When I think about living well I think of balance. Of finding that beautiful place where all the elements of our life feel like they are in harmony with one another. Where we are not burning out and pouring all our energy into one area, leaving the others out of kilter.
It's easy to do, and rather normal - to sway in and out of balance. The skill is being aware when we are too far off balance, and gently navigating our way back to a calmer course.
We might pour all our energy into work. And for many it's due to necessity to support ourselves and families rather than actual joy for the work we do. But in doing so we neglect our wellbeing. We're not experiencing a life outside of a pay-check. We run the risk of burning out and feeling down on life.
Likewise with parenthood, we give so much of ourselves to our children and making sure they are getting a good start. But with sleep deprivation and attending to the daily demands of parent life we can also wear ourselves thin. It's important to find snippets of time to recharge, so we can be there for not only our family, but also for ourselves.
If we burn out, helping others is much more difficult to do.
So what is the art of living well?
I think essentially the art of living well is approaching life fluidly, moving gently as we go along and making the changes we feel are necessary that help us live as close to our values and true selves as we can. Where we listen to our inner voice and follow through with its soft guidance, which helps us navigate life.
These are the elements that I personally feel contribute to living well in life:
Figuring out what your values are and using them like a compass to help you navigate life
Earning enough so we can live comfortably without living in excess and struggling to get by
Feeling loved and having healthy respectful relationships
Allowing time to gather and share experiences with friends and family
Doing work we love, or if not then having activities outside of work that we enjoy
Living in a home that feels safe, comfortable and welcoming
Having quiet time to relax, recharge and reflect
Feeling in good health and confident within ourselves
Have a sense of community, helping others and feeling a part of something greater than ourselves
Trusting those around us and feeling trusted ourselves
Allowing ourselves to enjoy simple pleasures and experiences in our daily life
Being present to what we have in front of us and feeling appreciation and gratitude
We all have our own interpretation of what it means to live well.
It may seem like a lot to reach a place of balance. Like we need to add more to what we already have to manage. But it doesn't have to be if we keep simplicity and lightness in mind.
Do we need to work harder and earn more money, or can we reduce our expenses and excess luxuries? Do we need to be doing so many extracurricular activities or can we let one go so we have time to sit quietly? If our relationship is suffering, can we relax our expectations a little, or put our frustrations aside and show them our love? If we feel lonely, can we give a little time to helping others through volunteering?
Most of us are fortunate enough that we can live well in life. We are fortunate in that we have choices and opportunity to change something that isn't quite right. If we look at our life kindly and gently, if we listen, then we can slowly regain balance. And spend more time in that place of harmony unique to us all.