Last night, I tuned into a live “podcast” on preparing for spring. Hosted quarterly by Kimberly Wilson, owner of Tranquil Space yoga studio in DC, Tranquility Du Jour Live offers the opportunity—four times a year—to pause in the daily activities of life to reflect, dream and plan. She offers practical tools to move into the upcoming season with intention as well as healthy living reminders. However, my favorite part of the podcast is always the Wheel of Life
I have been using the Wheel of Life to take stock long before I met Kimberly three years ago. Another yoga instructor introduced me to it at a retreat I attended when I was living in Jersey City almost a decade ago. The Wheel of Life provides a powerful and visual tool for self-assessment. Around the spokes of the wheel are words that describe the various aspects of our lives—work, finances, relationships, home, spirituality, health, etc. Your task is to determine how satisfied you currently are with each facet. Close to the hub represents catastrophe. Near the perimeter is bliss. You draw the best fit “circle” to connect the parts of your life
Back in 2009, I learned a lot about my life from that first Wheel. It was small and badly misshapen. Some areas, like career and finances, were pretty good. Others, like home and relationships, were abysmal. That first Wheel became the inspiration for my Life Plan. I dreamed about where I wanted to be in five years. Once I had those long-term goals in mind, I started back mapping—thinking about interim milestones that I could achieve along the way to my dreams. I jumped into action almost immediately—requesting a transfer at work, moving to DC, finding my own apartment, and purchasing a home full of new furniture. Then, I kept building, kept acting, and kept dreaming.
Last night, my Wheel looked much better, reflecting a happier and more balanced existence. But there were some minor areas of concern, namely around my home and creativity. I have a three-bedroom house, and am planning to vacate it by Memorial Day. That means, I have about eight weeks to finish sorting through my belongings to see what “sparks joy.” Those things I will figure out how to pack up and ship to Palo Alto. The rest will be sold, stored or donated here in DC. I feel a bit overwhelmed just thinking about all that I have to do, especially since I have so many fun activities and trips planned for the next two months. But I need to stop thinking, set aside a few hours, and just do it. The packing and sorting have to happen.
I also have not made much progress on my BIG, HAIRY, AUDACIOUS writing projects. I was really excited about them earlier this year, but I have been finding it hard to get the writing done. I was really busy with travel over the last 4-6 weeks—and found it hard to just fulfill my contractual obligations when I was home in between trips. I also have gotten more consistent with my morning yoga practice. So, between the travel, the work and the yoga, I really haven’t had much extra time for writing projects.
But my inner artist—the one who has read Julia Cameron, Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott—knows that I am making excuses. It’s never about time. If I am really honest with myself, I would admit that I am feeling daunted by the magnitude of those writing dreams. Just like my discarding and packing process, I have been feeling overwhelmed, which has led to inaction. So, the solution here is the same as there: Just do it! In this case, I need to park my butt in my office chair, write, edit and revise my projects until I am done.
I absolutely love Kimberly’s seasonal podcasts. I am pretty good about weekly planning and monthly goal setting. I have mastered the art of setting annual goals and creating vision boards. But I can get lost in the interim. The seasonal podcasts, hosted every three months, have proven valuable for helping me check in emotionally and stay on track throughout the year. After looking at my Wheel of Life, I can see that I am feeling a bit overwhelmed about my upcoming move to California. As much as I am looking forward to starting school and beginning my doctoral studies, I have a lot to do between now and then.
I need to do the sorting and packing. But at the same time, I can’t neglect my creativity. I’ll spend this weekend problem solving, trying to figure out a goal I can set that is attainable. I don’t think I am able to commit to the 30 minutes of daily writing I set out to do at the beginning of March. Maybe I can commit to 10-15 minutes a day. Or I can shift the focus of my morning pages from random thoughts about my life to my projects. I’m not quite sure yet how I will get all that writing done. But I’m determined to come up with something, because I need to take care of my life stuff while continuing to nurture my inner creative.
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.