Type the words ‘living style’ and any combination of other related keywords into Google and you get a list of sites about home design, fashion, cars, pets and all the newest trends associated with them. These are the accumulated trappings that reflect our lifestyle. Lifestyle is the visible evidence of our preferences, our tastes, our wealth. So what kind of question is “What’s your living style”? And why give it your attention?
Well, the word ‘living’ is the present participle of the verb ‘live’. It suggests activity and interactivity. What we are doing, experiencing, living, now. If you’re like most working folk in mainstream society your present reality is a balancing act between work stress, family responsibilities, friendships and untold other obligations. And if you’re like most basically stable but somewhat frazzled folk, the prolonged strain often leaves you with a vague but troublesome sense of disconnect from your soul’s center.
If this describes your typical day, it might be time to examine, even define your living style and get it under control. Shape your inner life space so that the living is good.
Most of us think in terms of living a long, full term life of about 80-85 years. In that span we go through various seasons. Each one brings its own set of concerns, challenges and joys. We only get one go round with each, and we are responsible to experience each one fully. But because we are human and driven to constantly learn, improve and grow, we’ll push that instinctual ambition to the limit of our known available resources. And resources we have–to the point of information overload.
So how do you marry your frenzied life with all its necessary daily activities with the season in which we now live, to create a more balanced, more satisfying living style? Consider your present season. What about this season is worth cherishing? And what within this season would you like to accomplish that is compatible with what you cherish?
Deep Style Lite
Are you young, unattached, and loving your freedom? Want to study, travel, or a combination of the two? Then maybe rather than allowing a new relationship develop–just because the opportunity presents itself, you put it on hold. Emotional ties can wait. But maybe your freedoms can’t. Respect your new found focus and remain true to it in the overall scheme of your dreams. Save for airfare rather than blow it on a city weekend. Instead, spend that weekend immersed in plans and activities that support your present passion. Your style of living has suddenly taken a shape appropriate to the conditions of your season.
Do you want to adopt a healthier living style? Better eating habits, a regular exercise routine? You’ve taken the obvious steps. Emptied the freezer of ice cream, joined a gym, changed your bed time to allow more sleep. But unless you have seriously considered the pattern of your living style, your initial efforts will be compromised.
Have you closed the chapter (temporarily) on Wednesday night poker and beer in favor of an evening with someone who can encourage your efforts? Are you still shopping for shoes on your lunch break, when the extra money could go toward healthy groceries? Did you earlier in the year commit to journaling in the morning, but now find it impossible?
The conflicting priorities demand concerted planning. Envision the sacrifices and make the adjustments before they are staring you in the face. Then give yourself permission to presently and fully engage in a living style that will ferry you through to success.
The principles of creating a living style apply to all seasons. A newly awakened concern for social justice, a political movement, the environment, all call for modifications. How can you really live with concern for sea life when you continue to indiscriminately use plastic?
When you make the right adjustments, your energy is brought into synch with your values, and the subconscious conflicts that plague you are released to create more forward momentum. This will show up in newly formed relationships or a more tightly crafted budget to support your goals.
Seasons of motherhood, fatherhood, spiritual exploration, educational growth, building a house, learning your family heritage, reading every book by Tolstoy, are all seasons. By identifying what you treasure within these seasons, and linking them to the parallel activities of daily life, you will create an integrated inner landscape and a harmonious, comfortable living style.