What is the space between the two extremes: burnout and wellness? The answer reminds me of John Lennon’s quote: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” It seems to boil down to non-rigidity, the balance wherein some days you exercise and move your body and other days you rest. Some days you have a green juice and others you have a Mezcal cocktail. The question is, do you judge yourself within the non-rigidity and moreover, are you conscious of these judgments? To hone in further, let’s get real. Are you enjoying the exercise you choose, the rest you take, and the food/drink you consume, or have you been mindlessly showing up?
Balance, though not a new concept, is a term coming up over and over again in our modern times. As all areas of life become faster by the day, many of us have been adapting without taking a moment to slow down and reconfigure from a thoughtful, intentional place.
It seems to be human nature to re-evaluate only once life has smacked us down. In the form of illness, accident, or death of a loved one. There are various signals that we receive from our bodies, communicating to us well before something more serious pops up. These signals range from a skin rash, to anxiety, to life threatening illness. It’s a matter of learning to become aware of these signs and then listening to them before the big “WAKE UP.”
When the pendulum swings in one direction, so it swings in the other to create balance. On the other end of the spectrum from burn out and disconnection, we find life design programs and coaching to be of the norm. Health and wellness has grown into a multi trillion-dollar industry. It seems pretty clear that most of us have not been in connection with ourselves and are ready for a change.
From New York City to Venice, California, my pendulum swung deep into the wellness lifestyle scene. I was bathing in all of the latest and greatest self-care routines, elixirs, and healthy eating rituals. In the process, I learned what my body liked and what it didn’t. Coming from a place just a year prior where I had never experienced what “being in my body” meant, this was a brand new way of life. In the process I also became conscious of how I was living day to day in all areas.
I had been making decisions and taking action based on fear and old societal belief systems. I was now connected to myself and in a position to make new decisions. Ones that would be truly supportive to how I wanted to live and not how I thought I should be living. Rather than work outs from a place of not enough, I started slow with short hikes, and began to find movement that felt good in my body. I stopped succumbing to relationships that didn’t work for me, and only involved myself with activities, routines, and experiences that were inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t mean that I wasn’t constantly being challenged, but instead of forcing my way down paths that weren’t right for me, I was now facing my fears around the path that was right for me, and listening on a much deeper level than ever before. This takes courage, lots of it.
Somewhere in the middle, there came a moment when I wanted to shift into more of a laissez-faire lifestyle. Eating delicious breads and whole milk, drinking beautiful wines and fresh cocktails, and fully indulging in the experience of taste and connection. This is where I found my inner artist – within the witnessing of the pendulums, came the development of a certain level of awareness and a new understanding about myself and the art of the in-between. This now lets me play within my life without letting rigidity’s paralyzing grip run the show. Not only that but when I embrace my desire for a more seemingly indulgent lifestyle, it comes from a source of inspiration and bliss. Sure, sometimes old thoughts come up about what I “should be doing,” but this happens less and less as I practice non-rigidity and living artfully. This practice for me, has become my life – finding balance through how I choose to show up, moment to moment.
Tanya Karine Windman
Artist, Yogi, & Activist