The other week, Richard and I went on a 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera and, as you can imagine, we had a blast. (I mean, who wouldn’t love going to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, with all-you-can-eat-food and entertainment galore?)
On the final morning when all the passengers were grabbing food left and right at the buffet, knowing full well that we all would have to make our own food when we returned home, I ran across a gentleman who we had chatted with at different points of the cruise.
“How are you feeling this morning?” I asked.
“Happy,” he replied, with a big smile on his face.
Pausing for a few seconds, he continued, “I’m happy that we had such a great cruise…and I’m happy that we’re going home.”
His comment now gave me pause.
I expected to hear him say how bummed he was that the cruise was now over and that he wished it could go on for at least another week.
Yet, here he was, happy to be going back home.
In my spiritual life coaching practice, one of my main areas of focus is working with professionals who are unhappy with the work they’re doing and who want to be doing something else more meaningful and fulfilling.
When I meet with a new client, one of the first questions I usually ask is this:
“If you had all the money in the world, what would you see yourself doing? How would you be spending your time?”
Here’s the answer (or some variation of it) that I hear more often than not:
“I see myself laying on the beach, or traveling all over the world, enjoying my days. I don’t have to work at all.”
It’s a great response.
You might be raising your hand yourself, saying, “Yes, please. I’ll have some of that for my life too!”
But at some point, after you go to the beach, day after day, for days on end…
Or after you travel from one part of the world to another, and then go to another part of the world, and then go to another part of the world…
…you come to realize that the unlimited vacation you might have thought was the best thing in the world all of a sudden has reached its limit.
How much vacation can you handle?
Richard and I experienced this last summer when we traveled to Europe for the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.
After spending a week in Amsterdam, we decided to tack on another week in Madrid to visit his dear friend Helena and her family.
And since we were going to Spain, we might as well go to Barcelona, so we added another week.
And as we looked at the map some more, we realized that Portugal was too close to pass up and so we included Lisbon in the itinerary, adding another week.
In total, we spent a whole month in Europe.
A whole month!
I’ll be honest…we were ready to leave after two weeks.
Why would we want to leave, you might be wondering?
Well, we missed our home, sleeping in our own bed, making meals with the foods we found familiar, seeing our family and friends, going to Dodger baseball games and attending music concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
And we also missed doing our work, because we both see each of our work as a service that really is helping to make the world a better place.
You see, when I hear people say that they would like to spend all their days on vacation, it says to me that they’re probably feeling out of balance with their lives.
If you could imagine your life symbolized as a whole pie, and you had different areas of life represented as different slices of the pie (like work being one slice, relationships being another, play, money, health, spiritual growth, and so on), which slices of pie would be the largest for you in terms of the time and energy you spend in those areas?
For many people, work is usually the biggest slice of the pie, and play/travel/fun is a much tinier piece.
That’s why the idea of spending all your days on the beach, or traveling, or having fun, seems alluring because that part of your life is craving energy and attention.
But if you decided to swing the other way and make play/travel/fun the vast majority of your pie, you might feel a sense of imbalance with that arrangement too.
Ultimately, the questions that I offer to my clients move beyond the “if you had all the money in the world, what would you do?” and venture to this inquiry:
“What areas of life are important to you, and in what ways are you being called to give energy to each of these areas in your life?”
These questions are the essence behind achieving what’s usually referred to as “work-life balance,” the notion that you can be intentional in creating a life where you feel more balanced and at ease.
So my question for you today is:
Where in your life are you called to give some energy and attention, particularly an area that might be feeling neglected?
Once you figure that out, your homework assignment is to figure out one small thing you can do to start giving some energy and attention to that area of life.
If you're craving fun and play, maybe take an afternoon and go to the beach or a hike.
If you're feeling the need for connection in your relationships, why not call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while and go out to dinner.
If your body is wanting some movement, you can sign up for a yoga class.
Find an idea and activity that bring you a smile.
You’ll know it when you feel it.
When I think about the man I chatted with at the buffet line on the cruise, I could sense that he had a good handle of how “work-life balance” operates in his life.
He had a big smile on his face when I spoke with him.
He really enjoyed his cruise, and he knew he was ready to get off the ship and go home.
Like him, there’s a part of you that knows that you are ready to go and change it up.
Now go and do that. And watch your whole life start to smile.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about today's article. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
A little about me...
My unique ability is helping people figure out what’s really holding them back and to fully support them in a safe and sacred space, with the result of people feeling excited about life and believing they can claim the driver’s seat of their lives. I've been called the "Aha Whisperer."
If you’re feeling the need for support in creating a life filled with more spaciousness, purpose and joy, I offer a complimentary life coaching consultation that may provide you with the insight and resources you need in this moment. To learn more about this, click here.
Joselito is a spiritual life coach helping people create a purposeful, spiritual path to career and financial freedom.
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