“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Today, it is my pleasure to share with you an interview with one of our regular readers here at the Jungle of Life – Stacey from Create A Balance. Stacey writes a well thought out and meaningful blog about achieving balance in our lives. In it, she really digs into what this means – finding the balance that can sometimes be so elusive, and letting our true passions shine in the process. Her words are spoken from the heart, and she has a real ability to connect deeply with her readers.
Please help me in welcoming Stacey here today!
With that, let’s get right into the questions.
1. Tell us, Stacey, a bit about who “you” are (family, career, any special life experiences you’d like to share, etc).
Here are the basics…
* I am a mom, wife, daughter, and sister.
* I have two boys under the age of 5 and I’m madly in love with them.
* I work virtually (from home) fulltime as a change management consultant..
* I live in Chicagoland. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the Detroit suburbs. I visit family in Michigan often.
* I have a Masters degree in Human Development/Training and Development.
2. When did you start blogging, and what led you to this decision to write?
I started blogging in February 2008. For years I have wanted to share my passion for life balance with the world but I didn’t have a venue. My Ah-Ha moment happened when I was reading A New Earth (Tolle). My inner voice started shouting “create a blog”. I don’t know why (and I’m excited to see how it will unfold) but for years I have had the belief that it is my life calling to help people think about and practice the art of life balance. I feel so alive when I write about life balance.
3. Balance is a theme on your blog. Can you describe what balance means to you.
What balance means to me…
To begin with, I believe life balance means different things to different people.
To me, life balance is about balancing the demands of being everything to everyone while not losing my sense of self, my needs, and my passions in the process. Life balance means balancing the needs of my inner authentic self and the needs of all of the other things that demand my time, attention, energy.
4. How do you find balance in your life?
There is a short version and a long version to this answer.
My short answer is that I stay aware of my sense of self, my needs, and my passions. I work hard to incorporate my needs and passions into my life. Needs and passion can change overtime, so I work on assessing my needs and passions on a regular basis.
I’m currently practicing the art of life balance by…..
* Being involved with Weight Watchers and exercising to focus on my physical well being.
* Taking a writing/art class to stimulate my creative energy.
* Paying someone to clean my house once a week to help me stay organized.
* Waking up early (before my children are awake) to embrace my creative practice (writing, blogging, painting).
Here’s my long version to your question…
After years of living and breathing my passion for life balance, I have finally developed a life balance process/framework that works. Here is a quick summary…
1. I spend a lot of time discovering my authentic needs and passions.
2. I write down my intentions and look at them often..
3. I find some way to hold myself accountable. This is tricky. Right now I hold myself accountable by participating in group activities (Weight Watchers, my Art Class, etc). I’m working on developing an online tool to help myself and others to be more accountable to their needs, passions, and dreams.
4. I practice being selfish. In other words, I self nurture and self nourish. I truly believe that to provide great value to the world I need to take care of myself first. It’s the airplane/oxygen metaphor that I recently blogged about…you must first put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
5. I force myself to take action. Your blog helps me be bold and daring, which is a catalyst for taking action.
6. I celebrate my life and all of my baby steps. Life can be hard sometimes but there is a lot to celebrate if you can find time for gratitude.
7. I share my life balance stories with the world using my blog. I also talk about the importance of life balance with anyone who is willing to listen. I believe what you focus on expands (the secret). And the more I focus on life balance, the more I am practicing the art of life balance.
8. I reflect and assess my actions to determine if I am off balance in any areas of my life.
And then the cycle or the journey continues (back to #1).
One thing I know for sure is that life balance is a process/journey, not a destination.
5. I find your blog to be very motivational, and one that really makes me think. What do you see as the purpose of your blog?
The purpose of CreateaBalance.com is to help people think about and practice the art of life balance. It’s about helping people find and embrace Ah-Ha moments that make them believe that their sense of self, their needs, and their passions are precious and important.
CreateaBalance.com is dedicated to helping people balance the demands of being everything to everyone while not losing their sense of self, their needs, and their passions in the process.
I hope CreateaBalance.com readers learn more about what they need to embrace their life balance desires.
6. If you had to pick one thing as your greatest achievement, what would it be (and why)?
My children are my greatest achievement. My second greatest achievement is keeping hold of my authentic sense of self while raising my children.
7. Where do you look for inspiration and motivation?
I find great inspiration and motivation from the incredible, remarkable, extraordinary members of the CreateaBalance.com community. I am referring to the individuals that comment on my blog. They inspire me to think about life with a new perspective and challenge me to live outside my comfort zone to achieve my dreams. I am also inspired by the larger personal development blogging community.
Outside of the blogging world, my greatest inspiration and mentor is Susan Kennedy (aka SARK). SARK has inspired me to share my words, stories, and artwork with the world. She inspires me to be bold and daring and to push past the fear that comes along with sharing words and art with the world. She has also inspired me to develop a writing practice and to celebrate my authentic voice.
8. Tell me one unexpected thing that has happened because of your blog.
When I started blogging, I was focusing on how I would share my words and stories with the world. Unexpectedly, I have found a niche (personal development), and a community (the personal development blogging community). I have fallen in love with this personal development blogging community. Being part of this community is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. This online community welcomed me with open arms and supports me in my dream of building CreateaBalance.com. It would be great to be able to have face-to-face conversations with members of this blogging community. I love blogging because we get to skip the small talk and jump right into having personal and soulful conversations.
The other unexpected thing that has happened since I started blogging is a significant increase in my creative energy. Creative ideas are flying out of my head faster than I can grab them. It’s very liberating to feel my creative juices flowing again.
9. Art, specifically painting, holds special meaning for you. Could you talk about that, and how it plays in with your balance theme?
I know it is a cliché, but a picture (or a painting) does speak a thousand words. On my journey of sharing my authentic voice with the world, I’m also experimenting in expressing my authentic voice through art. I have been drawing, painting, and sculpting lately and I find it very exciting to find new ways to express my authentic voice. I’m working on expressing parts of my create a balance framework through art.
Note: The picture above is an original painting Stacey has graciously shared here with us. I think that’s a great example of being both daring and bold Stacey! And it’s a picture that shines light into this world!
10. One last thought Stacey: What parting information would you like to leave with the readers here at The Jungle of life?
I’d like to invite the readers of The Jungle of Life to participate in my Life Balance Group Writing Project. The intention for this project is to get more and more people thinking about what life balance means to them. As a result of this project, I will be compiling an eBook filled with what today’s Personal Development bloggers have to say about life balance. This eBook will be an inspiring resource for people who need help taking steps in the right direction towards practicing the art of life balance.
Lance’s Comments: Stacey, thank you for sharing a bit of “you” with us here today! Balance is something that can, at times, be difficult to achieve. You are sharing an important topic with many people throughout the world. I especially enjoyed your description of the process you use to achieve balance – real examples of what works for you. Even if that’s not right for everyone (we’re all different) – it gives us all a framework for what can work.
And, I would also like to encourage our readers here to consider joining in Stacey’s Life Balance Group Writing project. This is your opportunity to join forces and spread a message of balance and what that means to you.
Stacey, it has been a real pleasure to get to know you better here today! You are a true ray of light in our world, and I consider myself privileged to know you. Here’s to many successes for you as your life continues to unfold in new and exciting ways!