Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

How can you find and maintain a healthier balance in your life?

Phase 3: My Relationship with Self
Workbook Exercise: My Own Self

Watch: How can you find and maintain a healthier balance in your life?
Answer:
Click here to write your answer.
Share: Invite and join with others #GrowRule

Transcript of Video:

We’ve come to the end of a week where we’ve been talking about how you relate to yourself – I want to say, how you love yourself. There’s some things that will make a real difference in your life: One is to have beauty as a daily part of the rhythm of your life, especially when you go through a difficult patch in life, or if every day is full of challenging things because of your relationships or because of your work or volunteer activities. Using your five senses to take in beauty will give you a different sense of balance in your life. The difficult things won’t go away, but you will get a much greater sense of harmony, blend, direction, focus, hope – by taking into your daily diet beauty.

Something also that I do is I plan for something that I know will be enjoyable, every day. Now, lots of things in the course of a day are enjoyable, but I actually plan for something that I know I’m going to do that will be enjoyable in the course of a day. Some days I’ve got this much time; some days I’ve got this much time. Planning for it and enjoying something will make such a difference.

Here’s something you may not include in your Rule of Life: you may not “dis” yourself. If there is a part of you that is continually critical about yourself, where you come up short, where you’re not “good enough,” where you should be other than what you are – that has to stop. You may not “dis” yourself. You may not disrespect yourself. You have to look kindly on yourself and love yourself as God your Creator does. You are God’s creation, a child of God’s adoration, and you need to cooperate with that. No “dissing.” No “dissing.”

Something that I practice every day is parting with something. Even in a monastery we accumulate things and I find it enormously liberating – I travel lighter – by parting with something every day. It will also change your relationship to things, where you’re aware that you’re stewarding something for as long as it’s helpful, and when it’s time to let it go, you part with it. Not cling, but part with it.

And then, lastly, what about Sabbath practice – a day for you to be and not to do? If you cannot figure into the rhythm of your life a weekly Sabbath, then think about a Sabbath practice that can inform some every day. It will make a world of difference to you, and you’re worth it!

– Br. Curtis Almquist

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

29 Comments

  1. Jaan Sass on October 12, 2016 at 23:57

    I like the two thoughts in this presentation first to plan beauty for every day in my life and second to give away something everyday both would be revolutionary in my life.
    Second I do spend a lot of wasted time thinking negatively about myself. I like what was said about all of us being adored by God created in his image.

  2. Alan Rollins on March 9, 2016 at 19:18

    I think of all the things that may help me begin to encourage balance in my life would be to part with the things I’ve accumulated over time. Not that I have a great deal of stuff; the clutter I don’t tend to will eventually collect dust, and become more difficult to clean and maintain. Much of this “stuff” I really don’t have use for anymore, and some of it I would define as “childish things” that don’t define who I am now. Living minimally, but without deprivation, I believe would cleanse my mind, as well as my apartment. It would allow me to enter into more meaningful relationships with my own family, my friends, and most certainly, with my God. This, I think, would make my Sabbath practices more meaningful, whether they be my daily prayers, or my weekly attendance at church with my fellow parishioners.

  3. NA on March 6, 2016 at 17:17

    Plan for something enjoyable.
    Don’t disrespect yourself.
    Part with something.
    Practice Sabbath–ing.

    I do better at some of these than others. Over the years, these have all been ongoing lessons. While I am doing much better at respecting myself and parting with things freely, and improving steadily on the Sabbath practice, the hardest thing for me is to plan something enjoyable — and then DO it.

    Because my husband has been in the IT field and worked most of the time for contracts from 24/7/365 customers, I learned early on that plans for events, activities, meals, sleep, or just sitting and staring etc. simply get frustrated or upset, so I stopped making them, even for myself. If we could squeeze something in to a spot that was not impinged upon, we were happy, but there was no actual planning.

    This is, therefore, a huge challenge for me, but one I will enjoy working on improving!

  4. Donald Sutton III on March 2, 2016 at 13:28

    Being more flexible to many times I get caught up with a set rule that I have to follow to the letter and if I don’t it feels like my day is ruined. After I while of this I realize that sometimes things come up that might get in the way of what we might want to do and I need to learn to except that and roll with the punches per say and adjust according to those changes.

  5. a city monk on March 2, 2016 at 12:07

    this is moving so fast!
    so many “seeds” sprinkled in just 3 minutes! I am forgetting that this describing qualities of a Daily-ness, of a rule of life. My heart leaps, OH YES! and I am eager to live into the sown seeds.

    One is to have beauty as a daily part of the rhythm of your life. Using your five senses to take in beauty will give you a different sense of balance in your life.

    Plan for something that I know will be enjoyable, every day.
    Parting with something every day – is a practice of letting go and a practice of stewardship… and leaving room for the unfolding of grace.

    Sabbath to the the day, the week, — to the month…

    This Rule of Life is unfolding a discovery of the Sabbath at 70…respecting the newness of this season of my life is the reality that brought me to this experience. My eagerness surprises me… skipping into the unknown!

    peace and all good…

  6. JV on March 1, 2016 at 09:09

    Wow, the statement about not “dissing” myself….I don’t seem to have one positive thing to say about myself anymore. I am my worst enemy, to such an extreme I do myself harm. I wish I could stop.

  7. Eugene Wright on March 1, 2016 at 00:54

    I haven’t thought of specifically maintaining a balance in my life as such. Nothing specific or deliberate anyway. I enjoy spending time reading scripture, praying and meditating everyday. I go to prayer meetings on Wednesdays, Bible study on Thursdays, worship service on Sundays. I enjoy taking works, going to parties and dances, watching British comedy, listening to all kinds of music, watching football of all kinds, watching soccer, hanging out with friends and just plain relaxing. Its not structured, I just do it.

  8. Debbie on February 29, 2016 at 11:07

    Every day is a routine of things that have to be done or need to be done. I make it a priority to finish each of those items. The I have time for what I have been thinking about that I need to do. The beauty of it is that I find the time. If I do not that day. I know what when that time is available it will be the first thing I think of, those things that I want to do and can’t just yet. I am always on the look out for things that interest me. Or some times I find interests that I do not expect and I adore that time.

  9. Sally Baynton on February 29, 2016 at 08:44

    I felt the tears roll down my cheeks when Brother Curtis admonished us to quit “dissing” ourselves. Who amongst us is not our own greatest critic? I am going to give that up and start loving myself with the same unconditional love that my God loves me. After all, “If God be for me, who can be against me?” That has to start with myself!

  10. susan zimmerman on February 28, 2016 at 20:07

    you have to reach out and be in deference again and again and again

  11. Russell on February 28, 2016 at 14:06

    I think about balance as a state of equilibrium, but not a state of equality. As I seek a rule of life, one of the equilibriums I look for is what might balance my reliance on work and production as a source of self-esteem and self-worth. I recognize that stillness and repose would be something that balances this in some part. I also recognize that some of the practices of being alone that I cling to are just a substitution of one work for another. Reading a book, for example, becomes a work I must complete. Writing a song becomes a project that requires finishing. Tending a garden becomes a responsibility that I find difficult to set aside. I see that my equilibrium might depend on other mindful practices. Beholding, trying to absorb and appreciate a creation of God sounds like equilibrium. I have a Catholic friend who talks about hours of “adoration of the Host,” which I understand as silent meditation and prayer. I have been trying to be in silent prayer (I guess it is prayer, although I am simply envisioning the Cross or otherwise trying to clear my mind) most days during Lent, but have yet to make the practice as reliable as I hope for. The most present source of despair in my life, I have come to realize, is the gap between my hoping to be and my actual being.

  12. Debbie McMahon on February 28, 2016 at 07:13

    This was chock full of good thinking-I want to begin to fully realize things I love about each day. I have been in a negative environment and in a negative frame of mind for a while now, but I have moved out of it. I miss my gratitude for the mundane joys as well as the world outside of myself-experiences and people. I will consciously return to gratitude. Further, the thought of no dissing is something I thought of yesterday. I have procrastinated calling someone I want to be friends with, because I am afraid I’m a lousy friend and she will come to realize it. I will not begin the conversation with an apology for my procrastination- I have been incredibly busy moving from one city to another and taking care of two houses. An apology for that is just a disclaimer that I feel like a bad friend. I will try very hard not to place a disclaimer on myself. I am worthy.

  13. Stan on February 27, 2016 at 22:10

    This video offered some really great ideas. I particularly like the thought to set aside time daily for something that you really like. I guess I sorta do that, although I haven’t actually intentionally set the time aside. I just sorta make sure I get in a little ME time before I crawl into bed beside my wonderful wife. Which is actually probably what I enjoy doing the most, anyway. Cuddling up close with her and happily falling asleep together, warm and cozy. Such a perfect blessing of love!

    I should also comment on the thought of giving things away freely. This is a very enlightened idea. I find that the more things you have, the more you have to worry about. SIxteen years ago, I was in a horrible, ugly rut with my life, and I was graced with the opportunity to just start over. That made me realize that all the stuff I owned was nothing more than a burden. None of it mattered any more. So I walked away from literally everything I owned, which turned out to be the most liberating thing that I’ve ever done. That freed me up to pursue my new life, which as far as I’m concerned, actually saved my life. And it brought me closer to God, and taught me how powerful God’s love and His Holy Spirit truly can be.

  14. gwedhen nicholas on February 27, 2016 at 20:53

    I could pray intercessory prayer more. I could walk more. I could practice Lectio Divina more. I need all these things in my life to make it more balanced. I pray that it may be so.

  15. Paul on February 27, 2016 at 20:38

    I love these thoughtful comments. I was especially drawn to the recommendation not to diss myself, and to look for more beauty in my life. I was once told that the well-balanced life meets seven basic needs — spiritual, intellectual, social, sexual, sensual, physical, and emotional. At best, I meet three of them; and with the grace of God I will work, poco a poco, on the rest, one day at a time.

  16. DP on February 27, 2016 at 19:34

    There was a wise monk, Brother Curtis,
    Who said, “Disrespect might just hurt us.”
    He exhorts us to play
    Each and everyday
    And part with some stuff to convert us!

    • Dorothy P. on February 28, 2016 at 22:14

      About time someone threw some poetry in the mix! All right I know it’s not the first time, but my hat is off to DP: your limerick made me smile. And thanks also to Br. Curtis for the idea of “planning to enjoy.” I also appreciate the value of parting with something daily, but choosing what to part with will take some thought. Maybe if I start a short list… and not “dis” myself if it takes a while to get going…

  17. Muriel Akam on February 27, 2016 at 16:49

    I usually plan many things to enjoy every day- Mornirng Payer on BBC Radio really sets me up for the day . followed by a lovely cuppa. I allow myself little teats duing the course of a day- a few chaptes in a novel, music, daily walk where I give thanks to God for this wonderful world . I give things away regularly – books , clothes, other items. I am also good at dissing myself- especially when I take a wrong turning when driving or making mistakes . I get cross with myself .I will work on this.

  18. Florence on February 27, 2016 at 16:47

    I look forward to my early morning walks where I feel the cool air on my face, listen to the birds chirping and enjoy the flowers. I also find joy in giving away
    all the material things I no longer need.

  19. Robert on February 27, 2016 at 10:49

    As a young man, I did not pay attention to my life-work balance. It nearly cost me my closest relationships. And, as I age, it has left me with chronic health issues while I am still fairly young. Now, I have no choice, but to strike a balance. Without proper diet, sleep, exercise and managed stress, I pay. So far, there is no joy in this. Slowly, I am working to find it. With God’s will, it will come.

  20. Neil Ellis Orts on February 27, 2016 at 09:26

    I know I don’t sleep enough. That’s become a complicated issue in my life and I’ve not found a way to prioritize sleep so that by the end of the week I’m not miserably exhausted and use the weekend manly for “catching up.”

    And dissing myself? Immediately, I hear Joni Mitchell singing, “Nobody’s harder on me than me. How could they be?” (“Moon at the Window”) Except for when I’m making excuses for myself, and then I’m hard on myself for making excuses. It’s a whirlpool of a cycle, that drags you down.

    On the other hand, I do think I do pretty well with noticing beauty everyday. It’s perhaps not a ritual, but I usually do say a “thank you” when I come across it. I’ve come to call these moments of beauty—and they are numerous!—the abundance that doesn’t pay the rent. They are still, nonetheless, part of the abundant life I experience.

    So today’s video is a mixture of affirmation that I’ve got something working, some things to work on. The question is how to work on the things that need work without dissing myself for working harder? 🙂

  21. Linda on February 27, 2016 at 09:05

    I love the ideas of planning for daily joy and letting go of one thing every day. Having something to look forward to each day eases the daily challenges. Purging my home is on the top of my list along with planning time for physical activity and spiritual development.

  22. Bobbi on February 27, 2016 at 08:14

    I love the suggestion by Brother Curtis to plan something every day that will be enjoyable. To plan something specific affirms that God wants joy for me. What a good way not to ‘dis’, or disrespect myself.

  23. Suzanne on February 27, 2016 at 07:57

    My “daily beauty diet” begins by having a cup of coffee with God. Since this study began, it also involves a laptop. Through this week’s sessions, I have been reminded how important this time with God is. There’s a grounding that is put in place which sets the tone for the day. I’ve never considered making a “plan for enjoyment.” While I enjoy most aspects of my day, making a plan for enjoyment seems forced or canned. In not “dis-ing” myself I have had to learn to surrender to my abilities. There are things I can do, and do well, within my skill set. Within my emotional self, old voices do surface from time-to-time and remind me of who they would like me to be. Acceptance of myself has been a gift. Earlier this week I wrote about God seeing my heart. I pray for this ability when looking at others. “Parting with something” daily is a great idea. There are items in my house I never use, look at, or desired owning. This may be the perfect starting place for a plan. In letting that “stuff” go though, I need to be mindful to not attach a string to it. My plan will need to include a process of freeing myself and being left with no regrets.

  24. Betty Donahue on February 27, 2016 at 07:53

    I can find and maintain a healthier way of life by setting aside the time you suggest to not dis myself and not dis anyone else…practice loving myself, actively work to forgive others and accepting them and releasing them to their greater good. You and free and I am free and all is well between us, You are free and I am free and all is well between us, you are free and I am free and all is well within us, you are free and I am free and all is well between us, you are free and I am free and all is well between us, you are free and I am free and all is well between us, you are free and I am free and all is well between us….

  25. Bill Spies on February 27, 2016 at 07:44

    I need to ad that listening and reflecting on these morning SSJE videos also helps me find balance as does reading scripture each day

  26. Bill Spies on February 27, 2016 at 07:42

    Healthier Balance I agree is important. I manage that by morning jogging with now my three dogs. As I jog thru the forest (A luxury that I have thanks to deciding up front to retire in the country where I see God’s creation of nature all around me) I enjoy my dogs exploring the areas around them and notice things thanks to them that I never would have seen. It’s my way to balance work with exercise and helps me stay balanced for each day. During those Jogs I find myself listening for God to say something thru nature, thru my just being free of other thoughts.

    When it’s a rainy day I am unbalanced, so I am aware of this need for physical exercise to balance my daily volunteer work with the pleasure of witnessing nature.

  27. Jim V on February 27, 2016 at 07:15

    The way I am unbalanced are not taking care of my body and health, to much work and not enough peace and beauty, not connecting with friends and family.
    Work is there every day. Maybe these other things should be there every day too and I should plan for them in life giving ways as I do for work.
    I like some of the ideas presented in the video around planning for joy and making space for it every day. The idea of a sabbath seems great, though unrealistic in this phase of life for me with my family. Maybe making a larger space for peace and joy on the weekends is doable.

  28. Kristi on February 27, 2016 at 06:56

    I love the idea of planning something enjoyable to do everyday, even it it’s something small like trying a new recipe or starting a new book. I try and find great value in the little things such as these. The notion of planning, putting thought & intent behind living is a newer concept for me.
    Not dissing myself is much harder!! I make mistakes everyday and I need to practice reaffirming with myself that God loves me & sees me as perfect no matter what. I always think I can do more, do better. Maybe I can but when I compare myself to others it can set me up for negative thoughts.
    I need to let go of physical and emotional things in my life. Going through my house systematically & de cluttering can be very freeing!!!

Leave a Comment