“Barbara, I just wanted to write you a quick note to tell you I checked out your website and absolutely loved your blog post. It’s funny. I have been thinking a lot lately about how my actions have not been in alignment with certain core values that I hold, particularly with regard to getting enough sleep and I found your blog post very helpful. Your post was extremely well-written, poignant, and so applicable to just about everything I am dealing with right now. Instead of telling myself I’m depressed, I’ll now choose to look at certain challenges as simply being “out of alignment.” C.M. (referencing blog post What Is Congruency and Why Is It Important)
Many thanks to C.M. for allowing me to share her message with you and to say that this is a wonderful example of CULTIVATING C.H.I. in real life.
Our goal is to bring our thoughts, words, and actions into CONGRUENCY, HARMONY, AND INTEGRITY.
Why is this important?
We become conflicted when we act out of alignment with what we know to be true.
C.M. mentioned that she experiences inner conflict and sometimes depression around the issue of sleep. She can now reframe her negative thoughts, implement the strategy of self-forgiveness, and recommit to aligning her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with what she wants to achieve.
Here are some suggestions for her and anyone else who may be dealing with this particular issue:
I am going to designate a bedtime in order to get 8 hours sleep each night.
I feel good about my commitment to increasing my hours of sleep per night and my strategies to make it happen.
I will turn off all electronic devices one hour before my designated bedtime.
I will take a warm relaxing bath.
I will create a totally dark sleeping environment including covering all LED lighting.
I will drink hot relaxing chamomile tea before retiring to bed.
Thanks again C.M. for sharing and allowing us to review and see a great real life example of CULTIVATING CONGRUENCY.
We continue today with Part 2 of our INTRODUCTION TO CULTIVATING C.H.I. in 2016.
Some people define harmony as balance. Others define it as being in agreement or accord. In order to achieve balance, everything must be weighted equally. So if HARMONY as we are applying it in CULTIVATING C.H.I. were to be defined as balance only, that would mean that we would need to give equal time, attention, energy, and resources to everything in our lives. Our relationships would be equal to our careers. Our careers would be equal to our spirituality. Our spirituality would be equal to our physical fitness. We quickly see that this isn’t how real life works. We have to prioritize according to need and urgency. For example, if you have a young child or are caring for an aging parent, their needs often usurp this distribution of resources and imbalance occurs resulting in disharmony.
What does disharmony look like and why is it important to recognize it?
Disharmony is a result of feeling conflicted or pulled in too many directions at once. Our internal conflict may show itself in emotional eating, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, generalized discontent, fatigue, and even illness.
It is important to understand the origins of disharmony and the consequences in order to deal with the underlying cause rather than only treating the symptom. For example, the long-term answer to insomnia due to ruminating thoughts is not prescription medication. Rather, being able to identify the origin of the thought and interrupting the pattern through techniques such as breath work, Tapping, meditation, prayer, or journaling.
How do we create HARMONY?
First of all, I think it would be helpful to expand our definition of harmony to include words like peace, cooperation, rapport, tranquility, understanding, accord, and unity. Rather than the unsustainable goal of equal balance, a cooperative effort of utilizing the amount of time and energy to achieve the desired outcome. A give and take rather than a rigid rule. For instance, figure out what is important to you and distribute your time, effort, and energy based upon these priorities. Remaining flexible while honoring these priorities will create a more harmonious environment.
PRIORITIES EXERCISE: One of the best ways to gain clarity is to identify your priorities.
This exercise is particularly helpful if you have trouble setting boundaries, telling people NO, and you often feel overwhelmed.
Take several index cards and list the Top 5 Most Important Things in Your Life.
Place these cards around your environment where you will see them frequently. When considering how to allot your time and energy, see if the task you are contemplating is in line with your priorities. If not, give yourself permission to let it go, assign it to someone else, or just say NO. Your time and energy are your most precious resources. Use them wisely.
When we are in alignment with our priorities, we are in HARMONY– agreement, accord, tranquility, peace, and cooperation.
Can HARMONY really exist?
Yes, Harmony exists by staying true to your priorities. Revisit them often. Be flexible. Move things around or off and on the list as needed. Remember, it’s YOUR list. Make sure your priorities are congruent with your integrity, your values, not someone else’s. Trying to live someone else’s priorities is a recipe for discord, disappointment, and imbalance.
The goal of HARMONY is to be in agreement, peace, tranquility, and accord. We usually feel the most unsettled when we feel pulled in too many directions at once. We women, especially, try to win a gold medal in multi-tasking. Nobody actually does multi-tasking well. Trying to do too much results in increased cortisol levels, weight gain, illness, brain fog, agitation, and many other negative consequences.
How do we sustain HARMONY once we get it?
10 Suggestions to Cultivate and Sustain HARMONY
Cultivate happiness. Happiness is a state of being. Being in the moment. Knowing that each moment is a gift and holds unlimited potential. That understanding allows you to be happy in all circumstances knowing that if you are gifted with another moment there is potential for your circumstances to be very different.
Cultivate detachment. Do what you need to do in the moment to take care of business but let go of the attachment to the outcome. This allows you to do your best but frees you from the unreasonable burden of trying to control everything and everyone around you.
Cultivate self-love. You are made in the very image of God. Your body is a temple to be taken care of , loved, and treasured. You can’t serve others from an empty vessel.
Cultivate gratitude. Express gratitude every day. Take inventory of what’s going right. We tend to focus on the negative. Remind yourself of all that is good. Good energy attracts more good energy.
Cultivate a clear mind. Take time to meditate daily. Clear the mind of technology, worry, and stress. Allow it to rest peacefully for 20 minutes a day. My favorite way is to meditate while taking a detox bath.
Cultivate spirituality. Pray daily. You can’t have a good relationship with someone you don’t talk to. Prayer is our avenue of communication with our Creator. He’s listening.
Cultivate real relationships. Surround yourself with real people. Fake, drama-addicted, attention- seekers create stress and anxiety. Choose to be around people who have a calm, grounded, loving energy. Notice how happy you are to be around them.
Cultivate a calm, clean, organized environment. This doesn’t mean perfection. It means uncluttered and where you can find things. Nothing is more frustrating than wasting time searching for things.
Cultivate peaceful relationships. If you know you have wronged someone, go to them and ask for forgiveness. If you have been wronged, grant forgiveness whether or not you have been asked to. There is no greater gift to give nor to receive.
Cultivate time spent in nature. Take long walks. Kayak river ways. Cycle along wooded trails. Dig in the soil. Grow things. Spending time outside will deepen your appreciation of this incredible beautiful planet, increase your supply of beneficial Vitamin D, and lower your cortisol level thus reducing your feelings of stress.
Remember, the benefits of living with CONGRUENCY AND HARMONY are flow and ease.
Take a moment to complete the Priority Exercise. This is a simple yet very powerful tool to clarify what’s really important to you. Look at the 5 things you listed. Are you currently allocating your time, energy, and attention to what you value the most? Where are you feeling disharmony? Are you feeling stuck? I’d love to hear your comments.