eigthhappybirdWellness advocates talk of finding balance in our lives. This may include eating a balanced diet of fruit and veggies; a balance of exercise and even a balance of work versus play.  I talk of meditation as a lifestyle tool; a journey in mindfulness. When you think of meditation you think of inner space; self-discovery and enlightenment. The mind seems small but when you stop to think of where a thought arises and where it goes; the boundaries of a mind can seem vast, almost boundless.

We all have this quantifiable inward space; the realm of our mind; feelings and emotions, relaxation and anxiety; thoughts, memories and dreams, etc. What about outward space – our exterior surroundings? We always talk about finding a balance within our bodies but we rarely talk about balancing what is inside with what is outside as ONE. Take our homes and offices for example. When you walk into another person’s personal space you can learn a lot about what is going in that person’s  life by how organized and neat they  are – you can learn a lot about what is going on inside a person by their clothes, wall decorations, cleanliness and mementos. Our exterior environments or our personal spaces are direct extensions of our inner realm; the mind.  A person that is messy on the outside most likely has a cluttered mind on the inside; a mind with thoughts running rampant with fear and fantasy; past and future; rarely connected to the present. The opposite for the uncluttered minimalist can also be true; a mind of awareness and clarity, space and positive energy.

The art of happiness and wellness is finding a balance between our inner realm of mind and our outer realm of intent and action. It really should be a seamless division. It begins with space. Space within the mind can be boundless and relaxing or closed off and anxious. Our living and working environments need to transcend the meditative goal of wellness, energy and space. Our personal environments can be small, but they should be inviting, empowering and relaxing; a refuge, a sanctuary.

So, as we continue to be mindful and aware of what is going on inside our brains and body, let’s also be equally aware of what is going on in our exterior environment; as they are connected.  Be mindful of the clutter and how to better organize your belongings. Be mindful of what makes you happy and relaxed and carry that from your mind to your exterior world.

Here is an example: Though I live in Chicagoland, my bedroom walls are adorned with prints and paintings from Hawaii. I love the Hawaiian Islands and though my career is in the Midwest my heart is somewhere in the tropics. I purposely surround myself with images of the ocean, beach and sun because these images bring me peace and happiness. There are some things we can’t control, but we can control what we think and what surrounds us. Be mindful of that… create your own positive space within and without.

Remember, clutter in the mind and in our surroundings suffocates us. Less is more and finding a balance both inward and outward is the evolutionary goal in self-discovery. Find that balance and you will find betterment.

John C. Bader

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