If you live in the United States, you’re already familiar with our cultural value of hard work and discipline. Indeed, it can be extremely rewarding to direct your energy in work that you truly believe in. Many of our greatest creations are the result of focus, dedication, and… yes, hard work!
Although rigorous work can be deeply fulfilling, it’s also important to not lose sight of our own personal needs. As Qi Gong practitioners, our awareness of self can prompt us to ask an important question: In the midst of a work-centric culture, how can we ensure that our own well-being isn’t compromised? This blog post will discuss our relationship to work, and how we can find the right balance between Yin and Yang in our work life.
Our Relationship To Work
What does work mean to you? Is it sustenance, financial well-being, connection with others, or a way to give back through sharing your gifts? For many of us, it represents several of those, and is the object of much of our focus. With such a significant percentage of our time dedicated to work, it only makes sense to examine how it fits into our life as a whole.
One question we can ask ourselves is “how does my work-life affect my personal life?” If you’re like most Americans, you might feel that you’re constantly wrestling to find the right balance between your work life and your personal life. When work becomes stressful, as it can for many of us, we react by upping our efforts via longer days and shorter evenings.
If we take a step back, it’s not difficult to see that working harder and longer is a single-pronged solution that doesn’t really work. When we do this, our work quality decreases and we compromise our vitality, which is essential for long term sustainability. Instead of only adding Yang energy to the equation, we must also cultivate our Yin as well. Soon, we’ll talk about how we can do this, but first, let’s take a look at why a work imbalance isn’t even effective for your work life.
Balance Is Power
In essence, an imbalance toward working too much compromises everything, including work itself. In extreme cases, people who identify in unity with their work can end up self-destructing when things go awry. It’s very sad, and highlights the importance of balance. A person with all Yang and no Yin can’t continue to live.
Even if most of us don’t encounter a singular traumatic event that reflects our imbalance, many of us are slowly depleted through our work. Stress, anxiety, and frustrations from work can leach into all aspects of our personal life. The first place this usually shows up is in our relationships with loved ones. The stereotype of the hard worker who doesn’t have time for their family is all too common in the United States. Another area of life that suffers is our health. It’s an unfortunate situation when healthy meals and exercise give way to more hours in front of the computer.
The paradox of this imbalance is that your work isn’t actually boosted as a result of the compromises you make to your health and relationships. Your actual productivity is reduced also. This may not always be obvious since vigorous individuals can often push onward and withstand the consequences of imbalance… for the short term.
In the long term, no-one can escape the universal principle of balance. The universe is always returning to a state of equilibrium, and as a part of the universe, so are we… whether we like it or not.
Taoist sages understood the nature of the universe and sought to find harmony with it. Rather than value short term sprints of energy that result in imminent depletion, they viewed sustainability and longevity as the source of wisdom and happiness. To them, a quick burst of work energy was no more valuable than a candle that burns out and leaves you stranded in the dark.
If we can apply Taoist wisdom to our work life, we can learn that balance is essential for both happiness and long term success in our work. You can think of hard work like fire. Fire in your stove can heat your home and cook your food. However, put fire on your roof and you’ll burn down your home. Similarly, hard work can bring you great sustenance, or lead you to burn out. How you choose to work is up to you, but it’s important that Yin and Yang stay balanced.
How To Find Balance
Now that we’ve talked about why it’s important to find balance, what are some practices you can do to experience it more fully?
First, you can take a step back and really examine what activities help you to feel relaxed yet energized. For many people, exercise, Qi Gong, and spending time with loved ones are great ways to get revitalized when work is stressful. The simple process of planning these activities into your schedule and then making them a priority can go a long way. This suggestion may seem obvious, but no conversation about balance could be complete without it.
In addition to cultivating a healthy routine, it’s also important to find balance in your moment-to-moment activities as well. In his popular book, The Art of Learning, chess prodigy and martial arts champion, Josh Waitzkin, discusses important strategies for maintaining focus and sustained endurance. One of these is the practice of finding moments within rigorous activities to relax and be still. By learning how to pause and check-in, even while in motion, we can navigate life with greater ease and enriched vitality.
Lasty, a consistent Qi Gong practice can work wonders in all aspects of your life. The first few minutes of your morning have a profound effect on all aspects of being, and Qi Gong helps you to begin each day feeling relaxed yet energized. In addition to feeling happier, your practice will also enable you to go about your workday with greater focus and inspiration.
Building a consistent Qi Gong practice also helps you to cultivate a heightened awareness of your body, mind, and emotions. This allows you to be in touch with your moment-to-moment feelings and to respond accordingly (rather than react). When you encounter a difficult experience you’ll be better able to pause, check in, and then move forward with renewed vitality and energy.
How can you start cultivating a consistent Qi Gong practice? At Holden QiGong we realize it isn’t always easy, so we offer the perfect program that requires just seven minutes per day!
30 Day Challenge
One of Lee’s most popular courses is the 30 Day Challenge! In this program, Lee offers thirty unique classes that each span about seven minutes. They’re designed specifically to help you start each day with more energy and less stress. The program is also an amazing way to heighten your moment-to-moment awareness of self, and learn how to restore inner peace throughout your workday.
Nothing can replace consistency. At just seven minutes per day, this course makes it as easy as possible to stick to your commitment of a regular Qi Gong practice. Even though seven minutes isn’t a long time, it’s enough to shift your energy and create a habit that can last a lifetime.
This program is extremely affordable and powerfully uplifting, so click on the banner below to learn more and start today!
By Ian Drogin