The Wheel of Life & Using Our Past Self as a Muse

Welcome to she She Breathes, where the goal of every podcast episode is to inspire and empower women to up level and lean into the best versions of themselves. I hope you enjoy.

Hello, my friends, and happy Saturday. Saturday, as you can tell. Have a bit of a chest cold, which is annoying because it’s been quite a while since I’ve had any kind of stuffy head thing going on but no fever and I think I might be on the tail end of it, but one of the my younger son had a little bit of a cough last week so maybe I called it. Maybe it’s just a cold. Never know these days with all of us trying to boost back up our immunity after many, many months.

Sort of hibernating. But anyway, yesterday we had some crazy, crazy rain and wind. Lots of trees came down and Matthew went on a run this morning and there was like a huge, massive tree that had fallen, like, across an entryway into a neighborhood. It was bizarre. But we lost power for a while last night since we didn’t have any power.

But our fire is on. I mean, our fireplace is on gas. So we turned the fire on and played Scrabble and it was super fun. We love Scrabble around here and we have started following the actual Scrabble rules. So did you know that technically you can only play the game for 54 minutes?

So I set my phone timer for 54 minutes, and what was crazy is that by the 54 minutes mark, we had almost used every single tile. I think I had three on my little thing and he maybe had two. And so they’ve probably done research that shows that 54 minutes is the time it takes to play a full game of Scrabble. And also, you’re supposed to only have three minutes per turn, so you can’t just sit there and wait in eternity for someone to finish or to figure out a word. So that’s another rule.

And then you can also use one of your turns to trade in tiles. So if you have last night I had a bunch of eyes, like three eyes, so on my turn, I could trade in all three eyes or two of them for two new tiles. So I thought that was pretty cool. And I had a word last night that was 78 points. So if you play Scrabble, you know that’s insane.

So Matthew put the word clean and then I added ing to make cleaning, and then we were both waiting on an S so we could have cleanings, and I got the S, and so it ended up being like a ton of points. Plus there were two triple words within the word, so super fun. So we did that and the power came up on eventually. And today the sun is out and you all know how much I love the sunshine. I think most of us.

I would think that a lot of people love the sunshine. I know that I do. So here, in a little while, I’m going to take our crazy little pup Ringo on a walk. It’s like my favorite thing to do because, I don’t know, it’s just one of those simple pleasures in life that I really enjoy. I don’t listen to a podcast or anything when I’m walking with him because I just like to focus on my surroundings and what he’s doing and I try to teach him some cues and stuff.

I try to this way and sit at a stoplight and things like that. So when we’re walking, I try to focus on him so he can learn some things instead of focusing on the podcast. Tonight we are going to the Southern Conference basketball tournament in Asheville. It’s a really fun annual event that we have been to many times. And She Breathes alma mater is Watford College in Spartanburg.

Watford is in that conference and they always do really well. So it’s like the big basketball tournament for that conference and it’s always held in Asheville. So Matthew and I have been going together to this event since 2018. So it’s kind of like a fun tradition. Sometimes all the kids go, sometimes some of the kids go, sometimes just he and I go because there’s games all weekend.

So it’s like a full weekend of games. Women and men’s basketball and the women made the championship game, so we’re all going to that tomorrow. And I just love the energy around college sports. So there’s another college, Western Carolina is in that conference and they’re like our local closest college to us, so that’s fun too. And then like, Etsu is in that conference and they’re another school that a lot of kids around here go to.

So we often see a lot of people that we know at this big basketball tournament. But yeah, and so funny thing, I remember when we went to the tournament in March of 2020, it’s always the first weekend of March. And so we went in March of 2020 and then the world shut down because of COVID So I always remember that. That’s one of the places that we were right before everything shut down. I think a lot of people remember that weekend prior.

So that weekend prior for us, we were at the basketball tournament and we went to see a concert at an Asheville music hall with the band Fruition, which is one of our favorite bands. So we did that all that weekend. We went to all those basketball games and we went to the concert. And then the following Friday, they closed schools and told everybody to shelter in place and all of that craziness. But it’s already March 4.

How did that happen? It’s already March 4. This is my first podcast of the month. And all the days are flying by as always. So that’s crazy.

So this month on she Breathes, I’m going to focus on six broad sectors of our lives. So I don’t like to use the word balance because I feel like it makes us think that all the aspects of our lives have to be like even. So I don’t like to use that word balance because it feels like unattainable. So I like to use the word maybe like harmony because sometimes our relationships may be taking center stage and our career may be on the back burner or maybe our health taken center stage and our relationships are having to be kind of put to the side. So anyway, I don’t like the word balance because it makes it feel like work life balance makes it feel like they have to be totally even.

But if you kind of say like work, life, harmony, then it feels more like even if they’re not even, it still feels good. It still feels like things are harmonized and things are feeling good. So for this month, last month we focused on relationships and love and self love and all of that. And this month we’re going to kind of focus on these six broad areas of our lives, which I’m going to get into here in just a minute. But again, when we start talking about this, I want you to think about harmonizing all these areas instead of trying to find balance among them all because that can become overwhelming.

So these six sectors of our lives include health, relationships, spiritual and personal development, career, family and friends, and money. And when you take all these components and put them together, they create our one and only precious life. And so throughout the month of March, I would love for you to dig into these six areas. Just be really honest with yourself. Be really honest with yourself about where you are in each area.

And here in a minute I’m going to give you this really interesting and fun self assessment exercise that will help you determine which area of your lives are not in harmony. And then we’re going to dig in. All right, let’s get started.

May have heard of something called the Wheel of Life. It was created by Paul J. Meyer in the early 60s. And there are various models for this. You’ll see various graphics for the Wheel of Life, but I’m going to use a very simple one and it includes the six broad categories that I mentioned earlier.

Because before you can figure out what you need to do to create more harmony in your life, you need to conduct a self assessment. So it’s like with anything, you need to know where you are before you can get to where you want to go. So it doesn’t have to be complicated at all. You can print one out or you can simply draw a circle, like on a piece of printing paper. Just draw a circle and then split it up as evenly as you can into six triangles like a pie.

So six even slices of a pie. And then within each slice you will write the title of each component. And so you will label them with health, relationships, spiritual, personal development, career, family and friends and then money. These areas are also listed in the show notes in case you want to refer back. And I’m not going to get way into the weeds with the exercise itself because you may not have time to do it right this minute, but I’m going to talk about it.

And then if you wanted to relisten to this podcast later, then you can kind of go through and do the exercise and pause when you need to and whatnot. So before we begin thinking about each area, I want to give you a little descriptor because you may be confused about relationships versus family and friends, et cetera. Okay? So health, health is your personal health. So it involves physical, emotional and mental health.

And basically it’s how good you feel about you and your body and where you are on your health journey. Relationships. So this means the core relationship in your life. So it might be a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse. And if you’re not currently in a relationship, you can think about the relationship you have with yourself.

How is the relationship with yourself? How do you feel about yourself? What’s the self talk that’s going on in your head? And if you have a relationship with a significant other, you can focus on both or you can split it up into two micro categories. Like, for instance, maybe you have a really good relationship with yourself, but the relationship with your significant other is struggling or vice versa.

So that’s relationships, spiritual and personal development, you can choose the label that feels right to you. If it’s spirituality, that’s fine. If it’s your faith, that’s fine. Or if you want to do something more long lines of personal development which may be yoga or some sort of just self development type of like. For me, I do a lot with the new paradigm, which is manifestation law of attraction, listening to the inner voice like Source Energy.

It’s all basically God in the universe. That we’re all connected, that we’re all connected, that there is a higher power. And I do a lot of I love to listen to podcasts on those topics, so that’s where I would go with that. But again, this is all personal to each individual. So whatever spiritual and personal development would mean to you.

And then of course, career, which would be your profession, whether you’re a business owner, you work for a company, you’re self employed, or don’t forget if you’re a mom or dad who’s currently staying home to care for the family, that is a career. If anyone’s done it for any amount of time, you know how extremely challenging it is to manage a household and take care of kids. It is definitely a full time occupation and one that does not get enough accolades. So just that would be your career if that’s what you’re doing at this time in life. And then family and friends would include parents, siblings, extended family, in laws and friends.

So that’s how that differs from that core relationship in your life. And then money of course includes all aspects of finances, so wealth, investments, fixed assets, bonuses, salary, recognitions, how you’re budgeting debt, all of that kind of stuff. That would include money. So these six categories culminate to create the harmony that we feel in life. Okay, so in your chart, now that you’ve made your chart, so you’ve got your chart, it looks like a pie with six slices and you’ve written these categories down.

And so then what you do is you prioritize. So number one needs the most work and number six needs the least work.

Think about this as the thing in your life that needs the most immediate attention. So these things are going to shift and evolve constantly depending on where you are with your goals and what’s going on in your life. And keep in mind this isn’t what’s most important to you, it’s what needs the work. So for instance, for most of us, our family and friends are important to us. So don’t feel guilty if that’s not number one.

It doesn’t mean that they’re not important to you. It means that at this time in your life, things are going really well in that category. So if you have really good relationships with your extended family, you have a great friend group, you have a good relationship with your in laws. That doesn’t really need much work right now, it’s just sort of floating along. So that might be number six, but then you may have a falling out with someone in that group and then it rises up to number one.

So things are going to shift and move like that and that’s kind of what makes the self assessment really cool.

Okay, so just keep that in mind. If money is great right now, if you’re just financially well off, then things are flowing and you’re just making money while you sleep and that’s not an issue at all. Again, that would be number six. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your money or that the money is offering opportunity in your life, it’s just that’s not where your core focus needs to go. So after you have prioritized and rated each, after you have prioritized them, then look at each area individually.

Okay, so you’ve got your prioritization list, but then you look at each one. So you would look at relationships, you would look at spiritual, personal development and health. And then within each slice you’re going to rate it from one to ten.

There could be some things that would be ten. Of course, maybe you’re a millionaire and you have a bunch of assets and no debt. So maybe at this point in your life it’s a ten. Most things will fall somewhere on the continuum between one and ten. If something is just really bad in your life, I mean, if it’s a one, that definitely is worrisome.

And so of course that would be number one on your priority list to focus on. So, yeah, so go through each of the six slices and rate them from one to ten about where you feel like they are. So one being really poor and ten being excellent. So rate each one. Okay.

Then after you have prioritized the six areas and have given each one a rating, you’re going to pick two focus areas that need the most attention right now. So maybe that’s your core relationship and your health. Maybe that’s money and friends and family. So whatever they are, pick two for now that you’re going to focus on, because we can’t focus on all of them at one time because that’s when we start to feel overwhelmed and discombobulated and like, oh, I can’t get all this done. I can’t make everyone happy and make myself happy.

So pick two. Let me give you a couple of examples here. If health was rated as your first priority, okay, so after you’ve picked the two that need to most that need the most work, then you’re going to create the goals. So these are the examples I’m giving you. So say that health is one of the ones that you want to focus on.

So your goals could be something like increase hydration, begin exercising four times a week, or reduce the amount of processed foods from your diet. So those would be your actionable goals. Okay? And then if relationship is your number one or two on your prioritization list, create goals such as going on a date, like one night a week with your significant other, so making some sacred time together. Or if you’re wanting to find a significant other, maybe your goal would be to find a dating app that feels right for you or involve yourself in more social activities to create more opportunities to meet people.

So those are two examples for relationships and health. One more. If your focus area is money, some goals would be create a budget, pay off a credit card, meet with a financial planner. Okay? So these goals need to be actionable.

All right? So self assessment here. You’ve made your pie chart with the six slices. Then you’ve gone into each slice and rated them. You’ve made your prioritization list, and then you’ve picked two areas that need the most work in this immediate moment.

Then you create goals for those two areas, okay? Everything else is just going to keep flowing along like it’s been flowing along. And you’re going to put some really concerted effort toward those top two areas that you chose. Now if number one is just really bad, like say your health is so bad that you have no energy, you are fatigued all the time. You may just want to focus on that one aspect until it gets to a better place.

You don’t have to focus on two. This is all very individualized. Then once you kind of get some new habits with this behavior. So say once you get into a good budget and you pay off a credit card and you’re feeling really good about your money, that one would slide to the bottom and you would pick another focus area to move to the top. And some of these don’t take very long to improve.

So always kind of be self assessing like, okay, well that’s actually feeling really good right now. So keep doing whatever you’re doing there because it has become a habit. And then move and shift to another area of the will. All right, the will of life, don’t forget. So from there you’ll keep moving around the will, shifting and tweaking until you begin to develop positive habits in all areas and some harmony evolves and inevitably there’s going to be some setbacks here and there because that’s just life and being human.

So when that happens, you readjust, you may have to go back to another spoke and et cetera. So much of what’s impactful about the will of life is simply having the knowledge of where you are, how you’re feeling about these aspects and where you need to go. And even just something as small as calling an old friend and having a conversation and reminiscing about old times that could make that friends and family piece of the pie feel so much better that that one thing allows you to move on to another piece of the pie for a little while. Again, the goal is to create harmony, not balance.

So before we move into specific topics throughout the month of March, I really, really encourage you all to do this will of life exercise. I did it this morning and it is so interesting and it also really makes you feel good about the things that are going well and it helps you be grateful for the things that are going well and also pat yourself on the back for some of the accomplishments that you’ve made. And so throughout the month of March, we’re going to be focusing on elements of the six aspects. And so it may be health related, it may be money related, it may be relationship related, but again, these are the six aspects that really make our life feel like it’s harmonized. And so throughout the month of March we’re going to be talking about that.

But I really would suggest that you guys do your own will of life exercise so that you can see where you are, so that certain episodes may be more impactful or maybe you can help others in your life do their own will of life to see where they are, et cetera. And as far as your goals go, I’m going to shift a little bit to talk about the goals that you’re creating. And I suggest this is something that I love to do when I’m feeling defeated or overwhelmed. I like to call forth times in my life from the past where I’ve done something, I’ve learned a new skill, or I’ve overcome a challenge, or I’ve gotten through something really difficult, or I’ve had a success. And so I pulled from my own life.

I use my past self as my muse and so I take these situations and events and accomplishments from my own past to energize myself in the current moment.

Using our past selves to inspire current selves is extremely effective because oftentimes, right when we’re close to achieving a goal that’s when we give up. Because we just feel like this isn’t working or just or right when we’re close to just like that next thing. Maybe it’s making more money or wanting to meet the love of your life. Oftentimes it’s just I don’t know why we self sabotage but right when we’re about to that cusp of the turning point we often give up and that’s usually when we need to keep going. So again use situations from your own life or things that you’ve learned or accomplished to help you do this.

I promise it’s a really fun thing I am always trying to achieve. I didn’t realize it was kind of a will of life type thing but I’m constantly self assessing. Constantly. If something feels out of sync within my will of life I just naturally gravitate toward that. And so I was having some major right before I went plant based eating and basically I would say I’m vegan.

I mean very occasionally like twice a month I’ll eat fish but I had a reason for doing that. So basically I was having some gut issues like irritable bowel syndrome and just like heartburn and I could tell that when I ate a lot of protein I was trying to do the low carb, high protein thing to keep fit or whatever. And I think our bodies just that’s not how we’re meant to eat long term as human beings. And so I think eventually, when you eat like that, your body starts to do weird things, because our body actually needs a lot of carbohydrates to function correctly, and we need a lot of easily digestible foods like fruits and vegetables and grains. And when you’re doing that low carb, high protein way of eating, you don’t get enough carbohydrates.

And so our body starts to hold on to things, the few carbohydrates that we are getting and we actually start to plateau or gain weight. Anyway, long story short, I decided to try plant based eating and I did it mostly because I kind of want to see if I could do it and also for health reasons. And now I love it so much that I would never go back to eating high protein, low carb, and I am maintaining my weight. And it’s the thing for me, but I wouldn’t have done that had it not been kind of like a health thing. Currently, I don’t feel like I need to work on my exercise regimen a bit.

I mean, I’m doing yoga every day and that’s great, and I love it for my mental health, but I’m missing that endorphin rush and I need new tennis shoes. And of course I’ve got this bunion on my foot that I’m trying to decide if I’m going to get surgery or do anything about it. It’s not affecting it’s not causing pain when I’m running, but I just don’t want to make it worse. But I could get in the pool and swim. I could bike, you know, so my goal, one of my goals for the next couple of weeks is to get back into an actual workout regimen that’s like endorphin inducing and to continue with yoga.

So that’s one of the things I’m going to be working on. Also, I’m currently working on three different novels, and they’re in three different stages. One of them is completely done, completely edited, but I just have shelved it for a minute because I’m not sure the direction I want to go with it. One of them, I’m almost finished writing it, and the other one, I’m in the planning stages, like doing character development. And so when I start to get overwhelmed, like, I’ve got all these prod.

Plus I do freelance marketing for someone and I write for a newspaper. I write for magazines. So I’m doing this podcast and I can get overwhelmed with all the projects I have going on. And so when I start to feel a little anxious or like, oh my gosh, this is like too much to do, I think about other times in my life. So I wanted to give you a few examples of some of these situations that I call forth that help me, because some of them are very small things, but they still make me really proud.

Okay, so these are some examples. Learning to twirl the baton. I joke around about it. Now, the fact that I was a baton twirler during my childhood. But honestly, it’s very hard.

It’s very hard to twirl the baton. And so even though I joke around about it, it is something that I’m proud of because very few people that I know can twirl the baton. I mean, I used to could throw the baton in the air, do a no hand of cartwheel an aerial and catch the baton. No way I could do that now, but I used to do that. And when I think about it, I’m like, oh my gosh, I cannot believe that I used to do that.

So I kind of feel proud of myself. So twirling the baton, that is one of the things I think back on in the past. And I’m like, I can’t believe I did that. Okay, learning how to snowboard. Similarly, when I was around 15, I learned how to snowboard.

And the first few times it was absolutely terrible. I cracked my tailbone, I was bruised, I was sore, but I kept going because I really wanted to do it. That was when snowboarding kind of just came out and became really popular and all my friends were doing it, and I was like, I’m going to do it. Then it became this super fun hobby that I continued, that I still continue. I still snowboard, even though it’s not the greatest thing to do when you’re 43 years old, because it feels dangerous, but I still do it occasionally.

But I do think back to when I first learned how to snowboard, and I’m really proud of myself. So another one is waiting tables. I never forget I was a junior at NC State, maybe a sophomore, when I started waiting tables at this little pizza place across from the campus. And the first shift, I got my first table drinks, and then I just sat down at, like, where all the servers were like, waiting, and my boss came over and he’s like, you have two other tables in your section that are just sitting there. And he was like an older Creek restaurant owner, and he was like, frustrated.

I was like, oh, I didn’t even realize I thought I just had the one table. I didn’t realize I had a whole section with all these tables. And I’ll never forget that light bulb going off, like, oh, I got you. And so then it’s like over the course of the next couple of weeks, I figured it out and it became, like, super fun. And I ended up, I think, waiting tables.

It just correlates really well with the way that my brain works. My brain is constantly all over the place, and I’m a fast talker, I’m a fast doer. I like the hustle and bustle of a restaurant. And so I ended up waiting tables for the next six years, like all the way through undergrad, all the way through graduate school and even into early adulthood. I waited tables until I finally became a teacher and got a regular career.

And I just couldn’t find the time, had kids, et cetera. But even right before I had my older son, I was still waiting tables. Some, like, for catering events and stuff like that. And so yeah, I think of it now and I think how confused I was at that first shift, but now when I look back on waiting tables, it’s like, it’s seriously like some of the most fun times of my, like those young adult years going vegan. I just talked about that a little bit.

But anytime I’ve made a big doing a triathlon, going vegan, anytime I’ve done anything that required like physical exertion or a huge shift in my. Way of life health wise or exercise wise. I always am really proud of myself. I don’t know if I’ll do it. I’ve done two triathlons and honestly, I’m just not super competitive in that way.

I’m competitive with myself as far as achieving my goals, but they kind of stress me out, like races and stuff like that. Just everybody like the herd all going out at one time, especially when we’re swimming. The anxiety it causes, I’m just not sure it’s worth it. I’m all about putting forth effort to get past anxiety that is like making people freeze or immobilize people. But I’m just kind of like being a triathlete is not like a big thing in my life.

So I’m going to get back to open water swimming because the triathlon was causing so much anxiety that I actually just stopped open water swimming because I would get in my head and start thinking like, oh, gosh, what if I drown? Even though I’m not going to drown. I’m a strong swimmer. So this year, another goal of mine is to get out and just enjoy open water swimming. Not do it for training purposes, not think about how it feels when you’re going out at the beginning of a triathlon, but just do it for fun and be out there on that pretty open water and know that the water is my friend.

As my friend Robin likes to say, the water is our friend if we let it be. So that’s another goal I have, but some career goals that I think back to. I created a blog, I wrote a children’s book, and I created this podcast. So my situation is different than yours. Think about your own career, your own personal goals, anything that you’ve done, and also in terms of financial obstacles, there have been times in my life where I’ve been in debt and I’ve come out of it and now I’m in a good place financially.

But a lot of that is I actually took the time last year to do some focused training on women and finances because women are just not taught these things like men are. And I hope that our future generations coming up, our women that are coming up, are being taught more about budgeting, investing, just acquiring assets, things that I feel like traditionally, historically, have been male focused things, male centric. I’m hoping that that is shifting. So we are going to do some financial stuff on this podcast this month, and I’m super excited about it. But I think of times when I’ve gotten out of debt or financial obstacles on my own, and I feel really proud of myself about that.

So anyway, I could go on with some examples, but I feel like you have your own examples and I wanted to give you a few, but I think that we all have this bank of life experiences that we can pull lessons, encouragement, knowledge. And you have your own bank of experiences and feelings and overcoming that you can pull from. So I’m loving this will of life exercise, and I think you will too, if you put a little time and energy into it. And so to end today, I’m going to leave you all with a quote from Oprah, who I adore. I absolutely adore oprah.

And one thing that she said is, I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. So we need to keep this at the forefront of our thoughts. When working on harmonizing areas of our lives, sometimes we get this burst of energy and we’re like, oh, I’m going to launch a business. I’m going to lose ten pounds. I’m going to start.

I’m going to get on a dating app. I mean, sometimes you just can’t do all that at one time. As Oprah said, we can’t be everything and do everything at the same time. So maybe you want to work on launching your business, and once that gets to a place of comfort, then move on to this training for a race or whatever it is. Your next thing is like the Will of life says, pick a couple of areas at a time to focus on.

Once that becomes a habit, move to another area and focus on that. Where we get in trouble is when we’re not focusing on anything and we’re starting to spiral and we’re starting to feel like, I can’t do all of this. And one great antidote to anxiety is action. So if you’re having anxiety about something, take some action. So if you’re having anxiety about one of these areas of life, take action, and I promise it will make you feel better.

So I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday. Hopefully, when you hear me on the next episode, I won’t sound so congested, and I can’t wait to see you on that episode. So I hope all of you just enjoy your day. Wherever you are, enjoy and take care.

If you are enjoying this podcast, please consider subscribing so you don’t miss an episode. My goal is to share information and inspiration so that women feel seen, heard, and empowered. Also, if you know someone who would benefit from this podcast, please share. Lastly, if you have a topic or idea that you want to hear more about, or if you want me to expound upon a topic I’ve previously discussed, please let me know. Message me on any of my social media platforms or email at susannah

Thank you again for listening.

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