Several years ago, when Oprah Winfrey turned 60 years old, she penned an insightful memoir called "What I Know For Sure." I love her words of wisdom in the book, especially her advice on the importance of working hard and "playing/resting well." She calls this the "yin and yang of a balanced life."
Like Oprah, I take my job ... and my pleasures... very seriously. I work hard but I also play well and rest well. Working hard to attain something you want, a goal or financial security, is a good thing. Playing well, doing something you love with a sweet contentment in your heart and soul, serves as a positive force in one's life. And resting well completes the balance, bringing tranquility and peace.
Doing everything from laughing, loving, or eating with gusto ... playing well... allows us to exist in a state of joyous bloom.
Playing well doesn’t have to be complicated. For me, it can be a simple moment of gratitude for a shared cup of coffee with my husband. Or an inspirational walk with my dogs on a sunlit wooded trail in East Harbor State Park. Reading recipes is a form of mindful meditation for me, and the sizzle of freshly chopped vegetables as I prepare our meal is a reminder of how bountiful my life is.
Of course, playing well can be decadent, too. A divinely prepared birthday feast at my favorite restaurant, Chez Francois in Vermilion, is a moment of culinary joy. Practicing restorative yoga on the warm sand of a Maui beach leaves me steeped in joyful bloom. Sunbathing on an anchored skiff atop the Cerulean waters off the coast of Italy? It is a moment of most healing rest.
Travel is my most favorite form of playing well. American travel journalist, Jonah Lehrer says, “We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed and that changes everything."
Coming home from vacation is like coming out of Savasana and into fetal position - I feel reborn, deeply rested, and ready to let my creative juices flow again! We need the energy of pleasure and the energy of play to live well. It is the yin and yang of balance.
But if you seem to be working hard, with steam rolling out of both ears, struggling to keep all the balls in the air and finding no time for play, consider the Eisenhower Matrix, developed by our 34th President. During my working life when work has spilled over into my play, I’ve found it useful. It’s pretty simple. Sort the tasks and demands of your work life by urgency and importance using the following four key strategies:
DO FIRST (urgent and important, to be done today or soon)
DO LATER (not so urgent and important, can wait and be scheduled)
DELEGATE (ask for help from others to get it done)
ELIMINATE (neither urgent nor important, say no and don't do it at all)
The Eisenhower Matrix was developed over 60 years ago, and since then, studies have shown a person can free up as much as 10 extra hours a month using it! Just imagine how much YOGA you can do with an 10 extra hours per month. Or how many more of your son's baseball games you can attend. You'd find more time to linger at the art exhibit, visit your parents back home! Or go on that girl's retreat you've been talking about with college roommates. You may even use the extra time to do absolutely nothing.
Work well. Play well. Rest well. And Namaste well, lovelies!