I can sum up the meaning of holistic living for me in the words of Gandhi:
“Truth resides in every human heart, and
one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth.”
Holistic living for me is about living a balanced life spiritually, socially, physically, emotionally, mentally, financially—all of these or anything else I choose to be part of my life. My truth is determined by my internal values, taking into account my whole life and not just parts of it. In other words, balanced living is my ability to handle my life and live it according to my truth. Holistic living is very personal and awareness is a key to how successful I am at living a balanced life.
It is a heart thing for me. My internal life impacts my external life so asking questions is how I become aware if I am truthfully living the life I have chosen. Am I feeling internal stress? Do I feel overwhelmed because I have too many things to do and not enough time to accomplish everything? Do I have too many social commitments and not enough time to myself? Do I spend too many hours working and not enough time with family and friends? Am I angry with a loved one or friend? If I am, why am I angry? Am I depressed because of it? Do I have insomnia? These are some questions I can ask myself to find out how I am choosing to live and where I may be out of balance.
Answering questions is one way to help me become aware of my patterns of behaviors, thoughts, feelings and beliefs that influence how I live. I may answer some of these questions by saying: I feel calm. I have prioritized my tasks for today so I have enough time to get things done. If something interrupts me, I can finish tomorrow what I don’t finish today. I can say “no” to some social commitments. I enjoy spending time by myself. I can break down some of my work tasks into steps for today and finish the others tomorrow. I prepare for a good night’s sleep by going over my day and then releasing it. My anger doesn’t determine how I treat a loved one or a friend. Things may not be going the way I planned, but I’m not depressed. In spite of my problems, I am content. How I answer my questions helps me recognize whether I am living balanced or not.
There are times when I get out of balance in one way or another. When I’m out of balance it’s because I’m focusing too much in one or two areas of my life or spending too much time on a particular problem. I have been a workaholic so it’s something that I need to be aware of so I can take steps to get back in balance. I am in charge of my life and I make the decisions about how I spend my time, what I think, how I feel, what I believe. My life is my own and I’m ultimately responsible for living it in or out of balance.
Bringing me back into balance holistically is to be gentle and caring with myself; not being judgmental; living in the present moment; slowing down. I can improve the quality of my life by cultivating love, gratitude, wisdom, understanding and forgiveness. These are my values that I hold in my heart.
How do you define holistic living? What are your values? Are you gentle with yourself?