Living an Intentional Balanced Life is Rebellious

Americans pride  themselves on their hard work ethic often to the detriment of their health, relationships and family lives. How often do we hear, "I'm always working", or "I'm available 24/7?" I work in the commercial real estate industry and am constantly told by many of my colleagues and friends that all they do is work when they're not eating or sleeping. Is it  supposed to be a badge of honor to be a workaholic? I don't think so, in fact I see burnout to be a very serious health and wellness crisis in this country. I am troubled when I hear how an associate doesn't have time to workout, go to their kid's games or performances, or just take some good quality personal time to recharge for fear of missing that big deal.  Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not be a tyrannical master that demands we answer every call, text, e-mail or tweet.

Recently I have read many articles by "human potential experts" that  discourage  multi tasking and constantly checking our phones and e-mail. It actually makes us much less productive.

I am reminded of an old story about two fire wood cutters who were working side by side. One chopped non stop without taking a break all day. The other, took a 15 minute break every hour. At the end of the day the guy who took the breaks had chopped three times as much  wood as his partner did, who couldn't understand how that was possible. Extremely annoyed, he asked "what do you do on all those breaks you take?" His answer......" I sharpen my axe."

This  rebel made a decision many years ago that I would do my best to live a balanced life while working in a business that often discourages that. I  meditate & pray, exercise & play regularly, eat a pretty healthy diet and spend quality fun time with my loved ones and friends.  I call this my rebellion against burnout and ill-health.  Sometimes I fall short but I  have learned where the off buttons are on my phone and computer and turn them off frequently in order to tune in to all the beauty around and within me.






Life lessons from dogs

My golden retriever, Kaia, has been an integral part of my life for 13 years now.  Kaia has given me unconditional love, exercise, frustration, peace and so many moments of pure joy.  Like me,  she has lots of grey fur/hair now.  Unlike me, she is not vain enough to use hair coloring. She has also taught me huge life lessons about living and rebelling.  Living life to its fullest and rebelling against the stuff that makes me act and think like a stick in the mud (although Kaia is rather fond of those.)

Simplicity.  Dogs remind me to keep it simple.  Throw the ball. Feed me. Rub my butt. Take a walk.   I can easily make things too complex.  Analyze everything to death. Create complex stories about my life.    But when I go for the essence, when I bask in simplicity -- that's when I experience happiness.

Sensory. Dogs live in their senses. Smell, touch, sound, sight.  They have no words.  Dogs remind  me that words are only a part of the living. I need to find silence so I can listen and see.

Loyalty.  Kaia loves me.  Golden retrievers, as a breed, are known for their loyalty.  But I also understand that if you had a meaty steak bone in your hand,  Kaia would love you too. This doggy definition of loyalty helps me better understand relationships.  Some people are fickle and don't deserve loyalty.  Others, share a part of their soul that means you need to stand by them no matter what.

Play.  Goldens are also notorious for wanting to play.  Day or night.  Continuously. One ball throw is never, never enough. How often do I  forget that having fun is such an important part of being human? So Kaia makes me ask the question -- got play?