Light Yourself Up Daily by Striking a Critical – Yet Simple – Balance
All day long we are engaged in a flow of input and output. How balanced this flow is determines how grounded, healthy and productive we actually are.
Input is all the ways we feed ourselves. This can be learning, exercise, meditation or creative play, to name a few. Output is how we contribute to the world throughout our day, usually via our work and our families.
Or imagine it this way: Input enlivens and replenishes our mind or body. It is flexing the feminine muscle in all of us – a flow of life energy inward. Output is a process of expending creative or physical energy, being of service in some way, etc. This ‘doing’ is how we exercise our masculine – the flow of life energy out.
Why the Balance Is Important
If you read often, you’re a better writer. If you research, you are a sharper teacher. If you listen, you have more wisdom to share. If you lift weights your body will serve you longer. When we allow for input, the quality of our output increases.
In other words, you’ll be better at your job.
But most people I work with spend a disproportionate time exerting and serving (or seeking). We are engaged in work-related activities for a huge swath of our day, most days, due to the way society is designed. So you get home feeling depleted and what do you want to do? Unwind with a drink or some TV. Maybe you scroll half-consciously through social media. Or you’re just cranky.
But the very things we reach for when we’re tired indeed deplete us even further. Too much screen time and our minds turn to mush. Booze negates any feelings of progress we might have made that day. Food never fills that gaping nourishment void of input.
Consider the number of hours you are engaged in output per day. For many of us this is at least 8. Now consider the number of hours you are actively engaged in input on an average day – be honest.
Many of us are in an unsustainable tilt toward output on a regular basis. And yet, if you can get in the habit of reaching for truly nourishing behaviors when you are inclined to check out, you will become invigorated and satiated (I promise). You have the ability to give this to yourself – no outside entity necessary.
Here are some simple ideas on how, and I recommend hitting all three daily for optimal vitality and joy:
- Brisk morning walk
- Regular movement practice, muscle exertion or dance (here’s my favorite)
- Breathwork – simple techniques can bring you right back into your body anytime, anywhere, I swear
- Read! A mind must be used if it’s to be kept sharp (and open).
- Play! Allow creativity to flow freely with art, music, etc.
- Listen – tune into content that excites your curiosity in all mediums (not the news)
- Meditate – not to be confused with relaxing
- Schedule bodywork: massages, acupuncture, etc.
- Do something you consider luxurious, like taking a steam or hot bath
Make a list – what do you do for input? For output? Decide what you’d like to make time for and schedule it into your week.
I’ll venture to say that input is as important as rest. This is the holy grail of youthful vigor and abundance upon which it is possible to live your life richly and give of yourself healthily without spending or changing much.
Onward… and inward!