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Happy Art of Balance October!

“When people meet the Divine Feminine in the world, they idolize or envy her, instead of recognising her beauty and power within themselves.”

There are so many interpretations and definitions one can find online about what the “divine feminine” is… my journey’s definition is finding strength in my own softness and challenging society’s idea of what it means to be empowered.

It was early September, I caught a red eye and snuck out of hustle of Johannesburg. This would the first solo flight I would take since the pandemic began, and with the pandemic still having us all on edge, I kept reminding myself “Olwethu you will be fine. You have your ID, and your masks”.

I arrived at the airport an hour and a half prior to my flight, checked in, checked in my luggage, got through security check-in and as I made my way to the Slow Lounge, I remember the feelings of both anxiety and relief overwhelming me – I had not been away from my family since March 2020. No solo time, no alone getaway. Nothing.

 

“Breathe”, I told myself you’ll get through these feelings. I replayed the voice of Ela Manga “The easiest way to access the state of calm is to turn to what is always with us, the natural flow of our breath” … so I breathed. The guilt was so heavy on my heart, I was ready to turn around out of that Slow Lounge entrance, go home and hold my family. In my mind I knew I needed this time away. We had made it to the other side of this never-ending pandemic together – vaccines and safety. It’s crazy how even when you know you need something, the familiar pulls you back – that pang in the belly.

I burst into tears at the sight, sound, and smell of the ocean as I stepped into my hotel room that overlooked the ocean. I’d arrived at around 9am and my hosts were amazing enough to allow me an early check in. I cried myself into a morning nap – a good cry, a cry of release.

My time spent away was not without work, but it was time to be away and listen to my body and feelings more intently. A time to really listen to my heart and feelings and allow them to take me wherever they wanted to go without judgement. I’d ask my body, do you want to go to the ocean? And I’d go.

 

I cried. I journaled. I laughed. I got angry. I laughed.

Being alone and so vulnerable is so daunting, you really meet yourself in a different way. It’s strange. You almost want to hug that little girl inside of you who is afraid of meeting the big girl.

I came back into sync with me.

I came back acknowledging and meeting little Olwethu who needs reassurance daily and being okay with comforting her.

It’s so important to acknowledge that all the things that happen in our worlds, the things that need us to provide and keep putting one foot in front of the other, can be extremely draining and scary no matter how passionate one is about what they do.

 

The idea of work-life balance has always been a public health issue globally, it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. There are no boundaries. There is no break. There is no time to reflect.

Before moving into our offices, stepping out my home study meant dealing with the other work, the house, the kids, the household obligations – I call then “cooking, cleaning and caring.” There was no catching a break.

Some organisations would institute monitoring technology under the guise of performance enhancement, and this would hinder the ability of an individual to take a break when they needed to. Or BREATHE.

It was in the peak of the pandemic where I had to find a different idea of balance and selfcare and it meant taking my family on the journey with me. I must admit that I too am figuring this out and this is all still a practise. And that little Olwethu too tends to come forward and needs reassurance.

The past year has brought me to one conclusion, to let go of the fear of the unknown and trust that what is dying inside of us is exactly that which needs to be renewed to serve.

In a time when the world seems to have gone mad and compulsive, a world that almost has everything templated out and we wait to be told what to do next to decide how to achieve the ultimate balance, on Art of Balance, we want to help you take that power back.

We say, “discover who you are, realise that life provides you with all you need to maintain your inner peace and health”.

You just need to restore the confidence in yourself to step out of the familiar and really dig deep to find your divine feminine.

The divine feminine is in all of us, whether you are man or woman. The divine feminine sets the boundaries, loves, doesn’t fear loss because they know they have love, they live creatively, gracefully and experience life in its fullness, wellness, and their own self defined balance.

Going back to the divine feminine as I caught that red eye was so important. I sure brought her back with me. But the mistake I know I continuously make is forgetting that she is inside of me, wanting me to meet her every day. She is a practice. We will talk about big rocks, small rocks, and sand later, but I bring her back to me daily through that practice. Remembering what my big rocks are.

 

This year’s Art of Balance follows these themes of practice (small rocks):

Art of Breathing

Art of Eating

Art of Homemaking

Art of Collaborating

Art of Planning

 

Take your time through these newsletters, read them, and reread them from time to time.

Though these practices are shared over a period of a month, they are continuous and should be applied over a lifetime.

The best way to put Art of Balance into practice is to have an accountability buddy and for each of you to define your own balance.

 

TAKE ACTION:

This is where we start:

Picture a jar you need to fill with rocks, pebbles, and sand? What do you start with first?

This metaphor is usually what is used to describe prioritising: trying to fit big rocks, pebbles, and sand into an empty jar.If you start by filling the jar with sand, then you won’t have space for pebbles and room for the rocks.

The big rocks = most important in your workload and life.

The pebbles = everything of medium importance.

The sand = all the smaller items that are less important in your work.

Here the lesson:

  • If you don’t put the big rocks in the jar first, you won’t be able to fit them in later.
  • When we fill our time with the little things that are not so important, we leave little time to take care of the things that actually matter.
  • You need to schedule the big, important things first, then fill in the remaining time gaps with the things that are less important.
  • The little things that are done day to day need to be connected to achieving the goal of the big things

This requires one to really institute boundaries and be realistic about their lives and time they have.

So, take a moment now to consider your everyday things and to-do lists and whether you are making enough time for your big rocks or whether these small things are part of your big rocks.

Step 1: Identify your big rocks.

Considering your roles and responsibilities, what should you be prioritising? At home, at work, your health?

I.e., One of my big rocks now is Mental Health

Step 2: Identify your pebbles.

What are some of the other things that you spend time on, but aren’t as important as the big rocks? These should preferably add value to your big rocks.

I.e., A few pebbles I have that are connected to the Mental Health big rock are walking, swimming, journaling.

Step 3: Identify your sand.

These are usually urgent but not important. Things you feel you need to take care of right away, but that aren’t as important than a lot of the other things on your plate. These are your everyday to do lists or the important things that need to be done. They are forever changing.

I.e., My sand is the day to day running of my life and home and the sand informs whether it is something I need to focus on or not.

Step 4: Reflect on how you could reprioritise your to-do list.

Consider how you could reprioritise and reorder your to-do list to better consider what is most important and what is less important in your life.

Realise that your big rocks may change from time to time – And that is okay. The important thing is prioritising and making the uncomfortable

Link to video explaining the rocks, pebbles and sand in more detail:

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