The following is an excerpt from Registered Family Psychologist, Michele Alignay’s latest book, “Family Goals: Embracing The Imperfections of Family Life” (by Kerygma books, 2016). Here she shares how you can find the flow in your life off the mat.
“I still have so many things to do!”, says a young mom.
“ I am too busy!”, complains a dad.
Do this. Important. Urgent. Priority. Must do. Must try. Need this. Want that.
There are a lot of these words in our daily grind , family life and relationships —plus more in between.
Have you wondered how you coped with work or career amidst the daily things you had to attend to in other areas of your life, particularly in your relationships with people important to you? A friend once recounted to me all the things she had to do as a young mom. She talked to me about her long term plans for her kids and husband, not to mention her desire to do postgraduate studies. She had ambiguous goals that were attainable. But she had a lot of apprehensions, anxieties and what-ifs.
Another friend consulted me about the increasing martial disputes she’s been having with her husband. They’re busy with their businesses and their organisations. Their teenager is acting up and starting to defy them. Their younger child is showing signs of developmental delay. They feel lost and don’t know what to do.
CONNECTING THREE IMPORTANT MATTERS
If you’re so into your work and do not have time for other matters, let’s look into the quality of your relationships. How are you relating with your immediate family? Do you have an emotional connection with them? Is there a constant exchange of communication and dialogue? Are issues and daily problems easily resolved before they escalate into a crisis?
Despite different issues, needs and realities, families like the ones I mentioned above lack insight in connecting three important matters: their realities, personal and family resources and core values.
I’ve been taking yoga asana and here’s what I’ve learned: energy and ease in flow relates with the proper alignment of posture, limbs, spine and core. When there is stiffness or lack of strength and endurance in one area, it means there is still struggle. When this happens, either the person is still toughening up in their strength, or their movements are not properly aligned to the spine, the core muscles where the whole body is connected. So the person struggles through the difficulty of the movement and flow cannot happen.
We will always have struggles and issues in our family life. But flow can happen in relationships and in the daily grind. It’s up to us to be aware of where our energy and resources (including time, money and effort) are going.
First, you have to be aware of your realities. Objectively, what is happening to you? Our problems are often not the problems themselves; they speak of bigger underlying issues. Take the misbehaviour of a child or the constant clash between you and your spouse. Is that really the problem or is it coming from elsewhere that you and your spouse don’t want to look into? Are these struggles with your daily realities manageable for you, do they zap you of joy, or do you go through life without facing these realities?
Second, what are your daily priorities? Where do your energy, time and resources go? We say, our family is our priority but we tend to “just be there” with our family to provide and do what is needed and expected. We fail to provide the intangible matters like attention, affection and affirmation. How much of these things do we give our loved ones and our very selves?
Third, if our realities are difficult and our priorities are unclear, all the more reason we should align them to our core values. Think about what’s important to you as an individual. Is it aligned with the values of your spouse and your children or other family members? If you are not clear with this third aspect, I suggest to do some reflection and identify what your values are.
ALIGNING REALITY AND PRIORITY WITH VALUES
When we are unsure of making decisions, our tendency is to look for the tangibles and the gains it will give us like financial stability, a better career opportunity or a more comfortable life. But often, most of our hopes, plans, goals and efforts do not flow because there is lack of cohesion, alignment and focus.
If we say we value our family but cannot create connections at home, how can we expect the relationship to flow? If we love our spouse, kids and friends, but fret too much about life outside, we can be unmindful of the present and ignore the presence of these people.
The saying is true: “It’s not that we are busy, but we are busy about.”
Our core values will always be the center from which our life energy will flow. If we are deadlocked in decision making, aligning our realities and priorities to our core values should make things clear. By connecting these three aspects, we can then filter our realities to support our priorities that will enable us to channel our energy and resources into what really matters to what’s in the core of our being. Maybe it’s love, family andfaith. Our core values may differ but what’s more important is we align these three to have the most satisfying relationships.
What are you busy about? Align your energies to what’s important to you and enable the flow!
Michele or Ichel is a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Guidance Counselor (RGC). Currently, she is a doctorate candidate of Ph.D. in Family Studies at the Miriam College, where she also obtained her M.A. in Family Psychology and Education. She presently balances a more flexible career, and pursuing her expertise in family and relationships by being a counselor, consultant, speaker, writer, and lecturer. She is a co-author of the breakthrough book, Growing Up Wired: Raising Pinoy Kids in the Digital Age (Anvil Publishing, 2013)