with the amount of work done balanced against the pay I receive – at work too, its about how much time I spend at work against spending it at home. How much is the time I sell to my employer worth? This is not only measured in monetary terms but also in satisfaction and a sense of well-being at work. Am I getting value? Finally it all boils down to happiness I guess – good balance will create a feeling of achievement and happiness.

In my life before moving here I know my balances were very unstable with over emphasis on things that did not count in the end. I thought they did count though – till I found out they didn’t. That’s the way we learn. Trial and error most of the time.  Now that I have begun a new life with focus on balance, I am finding it quite hard to get right.  I like to think that because balance is now one of my main focus points in this slow life, that I catch imbalances early and take time out to sort, reshuffle and balance again before the scale tips too drastically.

All-in-all I feel I am doing reasonably well and am really happy in most areas of my life.  I only need to sort out some things with regards to my work and work time.  My plans are to eventually work for myself – a few projects which I will initiate over time will hopefully build up to something big enough to keep us going financially, but until then I will have to work for someone else. Let’s hope that the reshuffling I find I need to make in this area works out. What I do know is that it can’t keep going on as it is now.

Time is the one thing that we give away or sell that we can never get back again.  We need to make sure it’s not stolen or that we are not underpaid for this precious commodity. Even if we give it away for free, there should be a gain for us in terms of happiness, satisfaction and achievement. If you feel you are not rewarded sufficiently for your time and efforts it’s time to rework and reshuffle things to regain balance in your life.

What do you do to ensure balance in your life?

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I thought I had invented a little happiness trick….

A while after moving away from the city and my go-getter lifestyle I noticed that I was just so much more content and happy.  In trying to analyse why this was so as I have a tendency to do I decided to mentally plot my happiness scale on a daily basis.

I came to an answer rather rapidly when I discovered that the days where I did something with my hands (besides typing on a keyboard) were the days when, at the end of the day, were my most satisfying.  I believe it may have something to do with the creative process as producing something from the manual labour was a little more satisfying than when I was doing cleaning for instance, although, I must say, much to my surprise,  I get satisfaction and happiness from doing menial cleaning chores too (shock-horror!)

This discovery was a huge eye-opener to me and just when I was ready to start writing a thesis on it – my path to instant fame and fortune, I discovered much to my chagrin, that everyone already knows this. People have been saying this for years, I have probably been told this exact thing and blocked it out of my brain because I am was a physically lazy person.  I used to love thinking jobs – stuff where I used my brain extensively but didn’t have to lift a finger work up a sweat.  I still love thinking and I consider my brain my favorite asset, however, finding quiet spaces in my days where I can just look and see and be, are becoming really special to me.

To summarise:

Past:        BUSY MIND – LAZY BODY = SEARCHING FOR HAPPINESS

Now:       SLOWER MIND – BUSY BODY = A CONTENTED HAPPINESS

What stuns me about this whole issue is that I was so sure that the masses of information I have acquired over the years, and all the wonderful and marvelous things my brain could do, was my saving grace – I was/am proud of my knowledge and perceived wisdom.  I saw myself as dynamic and bright (most days) and ready to go out and conquer the world.  I felt sorry for people who lived slow simple lives.

I now realise how fickle I was and I am embarrassed about how I bulldozed across the planet thinking the world was waiting for me.

I am still exploring gentle living. I am slowing myself down. I am getting rid of stuff. I am trying to make less impact on our planet. I am trying to listen more and say less.  I “do” and “be” more and think less. I am hopefully becoming more humble. I am spending as much time as possible in nature as it gives me peace. I am trying to live a slow simple life.

I still mess up everyday – my motor mouth lets me down all the time. But I will persevere. Because it makes me so very happy.

A good day…

Yesterday was just one of those days. I’m sure you know them.  Everything just fell into place.

I was up early to find a cool day – very welcome after the heat we have been experiencing.  The birds were making such wonderful sounds and the bush seemed to echo.  Peace.

My work day was gentle and pleasant.

A wonderful sunset

Picture 251

Picture 252

Picture 254

A piece of art that is challenging me (still lots to do)

Picture 256

Good wine and great friends

And finally, as I fell asleep, the sound of thunder and rain beating on my thatch roof.

African thunderstorm by http://www.trekearth.com/members/henrye/

I am thankful…..

Have a fab weekend.

 

PS:  I have adjusted the settings on my blog in order to make it easier for people to comment.  Comments really make a bloggers day and I welcome all of you to have your say or to just say hello.

Room with a view

This morning at 5.10 am I received an sms from The Bean.  She was messaging me from her cottage on the other side of the swimming pool.  The message said “Look outside”

This was the view from my windows

These are female impala- the same ones I blogged about here (it’s a funny post so, go on – read it.)  They are about to drop their babies.  These buck have the amazing ability to hold their pregnancies until conditions are favorable for their babies.  As soon as some more green grass and leaves appear they will start giving birth.  Last year some of them were as late as December.

In the last picture you can also see a female kudu in the background – she has an identity crisis and thinks she is an impala.  She is the only permanent kudu on the reserve but we have a suspicion that two gentlemen kudu’s visited her a few months ago.  We are hoping for some babies.  Kudu are difficult to keep in a reserve because they can jump any fence or wall so the farms around here “share” them.

A little inspiration

People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don’t realise that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn’t have, or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always here, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is deeper than any form and untouched by time. The joy of Being, which is the true happiness cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person or event—through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you—ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.

– Ekhart Tolle, A New Earth

Slowvelder improves her DIY skills

The problem:  One broken window pane

Step 1:  Remove old putty and broken glass

Step 2:  Put in glass and new putty

I know you are supposed to make long sausages with the putty and then push it in but it wouldn’t work that way, so I improvised.

Step 3:   Remove excess putty and neaten edges

All done – I will paint it when I paint the window frames.

Looks simple doesn’t it?  Well…….

War wounds: Elbow

Finger

Blood, sweat and tears !

But I did it!

Weekend moves

This weekend I am going to be very busy at the Sustainable Living Festival.  I will try to take some interesting pictures to show you next week.  I am also going to a braai (bbq) – wish me luck – this is my first social venture out to become more sociable and get to know folk in the area since I have been single.  It’s a little scary.  I will only know one person there.

Here are some pictures taken on the property as well as the surrounding area of Hoedspruit.  They are courtesy of W so I feature in a few.  Photos of me are very rare on this blog. If you want to know more information about anything featured in the pictures be sure to leave a message in the comments.  Have a great weekend!

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♪ sugar-sugar ♪♪

Today at work we started testing for sugar and acid levels in the current grapefruit crop. There are certain ratios that are requested by different countries that import the fruit from us.

Each country is very specific about how much sugar they want in their fruit and this got me thinking about sugar. Most humans appreciate sweet tastes.

Sugar was produced in India since ancient times. It was not plentiful or cheap in early times—honey was more often used for sweetening in most parts of the world. During his campaign in India, Alexander the Great was surprised to taste the sweetening agent that was different from honey.  To read more about it click here

A little bit of sweetness is needed in everyone’s life.  I don’t enjoy eating too many sweet things.  What adds sweetness to my life right now are these two

I am so thankful for the blessings and joy they bring to my life.  What adds sweetness to your life?

Sense and Sensibility

I had my second yoga and meditation class yesterday.  Last time I posted about my yoga lessons I promised a picture of our studio.  I tried to take one last night but struggled with the light.  I wish I could show you how beautiful it really is but getting the light right when you photograph out of a darker room is a little too much for my blonde brain.  The room is so peaceful and tranquil and the view is absolutely breathtaking with the green trees reaching out for miles and the sun shining on the mountains.

Looking at the photo I think I need to take a picture when the sun is a little higher in the sky – that should work. I know a couple of you are stunning photographers so some advice please.. Sam?  Olivia?

On the yoga – I am already noticing extra flexibility after just two lessons.  The lessons here are quite different from the ones I took in Belgium.  We do the same poses really but I do miss they way we started overseas laying flat on our backs doing a visualisation and breathing.  We do open with breathing here, but it is more active.  Also, we don’t close off with a relaxation, however because the meditation classes start straight after, I do get my relaxation in anyway.  I just feel that the people who do not stay for the meditation lose out a little.  On the positive side, we focus much more on our breathing with each movement here which is a good thing.  Also the fact that our teacher makes us hold our tummy muscles in for the whole lesson is painful really good.

The meditation class is just awesome. Lisl is busy taking us through different methods of getting into meditation.  Last week we did chanting which can be quite daunting when you are new, in a class full of strangers.  It turned out to be really great.  This week we did it by walking…..very very very slowly, focusing only on our feet and leg muscles, feeling every tiny movement as your feet raise and fall, feeling every tiny touch as your heel, sole and toes touch the ground.  It sounds rather strange but was great. 

I got to thinking afterwards how important our senses are to being in the present – not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow.  The easiest way to be real, here and now, is to feel it, see it, touch it, smell it and hear it.  How much do we just block out through the day in order to rush on with our tasks – that is just not living in my mind, although I agree, it is necessary to block out some stimuli otherwise we wouldn’t get things done.  Think of it this way – take something you don’t like – like washing dishes for instance, and try this.  Feel the water on your hands as if you have never felt water before, touch the tiny gentle soap bubbles and feel how fragile they are – listen to the squeak of your sponge on the dishes as they come clean, smile at the glint of clean shiny dishes  – that’s living in the now.

Because of the pressurised lives that most of us lead today, it is impossible to notice every touch and smell we encounter every day.  We need to remember to take time out to notice our sensations, to slow down and just be.

The good news is that many people actually do this unknowingly – by having hobbies.  It is at times like these when we are enthralled in our woodwork, photography, scrap booking, etc. that we are taking notice of all our senses, living in the now and just being ….. and it’s good.

Money

 

I believe the key reason for so many problems in the world today is the fact we no longer have to see directly the repercussions of our actions. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering involved in the production of the food and other “stuff” we buy. The tool that has enabled this disconnection is money.If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we wouldn’t waste it so freely……………………..

– the cashless man

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/mark-boyle-money