Right now, you’re wasting a tremendous amount of energy in the extremes. Most of my executive clients occupy this space when we start working together. When you spend your energy trying to maintain the extremes, nothing goes forward. You get stuck.
Let’s Take the Example of a Sugar Addict
She always has a Jolly Rancher or piece of bubble gum in her mouth. You’ll often hear her planning for an office party, or a special occasion–forever discussing desserts and entertainment. She’s the one asking the dinner party at the end of a night, “Are we sharing the crème brûlée?” A meaningful percentage of her life is involved in eating, procuring, obtaining, or thinking about sugar. She’s very busy trying to find opportunities to let sugar influence her routine and responsibilities.
“Sure, I’ll host the Girl Scout meetings at my house!”
“Sure, let’s work after hours. I’ll order Georgetown Cupcakes.”
Now Imagine That She Decides to Quit
If, a year later you asked her what she did that year, she’d tell you that she quit sugar. That was her life for the majority of the year. First she tried running herself ragged with exercise, then she went to a seven day detox center. Then she went to a hypnotherapist. Then she went to a 14 day detox center. She had to recruit her entire family into the project, she had to turn her house over. Because the pendulum was so far to one extreme with her sugar addiction, it had to swing in the opposite extreme in order for her to stop needing sugar. Both extremes were a tremendous waste of time, energy, and effort that could have gone into more productive aspects of life.
When you spend your energy trying to maintain the extremes, nothing goes forward. The more extreme you are, the less forward movement there is. All of your energy is being spent serving the extremes. The path toward mastery is in the middle because that’s the place where the energies are balanced. But how do you stop the pendulum from swinging to the outer edges? Amazingly, by leaving it alone. It won’t keep swinging to the extremes unless you feed the extremes with energy. How do we not feed the extremes with energy? By choosing center. By coming back to center. By anchoring our day with healthy habits that ground us, feed us, support us, and lift us. By proxy of showing up you will follow the middle.
I call this “hitting your mark” because if you show up to the event, the rest falls into place. This is what I mean when I talk about anchors. Our anchors pave the way. They provide the answer. We go from one to the next throughout the day—finding center, staying centered.
‘Anchors’ is my word for ‘habits.’ They are the daily healthy practices to which we commit—no matter how we’re feeling or what’s going on around us—that ground us in the present tense and fill us over time. Anchors are the pillars of a healthy life. Hitting them is non-negotiable. Often our emotions can sabotage our greater goals because change is hard and our emotions don’t respond well to “hard.” That’s fine. Anchoring the day with healthy habits that do and don’t have anything to do with eating will domino and, over time, compound into wide-sweeping change.
Once you notice yourself doing things that are healthy for you, that support your health and greater goals, that you once-before only imagined yourself wishing you could accomplish—you’ll begin to see yourself from a new perspective, and you’ll feel inspired by seeing yourself change. You’ll notice the change by the way you orient yourself in the world. That is, by the things you do, the actions you take, what you’re eating, how you’re getting it, the language you’re using, the subjects of your fascination, what you speak about at parties.
You’ll notice that the way you feel is directly connected to how you’re supporting yourself, how you’re treating yourself. Rather than trying to out think or outperform our bodies, we find the middle ground between body and mind. The two work together. The sweet spot is the middle. It’s the place of harmony, where there is no energy pushing in either direction.
You come to center by not participating in the swings to the extremes, and your energy will naturally find balance. You will become much clearer because so much energy is flowing up in you. The experience of being present in each moment will become your natural state. You won’t be fixated on food or caught up in thoughts about food: you won’t be living in the extremes.
There is an invisible thread that passes through everything. All things move quietly through that center balance. That is what the ancient Buddhists call Tao. It is really there. It is there in your relationships, in your diet, in the energy of all things. You will get there in time, training as we do—unconsciously, effortlessly. For now, we have our anchors to keep center.
The extremes create their opposites. Find the balance in the center and you will live in harmony.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.