If you’ve ever gone to bed with a stiff neck after a day of cell phone and computer usage, then you know something about the importance of alignment.
A lot of our typical working postures (i.e. seated in front of a screen) throw our spines (and other body parts) out of their natural alignment. Over times, some muscles become chronically tight, putting extra pressure on certain bones and tendons. That misalignment means that your movements are less efficient and require more effort. As you stiffen up, some movements become hard to perform at all.
As with our bodies, so with our lives and work.
When we’re feeling misalignment in our lives, it manifests as stress and resistance. And after a year of pandemic, many of us have a LOT of stress and resistance.
My particular misalignment took the form of a schedule that got too far out of whack — too much work, too much physical activity, and nowhere near enough rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. I cut back on work and gave myself a break — but until I finally felt rested, I experienced a lot of resistance. (That’s why you didn’t see new articles from me for a few weeks — my creative well went dry for a bit.)
For a lot of people — especially right now — the misalignment is showing up as resistance to some elements of their work. Perhaps they are struggling to meet deadlines, procrastinating on projects, or feeling resentful about meetings or other required activities. Maybe they no longer feel excited about their own goals and accomplishments. Or maybe something just feels off, and they can’t put their finger on what.
Either way, the solution is to look for alignment between what you need, what you want, and the circumstances you find yourself in.
How to Find Alignment
When you are living in alignment with your values and purpose, you’re able to be authentically yourself. There’s no more push-pull between what you want to do — or feel called to do — and what others think you should do. Being in alignment helps you tap into your inner compass and puts you into flow — and when you’re in flow, things just fall into place.
So how do you even get into that kind of magical space?
In most cases, slowly!
Sometimes we’re tempted to jump in and make a big change all at once. And that can work… but you’ll make better changes if you’ve taken time to really understand the source of your resistance and to carefully consider solutions.
1. The first step is to NOTICE.
When are you meeting resistance? Where are you procrastinating? Where do you feel off? What things do you find triggering?
Start keeping notes, so you can better identify patterns and recurring issues.
2. Next, give yourself TIME.
Create space in your schedule for rest, relaxation, and real downtime. Use that space to consider what you need for your next growth step. Where do you need to level up? Where do you need to invest in yourself?
Taking the time to examine how you’re really feeling gives you an opportunity to tune into your own values, desires, and discontents. You may find that you can easily identify a few exciting opportunities for growth and expansion. You may also identify some ways that you can make your work more personally meaningful and rewarding. In some cases, this time for reflection will be enough to make you feel rejuvenated and reconnected to your work.
In other cases, you may decide that you need a bigger change. But even in that situation, you’ll be better prepared for a big leap forward if you’ve given yourself time and space to connect with your deepest values and desires.