Part 2: A bit about me and what the heck is this ‘Living in Balance’ thing
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
In part 1 of this post, I provided a bit of my history with lifestyle-related illnesses and the pivotal events in my life that had made me reflect, stop and change course onto a new road of acceptance, awareness, and healing. Those years were painful not knowing what I didn’t know. I also felt like a Zombie doing the same things over and over again and neglecting my mind, body, spirit, and relationships. It was almost as if life consisted of three main things: working long hours, stuffing my face with plenty of food every day, and social gatherings which were the perfect excuse to continue stuffing my face! And I don’t say this for you or me to judge who and where I was in my life, it is an acknowledgment that I lived in my head, lived artificially and life had no meaning. What was happening was an exhibition of ignorance on how to cope, my coping mechanisms became monotonous and destructive.
In the part 1 post, I go over the key facts about my life so far:
- Overweight by approx. 45-50kg (100-110 lbs)
- Became Diabetic at age 37 (28 Aug 2012)
- Discovered Balance. It was my KEY! To recover health
- Used Life Balance’s natural principles
- Reversed Diabetes at age 42 (14 Aug 2017)
Just a little before reversing Type 2 Diabetes, in 2016, during my usual Xmas break from work, I went through a period of deep self-reflection - a mid-life crisis they call it? - and was asking myself many questions, these are just a few:
- Is this it? Is this what my life is?
- Am I happy?
- Am I fulfilled?
- Is Karla happy and fulfilled?
- What’s missing?
- What’s the meaning of life for me, for us?
- Who do I want to be?
- What am I going to do between now and retirement?
- Am I ever going to retire? What’s retirement?
- Do I have enough money for retirement already?
- How can I invest my money more wisely and get better returns?
- And the list goes on and on…
Bottom line was, I wasn’t satisfied with my life, I felt under-accomplished, underutilized, and lacked a vision for my future self. I wanted more and better. I wanted to wake up in the morning and feel energised and devote my time to something I truly loved. I also wanted to provide security to our family, especially since I was suffering from Diabetes and as my future health predictions were uncertain, I wanted to leave Karla with enough financial security and stability should the worst happened to me.
In this post I’ll cover more about the principles and philosophy I’ve adopted which got developed as I learned and applied new thinking to my type 2 diabetes recovery, developing myself and improving my well-being. My journey has no end as it is a constant learning process and adapting to what life throws at me, allowing me to intuitively navigate life, seeing opportunities that were not obvious to me before, continuously developing myself, and helping others in the process. Through this website, you have the opportunity to follow me on this journey a bit closer and benefit from my latest research, experiments, and knowledge about Living in Balance.
But first, what is this 'Living in Balance' thing?
When we think about balance, sometimes we visualise two children balancing on a see-saw in a children’s park or the old scales representing justice or a person balancing on a rope, whatever your analogy, metaphor, we all seem to have one. It is an individual concept and we relate to it in unique ways. These tend to express duality which in my opinion is missing a few things.
To define Living in Balance I want to do it first with a metaphor, to paint a picture and for that I’ll need you to engage your imagination and creativity.
Imagine having a set of three (3) colourful DIALS, each dial with a different colour of your choice and you can imagine them with different shapes and sizes, you are free to imagine them whichever way you want them to look like. These dials produce five (5) discreet tones, and they are all lined up perfectly and neatly next to each other and they are all set to 0 to start with.
Now imagine, you have these DIALS in front of you every single day, all waiting for you and then you decide to turn them up one by one with purpose, with determination, and conviction to a level of your choice. When they are turned up, a specific tone starts to sound in perfect volume for you, and as you turn up the dial the tone changes progressively to another tone.
Each day you have the opportunity to make a harmony with these three DIALS, a harmony that sings to you the songs that resonate with you, on that day, in that given moment. You intuitively turn up or down the dials every day to produce a unique song.
If you now imagine that each dial represents HEALTH, SELF, and WEALTH, you can see that we have the power to choose our focus on a daily to produce the most harmonious outcomes.
Notice that I use frequently the word: DECIDE in my language above because the power resides within you, the decisions we make, and the focus we apply is what makes that harmony meaningful and helpful for you to find your own: equilivrium. What the dials do is remind you every day that the secret of ‘Living in Balance’ for you is personal, and only you know what’s the best tune and harmony for you. Every day may change given circumstances and what life throws at you.
Now, if you wanted a formal definition, I conceptualised this definition based on my own experience and my attempt to make it generic:
“Living in balance is the result of letting go of your most unhelpful addictions and building new, helpful habits that drive focused attention in your key areas of life”
You may need to think about this definition for a bit, at first I didn’t like it but then it stuck and made sense to me. Try to see how this definition applies in your context and reality. I’m pretty sure that you may find an area of your life where you feel like you have some kind of unhelpful addiction. An unhelpful addiction is something that you do repeatedly that deep down doesn’t serve you and doesn’t help you be your better self.
I have a few unhelpful addictions still that somehow I live with, the difference is I’m conscious of them, I’m aware and I decide when and how often to go there. I would say that the secret is not to get rid of all the addictions, the secret is to acknowledge them and remove power from them.
Examples of unhelpful addictions I have or had:
- Addiction to carbs, not sugar, carbs
- Addiction to working long hours but being ineffective
- Addiction to watching unhelpful mainstream TV
- Addiction to watching mainstream news
- Addiction to being a couch potato (or a couch slouch)
- Addiction to my previous lifestyle
- Addicted to overthink and overanalyse things
I have another analogy of ‘Living in Balance’ which may help some of you bring it more to life. Before you keep reading, please stop here, relax and let your imagination go, and free yourself to explore this next bit of text as vividly as you can, with no judgement. Relax into it and let go. If you need to, close your eyes, relax for 30 seconds or so and empty your mind.
Imagine you are in a raft, on your own; you are in this raft meandering in an endless gorgeous river downstream, the most gorgeous river you have ever seen; you have a paddle or in your hands, the paddle helps you steer the raft to where you want to go: left, right or straight and you decide what to do, nobody else is there to guide you or tells you what to do, where to go.
You have treasures on each side of the riverbank, the left bank has HEALTH treasures and the right bank has WEALTH treasures. You may decide to stop on the left bank (HEALTH) and stay there for a few moments to experience them, enjoying the landscape, taking it all in, grabbing some of those treasures. Think about what those treasures could be for you for 30 seconds or so.
The sun is shining, it’s a warm day, you dip your toes in the water, the water is cool and refreshing, you are loving it, you are truly happy, content, you are smiling a lot, you feel at ease with yourself, you are connected to nature, you are one with the universe. You belong in this river of life. But the river flow continues and you decide to keep flowing down the river, and stop now on the right bank (WEALTH), and stay there for a few moments, you take it all in, you observe what’s going on, you grab some of those treasures that nature is offering you. Think about what those treasures could be for you for 30 seconds or so.
Then after visiting the left and right banks, you decide that it is time to go straight for a bit, here you are fully focused on yourself, the river, and navigating, nothing else ; no distractions, just navigating the river in the best way possible; you are relaxed, you feel calm, at ease, you feel the cool breeze and the warmth of the sun on your face; you smile; you hear birds chirping, you see butterflies everywhere, lots of them; and then you feel like you can close your eyes for a brief moment and realise that you are not steering the raft anymore, you realise calmly that the river is guiding you naturally downstream effortlessly and you feel so connected to the river that you can even control the direction without the use of the paddle anymore ; this is you at your most powerful; you can guide the direction intuitively, you don’t know how but you are doing it; you are not thinking; you are just being; accepting; fully aware; calm; happy (SELF)
After a while, you keep navigating downstream, you open your eyes and you feel very happy, and you want to hold this feeling now for as long as possible.
Please post a comment below to express your comments on the above definitions, metaphors, thoughts, and definitions of Living in Balance. Please also share your point of view of what it means to be in balance.
Why Living in Balance is good?
We come from nature & nature wants to be in balance to sustain life
I didn’t want to state the obvious here, but I will, humans come from nature. We seem to have a feeling of separation from nature these days because we live in cities and over concrete. We must never forget that we come from nature and nature always wants to be in balance in order to sustain life, like plants, animals, humans. Nature always finds a way of getting enough of something, never uses more resources than it needs.
And so, our own bodies require to be in balance to keep our bodily systems and functions working in tip top condition. This is called Homeostasis if you remember your high school biology.
homeostasis, any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival.
Recover from lifestyle originated conditions and addictions
Living in Balance has been the key for my recovery from type 2 diabetes and other related consequences like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of energy, mental fogginess, lack of resiliency against daily stress, etc.
Stress & energy management, mental clarity, focus, creativity
My energy levels have improved dramatically. I actually forgot what it was like to have energy! My senses became more acute as a consequence of the intermittent fasting regime. My mental clarity, focus and creativity relate to my regular meditation practice. Before when I was sick I was slow and lethargic, now I’m quick thinking on my feet, better response, my ability to problem solve has increased as well.
Develops the mind, the self, to become a better person every day
I have achieved a focused calmness. I’m more focused on what I want, on positive outcomes for myself and my family every day. I feel happy, content, I have possibilities and opportunities every day to make a difference to many people. I have a natural disposition to help others in need and feel like a better person for it.
Build long lasting relationships, loving, accepting and respectful
I’m now attracting the right sort of friends, the right kind of people for me. People that align my current and future self, people that vibrate at my frequency, people that help me and support me, take care of me. My relationship with Karla has also improved a lot. We used to bicker more in years past, had a lot of differences and we had to work through them with rudimentary marriage tools. Nowadays we seem aligned on what we want naturally, we spend a lot of time together, give each other support. Karla is flourishing in her career and I am as well. We are both accepting and respectful of each others strengths, acknowledge our flaws, laugh about them and live in harmony.
Build long term and lasting wealth that you need/want
We have changed our relationship with money since 2017. We have always invested and saved our money in stocks but really didn’t know how to invest into anything else. We learned how to invest our money into income generating assets in order to supplement our pension pot but also provide us with financial freedom now and in the future. We don’t feel like we will ever retire now. We are following each other’s passions and we plan to continue working until late age, of course we plan to slow down a bit but not quit completely.
Becoming happier, smile, better mood. Removes judgemental thoughts
I’ve always been a smiley chap, even in my darkest moments. Now, I continue to smile but also I find myself regularly thinking and feeling happy. I have what I need and beyond in life. I’m content with what my life and my achievements, contributions to society. Now, I’m looking to take thing to the next level and directly impact people and make a difference for them. I’m a teacher by nature and I want to pass on my knowledge and any wisdom I have developed on Living in Balance so that you can get inspired and follow a similar path. I have also reduced being negatively judgemental about other people. Used to also road rage a lot. I now see the beauty in others, I see their potential, the goodness that it is inside us all. Of course, there are still nasty people out there looking to do harm and we must be always careful. By following our intuition, we identify the good and the bad people around us and act accordingly.
My model of Living in Balance
Sometimes we need frameworks to make complex things simple to understand, easy to remember and conceptually sufficient to encapsulate their essence. Living in Balance is no exception, I created a framework for that reason that will resonate with you and help you remember the most important areas of life. Full disclaimer, this is not gospel or not meant to be gospel. It is not meant to be biblical in nature and I’m definitively not a preacher and want to impose anything here. I’ve encapsulated and brought to attention the areas I felt made a difference in my recovery from a health point of view and also expanded into a journey of self discovery, development which continues and I feel it will never stop.
I want to draw attention and focus on three main areas of life, HEALTH, SELF, and WEALTH. These are three (3) major groups. Within the five (5) major subgroups. Perhaps you feel there are areas that I have not listed here, that’s fine by me. The objective here is not to be analytically complete, as I said before, each person has their viewpoint on Living with Balance.
I would be very interested in your views in the comments section of this post. This framework has worked for me or to put it differently, this framework is the natural consequence of my focus and actions that I can now conceptually share with you.
But for now, intuitively you can see that HEALTH and WEALTH are a big part of living in a modern society, our lives are not as simple as they used to be. The majority of us are not in a savannah or a jungle anymore foraging or hunting for food. The majority of us live in the proverbial concrete jungle now where we had to learn to how to live. Life has improved immensely over the last century, we know more now than we have ever known before and it will continue to be like that. However, have we forgot how to live naturally? We belong to nature like any other plants or animals do, and I do think we have forgotten about that natural instinctive connection with nature. We as species have evolved over millennia based on changes to our diet, environment, tools, culture and social aspects, ever improving our way of living in these. Health has been and it continues to be important for us since the beginning of time, and it is fairly obvious to us that is important to be healthy in our modern society. But using a reference system that is rooted in natural methods and elements is not so obvious to us anymore. This is where I spent a lot of time reflecting, researching, experimenting and testing to improve my health and see results. This is where maintaining a natural balance between MIND, BODY and SPIRIT becomes very relevant in recovering or maintaining health. Back in 2012 when I became diabetic we didn’t know about the importance of Sleep for instance, Intermittent fasting was a nascent area linked to recovering from lifestyle borne illness like type 2 diabetes, etc.
Ok, but how about Wealth? Why that features in my framework for Living in Balance?
Well, in modern life we associate Wealth with material things, the accumulation of money, the usage of instruments of credit, the creation of money and income by participating actively or passively in the economical systems of our modern society. We created this ourselves, the economy is a human construct, sometimes very complex given its global nature. I’m not going to judge whether the economic system is good or bad, helpful or not, it simply is! It is part of our reality in most parts of the world that have a monetary system and where wealth is measured by the amount of money and assets we accumulate over our lifetimes.
Do you know somebody who their sole focus is to make money? Or say wealth features as a high priority in their life? Sometimes when we focus too much on building Wealth we tend to neglect our Health to our detriment. I’m an example of that. I used to work long hours hoping to earn more money, accumulate more money and build a successful life. The more money I got, the more I spent, I upgraded my lifestyle many times over the years because I had more income. It created a trap and a vicious circle for me that has been hard to get out of.
My relationship with money also changed. I’ve never saw it as an end in itself, I saw it as a mean to achieve an end. However, there is no denying that money in our modern society helps solve many problems. I like the idea of having lots of earning capacity, generate a big amount of money to invest it in good causes that help people and the world. Some people have a bad relationship with money, they think that money is the root of all evil, the mother of all sins. I say money is what you make of it. Money doesn’t have value, it has the value we give to it. Please research the abolition of the Gold standard in the US, UK, and other countries around the world so you can understand better how the monetary system changed since the 1970s. You can also research the meaning of FIAT currencies and how these have no intrinsic value of their own. They are a promissory note or IOU for the bearer of a central bank note like the US dollar or the British Pound. One thing I’ve noticed is that money and power will amplify your personality traits, if you are altruistic, having more money may make you a force for good and do good with that money. If you are competitive in nature, having more money may make you accumulate more because you want to make more than your family, friends, colleagues, or role models. If you are materialistic, money may make you value material things even more, bigger houses, cars, planes, yachts, there is no end. And so on. You get the point.
So, to make things simple, in my framework for Living with Balance we will give Wealth its meaning based on the monetary system we are under and the quantity of money you need is your personal choice, it could be millions, billions, or thousands. Whatever works for you. I do this also because I feel that financial education is not and has not been a priority in our educational system and that’s wrong. We need children to be literate in managing, making money, investing money. We need to be smarter with money. I will draw attention to certain areas of money that some may find they already know, but for others it could be life changing. I will also share resources that you may find useful to self-study and become better with money.
Disclaimer: if you feel that your measure of Wealth success is not by money but by other means, you can reframe the concepts using your system of wealth. I fully acknowledge that for some the topic of money can be uncomfortable, you may have a natural resistance to it or simply money for you is not important, you don’t feel like you want to participate in the economical system and you don’t need money to sustain your life and your family. I know some people are living a self-sustaining life in the wild which is remarkable and money has no utility or value.
And where does the SELF play then? Well the SELF for me is where I encapsulate the focus in me, where you must focus on yourself as a person. It is the area of personal growth, the pivot point that creates the balance for you, the way you steer your raft in my analogy earlier, the way you navigate life and gain/keep balance.
Most of my success in health and wealth has been due to time spent in my self-development, personal growth, and changing my mindset. Becoming more open to new thinking, new ideas, new methods. Open to experimenting with things at least once, see the effects, and adapt as necessary. Developing ourselves in this context allows us to acknowledge and accept our circumstances as they are and exercise compassion with ourselves to move on positively forwards. To then becoming more self-aware and take full responsibility for our better future self. Once this happens, we can start to develop a natural intuition and curiosity to help us navigate life in a more meaningful and more conscious way. To keep us on track, we implement organisational systems/tools to help us achieve our goals and also build/keep relationships to keep us accountable to ourselves by being accountable to others. I am accountable to me but I’m holding myself accountable to Karla and my fitness trainer and coach as an example.
One of the key principles of putting this framework together was to define what I call: the application of structured flow and action orientation. This framework allows me to identify the areas where I want to improve, where I want to focus on, and consequently build a plan, could be short term, medium, or long term plan. Could be all of those. There is no recipe. Consciously choosing an area as a priority to focus on.
My intention of all this is that YOU BECOME AN EXPERT ON YOURSELF. Getting to intuitively know yourself every day. Try new things. Explore. Being curious to learn and understand new ways. This has been the key for me to improve health, wealth, and self. And I hope you find this helpful in someway.
Taking small, regular steps consistently every day compounds positively towards something bigger every week, month, and year. Consistency is perhaps the most difficult aspect but also one of the most important ones in this process.
As an example to give you an idea, there are three things I do consistently every day which are integrated as part of my routine are:
- Meditate every morning for 33 mins
- Intermittently fast every day for 14-18 hours
- Walk 11,000 steps
Just these three things on their own keep me in balance daily. Having a morning routine for me has been essential to bring my best every day. Having an evening routine prepares me to have restful sleep and recover, rebuild my mind and body.
In future blog posts, I will deep dive into specific aspects of my framework, provide you more context and more anecdotal references to help you understand and hopefully inspire you into action, to learn more about yourself and make you reflect on this topic of Living in Balance which I’m fascinated with.
Take care, Namaste!