Finding balance: My 8 daily must-haves

Yesterday I was interviewed by Ruth of Cranium Crunches for a podcast series she's creating as part of an exciting new venture of hers (which I'll surely share with you once up and running). The focus of the interview was on finding balance and navigating challenges and stress, in relation to creativity and purposeful living.

Ruth's questions led me to consider exactly what I need to feel balanced and creative on a daily basis. In addition to the givens such as shelter, food, water and air — the last two preferably Colorado fresh! — I came up with the following eight items that, for me (and in no particular order), are the daily must-haves that keep me creative and balanced. Well, as balanced as this slightly off-kilter grandma can be.

coffee cup

Coffee.  I need it. Honest. Just two cups — dark roast and black, please, with no added flavors, sweeteners or creamers. Each and every day. Before noon, though, as even the slightest sip after the lunch hour keeps me up well beyond the midnight hour. Which makes me need more than two cups the next day, which throws me off balance and pretty much defeats the purpose.

Nature. I'm not talking tackling the highest mountain or delving deep into the sea, I simply need to touch base with nature in some small (or large) way each day. That usually comes from my intended-but-not-always-accomplished morning walks with my dogs, but can be as low key as eating my lunch on the deck, pulling a few weeds when I need a break from the computer, or even just catching glimpses out my window of birds and beasts making their way through my yard and neighborhood.

Movement. Most may call this exercise, but while I'm not much of an exerciser, I do need movement of some sort or another throughout the day or my body cries uncle in very crotchety, rickety ways. I prefer starting the day with the aforementioned dog walks. Sometimes, though, movement means a round of Just Dance 2014... or just walking around the house while engaging in obligatory phone calls. (Quick aside: The phone is not one of those things I need daily. In fact, it doesn't take much telephone time at all to throw me entirely off balance.)

 family

Family connection. Though I abhor the telephone, I do need to touch base with one or more of my favorite people on a daily basis. Most of the time, Jim and my animals are the only guaranteed daily connections. I'm more balanced, though, if I connect — by phone, text, online or in person — with one or more of my girls, too. And I'm awarded bonus balance points on those days I have the privilege of FaceTime or true face-to-face time with my incredible grandkiddos.

Time alone. That said, I like my alone time. Though I do need to connect with family, and though I do love and adore my friends online and off, I am a true introvert — meaning I'm energized by time alone (in contrast to extroverts, who are energized by time with others). Which means I must have time alone to recharge body, mind and soul. Big chunks of time apart from groups and gatherings, texts and talks and the chitter and chatter that make my brain feel so battered if those lovely loud times are not balanced out with a high ratio of solitary, silent times. 

Music. I love music as much as I love silence. Which makes this one a real balancing act for me. Especially if in the quiet time, an earworm of Karma Chameleon inflitrates the silence and a dose of Live's White, Discussion — at an earworm-piercing level — is the only antidote.

books and papers

Words, written and read. I have to read. I have to write. Perhaps just a paragraph muddled through at night before nodding off to sleep, a note to remind myself of a fantastic post or article idea. No matter the number of words, I need them. Written and read. Daily.

Prayer. I'm balanced and centered by the continuous prayer I have running in my head from morning til night. Occasionally aloud, too. Prayers for family members and friends, fulfilling times with and for both. Plus decent health, decent weather, decent amounts of money coming in and decent words arranged in just the right way. I pray for that and more. Daily. Sometimes hourly. Sometimes even more than that, depending on how out of balance and off center certain days and situations might be.

Today's question:

What are your daily must-haves for a balanced life?