June, for my 10-year-old, is a time of transition. A somewhat wild and choppy slide from the pattern of school to the patchwork of summer. 

So June, for this 46-year-old, is a time of transition. As the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, I—like it or not—am along for the ride. 

At first, my son’s excitement is contagious: It’s summer break, woohoo! And then reality sinks in. The exhausting reorganization of routines, week-to-week, as he oscillates between happy chaos and half-assed camps. It feels like a rickety rollercoaster from the carnivals of my childhood: An unsettling mix of free falls, jerky turns, and get me the hell off this ride. I need a minute (or a month) to adapt.

Life often comes at us in full swing; it’s not reserved for the month of June. One day (or many days) we wake up—overwhelmed and underwhelmed—and notice that momentum has pushed us to the extreme. Now that we’re here, what can we do about it?

This month’s newsletter touches on the fourth landmark of wellbeing: Moving Toward Balance.

The “moving toward” part of this equation is an important one. As uncovered in my graduate research, balance is not a static goal to achieve. Rather, it’s an experience we choose to move toward…and a choice we must make again and again. 

Stress and suffering are shared human experiences, ones in which we often swing to the extreme. So, let’s use these as case studies. How can we settle the pendulum? How do we move toward balance when we feel trapped in mid air? One moment at a time.

Stress and Relaxation: Our minds and bodies are designed to naturally dance between the stress response and the relaxation response. The stress response mobilizes us into action (think: laying on the gas) and the relaxation response brings us back to rest (think: pumping the breaks). We often get stuck with our foot on the gas, caught in crazy-busy mode. And, to move toward balance, we need to pump our breaks—a little and often—with practices that soothe the nervous system. You can find an abundance of these practices on my blog.

Suffering and Joy: We all suffer, in ways big and small. When we’re in deep, it can feel impossible to find joy. And yet, delight is still here, just waiting for us to notice. We can lean into it with joy-filled moments. Sprinkle intentional pauses into our days to invite sweetness into our lives. For joyful practices, check out “We’re Suffering. Can Joy-ness Join Us?


The Pendulum Practice

If life is like a pendulum, are you in full swing or settling in the middle? Remember, positive change begins with awareness. 

Scan your inner and outer landscapes…your mind, body, and life. Where do you feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed? 

Where could you let go a little to move toward balance?

If you tune into inner guidance instead of outer expectations, is there a shift that feels right to you?

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