Work/Life Balance – Fact or Fiction?

Posted by Karen  •  Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I can’t tell you how many people I meet that trumpet the war cry, “There is so little time and so much to do!” Apparently the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland had it right when he said “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late”. Lewis Carroll was on to something. Is it my imagination or is it difficult to combine quality of life with work pressures whilst (for many), simultaneously raising a family? Many of us are behaving like circus plate twirlers, rushing madly from one stick to another staring frantically in the air and only focusing on the ones that are about to fall. This is fast becoming a serious problem and perhaps, given our potential for evolution, and amazing ability to adapt, we could put some serious thought into solving it.

Any success/abundance message worth its salt will clearly define the laws of attraction. I am pretty sure that flapping around feeling overwhelmed and stressed does not appear on the ‘To Do List’. Having had plenty of experience trying that method out, I can spare you the trouble of experimenting right now. IT DOESN’T WORK!

So, what can we do? We can meditate, take time out, relax, breathe, imagine abundance, create a special moment to honour the things close to our heart. Focus on self belief, positive thinking, affirmations, gratitude, self love, active imagination, acting ‘As If’ we have already achieved our goals and hold the space for them to manifest magnificently. We can walk, run, surf, swim, do yoga, Pilates or any other form of exercise, eat well, go on a health retreat, take a holiday, have a massage, pray, laugh, love, give……..

These are all glorious and powerful tools when used with intention and volition. They will manifest beyond your wildest dreams if applied wholeheartedly and without reservation but how do we create the ‘without reservation’ part? If you use these tools to overcome inner turmoil, is it possible to permanently release and let go of that feeling so these tools are not required but are simply utilised for the sheer joy of it? How do you address that part of you? Is it possible to absolutely change your inner landscape, change the feeling you wake up with in the morning? How do you ‘talk’ to that part of you? How do you access your pattern, your essence, the deep seated and ‘stubbornly refusing to change’ aspect of You? the part of you with which you constantly, overwhelmingly and never endingly battle, in increasingly complex ways.

In our modern day and age we have very sophisticated means of distracting ourselves from our turmoil. Drugs both legal and illegal and alcohol have proved often to be a mechanism of choice, but there are many other avenues people travel down to relieve the heavy burden of ‘Self’. Overeating is common, obsessive or compulsive behaviours such as over-working, over-exercising or an unreasonable need for order and cleanliness, smoking, television, gossip (not necessarily recognised as a problem and sadly often glamorised in the media), also excessive shopping or extravagant and unnecessary purchases (commonly known as retail therapy), can be another temporary solution to the inner void. Some people deeply immerse themselves in computers, mobile phones or other electronic gadgetry and many now lose themselves in social networking sites, often forms of escape in a vain attempt to shift attention from the underlying problem of inner discord.

Over the past 30 years NLP has proved to be one of the most powerful and dynamic tools used effectively in personal, educational and business improvement and it now has worldwide recognition. NLP and in particular Time Line Therapy® which was created by Tad James have been effectively used by a Somerset Charity, The Warrior Programme, in combating war-related post traumatic stress experienced by ex-servicemen of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflict. This work has been actively championed by Prince Charles as referenced in the Somerset County Gazette. Personally, I have both witnessed and experienced amazing transformations in myself, my children, my husband (who has undertaken NLP training), and my clients.

The seemingly simple act of parenting in this age brings with it the added bonus of information overload. Schools send a barrage of information and requests for support to an already ‘underwhelmed’ (well it should be a word) and overstretched working parent. The needs of the school are real and immediate, funding is not, and appears never will be sufficient in both State and privately run schools. They both require support from the parents in order to function well.

Jonathon Livingston SeagullAfter school activities are a stretch. Parents who (like me) have three or more children are faced with a sometimes impossible task of chaperoning their prodigy to differing and multiple events, not to mention paying for them. I had an in-depth chat with the registrar at soccer sign up. She explained to me how much the club depends on volunteers and how little my $200+ actually covers. Thankfully we do get to use their balls and their pitch but the rest appears to be more or less up to us. I almost ran screaming from the room, but of course I didn’t. My son only has one shot at being six and I certainly don’t want to be the reason his international soccer career never sees the light of day.

“Life isn’t about How to Survive the Storm, It’s about How to Dance in the Rain” – Anonymous.

To top it all, as if evenings weren’t full enough of the stuff of life, homework, reading folders, sight words, maths (that I can’t do) and word games; in the midst of all of that chaos, the energy gobbling, parent devouring and mind bendingly, child bendingly complicated……….school assignment. I don’t know about you, but I know for a fact my parents never helped me with an assignment. Never, Ever! I feel like I’m the one getting the homework these days.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein

There are emotional pressures, financial pressures, relationship pressures, the pressure of running a (relatively) functioning home, emails, SMS, and don’t even get me started on the computer. Useful as it may be at times, that little machine has the capacity to suck the very life out of you. You can sit down with a cup of tea to answer an email and update or upgrade some simple program and then ‘Poof’ the whole day disappears. It’s like a vortex; you get sucked in and then spat out several hours later with no visible progression whatsoever.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Is it possible to turn this mayhem into a fulfilling, powerful and transformative experience? What steps can we take to shift this pattern and move to energised and joyful living?

How is it possible when there are pets to care for, cars to maintain, not to mention the garden which grows like an invasion of the Triffids? Friends in need, friends you would just love to catch up with but can’t seem to find the time. The mail, bills, notices, renewals, tax, BAS etc. etc. etc. and then, when you finally flop down on the couch in a gibbering incoherent heap, there is the world’s greatest hypnotherapist, our new lord and master……….. ‘THE TELEVISION’, bombarding our senses with stressful and dramatic images, selling us products we don’t want or need and lulling us in to an imaginary world artfully created by television management and advertisers, until we are too tired to think for ourselves or do anything productive to help us step off the merry-go-round of modern day life.

Is it any wonder the White Rabbit is constantly staring at his watch and missing the things that really matter?

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” – Albert Einstein

How much space do you create in your life for the things that really matter to you? Do you take the time to listen to your children or your partner with fixed attention? Do you focus on them when they talk? Do you hear what they are really trying to say? Do you pay attention to your health in a meaningful way? Do you give thought to how you nourish your mind and spirit as well as your body? Do you notice the people and things you have around you and are you aware of the impact they have? Do you remember and honour your child self, the part of you that is inquisitive, fun loving, joyful and playful? Spiritual masters through the ages have encouraged us to focus on and be grateful for the small things around us.

“The great arises out of small things that are honoured and cared for. Everybody’s life really consists of small things. Greatness is a mental abstraction and a favourite fantasy of the ego. The paradox is that the foundation for greatness is the honouring of the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing the idea of greatness” – Eckhart Tolle

Many spiritual texts have pointed out that child-like states hold the key to inner contentment. Sometimes I just look at my children when they talk, I mean really look, as though I have never seen them before, I almost don’t hear what they are saying, I can be that enthralled by the fundamental nature, the essence of them. I notice the sparkle in their eyes, the excitement in their voices and the laughter that bubbles up at the slightest excuse. Young children hold that space for us, every day, you just have to look. For me, that magic is sitting around the house, always ready to play, if I could just pay attention and notice it.

That same magic, the same wonder can be found through interaction with nature, and through our pets. We recently welcomed a new member to our family, a little border-terrier puppy called Freddy. He is the absolute epitome of joy bundled up in a package the size of my two hands. I believe we are naturally drawn to dogs because at some level we recognise and respect their deeper connection. How wonderful to wake each day with the same joyful feeling, desperate to run around and see what new marvels the day holds. I watch him in the back garden. For him it is an adventure, his tiny heart beating with anticipation at the excitement of it all, a leaf, a butterfly, a stick, a piece of grass, all compelling reasons to bounce and jump. Our culture lives in such a state of tension and anxiety, war and conflict, stress and depression, we are fast losing claim to being an evolved species, somewhere along the road we have lost our footing.

‘My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky’ – William Wordsworth

Years ago I heard an interview on the radio with a counsellor who cared for people during the latter stages of terminal illness. He was asked what people commonly wished for at these times. Interestingly enough, he said no-one ever wished they had worked harder and made more money, no-one ever wished they had been more stressed, more exhausted, more angry, more sad, more scared, more guilty, more depressed………………

Jewish aphorism – “Nobody on their deathbed regrets not having spent more time at the office”

What they did wish for was more time with their loved ones, more hugs, more laughter, more dreams, more courage, more joy, more spontaneity, more abandon, more play time, more life.

“In 20 years time you will have more regrets about the things you didn’t do than the things you did” – Mark Twain

My father died recently. He was an interesting, intelligent and complex man who I loved and love dearly. One of the things that touched me through this process is the startling reminder that things change, sometimes dramatically, sometimes gradually, but things do change. Life presents us with change. The question is not Whether we experience change, but How do we experience change. Suffering stems from the resistance to what is occurring. The death of my father as excruciating it may be to me, in and of itself is not a terrible thing to the wider community. To most people outside of friends and family it is meaningless. My pain and suffering lies in my resistance to what is; it is my affair, my choice. Every time I say to myself, I wish he were here, I find myself easily plunging back into that feeling, the abyss of nothingness that follows such a loss. Whenever I focus on the positives of our relationship, the moments shared, the joy of who he was and who he is in relation to me, I find myself smiling. It’s as simple as that. My reality is my reality. How I choose to feel about it and what internal pictures I choose to ascribe to it is entirely in my hands.

‘Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you’ – Eckhart Tolle

In the field of NLP and in the specific branch which uses Time Line Therapy®, the focus is on creating dynamic change and assisting people to transition easily and effortlessly through the ebbs and flows of life. It welcomes the natural life process of change, and provides a system which causes active and conscious participation in the process.

One of the fundamentals of NLP is the concept of ‘Cause and Effect’. Assuming responsibility for one’s circumstances and understanding life to be a tangible representation of a series of our conscious and unconscious choices; puts us back in the driver’s seat and able to take charge and move on. If we realise that at some level we have created this moment, albeit with limited or no awareness, then, if we can learn the process by which we created this moment, and how to change the patterns by which we have created it, we can reclaim our ability to consciously choose the direction our life takes.

The second prevailing concept is ‘Perception is Projection’. In order for us to make sense of our outside world, we run the information we receive from a certain event through a series of internal filters. The content of these filters is created unconsciously and is unique to each person. This allows the potential for an infinite amount of interpretations of one single event which can be most easily demonstrated in the instance of identical twins, raised together, who grow to have strong differences in opinion about their upbringing. The understanding of how these filters process information allows us a clear insight into our negative patterns and enables us to easily let go of limiting and disruptive emotions and decisions.

These two concepts form the foundation for a powerful set of tools to dramatically improve our ability to interpret and manage life experiences and unleash our ability to be dynamic creative beings.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon

How to Shift the Pattern

Take 10 minutes a day of ‘Me Time’. Give yourself the gift of 10 minutes without focussing on the daily ins and outs of your life. This can simply be a moment to lie on your bed, or sit in a chair or in the garden. Use this opportunity to invite inspiration and ideas into your life. Insist upon it!

Write down your intentions and goals. This is extremely important. Focus on what you want for you, your career and your family/partner (if applicable). Give yourself clarity about what you need to create balance and harmony in your life. Writing things down is the link between thought and action. It makes manifest your mind, it turns thought into a physical reality.

Turn off the television, computer, mobile phones and gadgets. In our age of modern gadgetry we are constantly inundated with the chatter of technology. In order to actively communicate you need to take action and create space for both yourself and loved ones. Demonstrate your commitment to a happy, healthy and joyful life by giving yourself (and your family/partner) access to a technology free experience DAILY! If you really want to connect, light some candles and  turn of all your electrical appliances and lights (obviously taking care that you have sufficient lighting and take all necessary safety precautions), go on! You might surprise yourself.

“The full use of your powers along lines of excellence”  – (definition of “happiness”) – John F. Kennedy

In order to run our ‘creative self’ effectively we need our conscious will to align itself with our unconscious drive. The question that still begs is how to achieve this alignment. How do you let go of limiting behaviours and emotions? How do you manage to shift your inner world to reflect your dreams and aspirations? How do you manage to say an affirmation and really mean it, mean it so deeply you can feel it in your body and it becomes your truth. The creative power that is unleashed, once you have let go of your negative repetitive story, propels you into the flow and the manifestation of attraction.

Go Within or Go Without”– Neale Donald Walsch

Using a combination of NLP and the powerful and transformative Time Line Therapy® you can easily let go of the negative patterns, emotions and decisions that hold you back from the Now you deserve. These techniques are the cutting edge of transformational coaching and produce amazing, dynamic and deep seated results.

Readiness to Change Questionnaire:

Are you ready and willing to::

  • Give up arguing for your limitations and instead create the most magnificent version of yourself?
  • Take responsibility for your creative power and to experience the wonderful consequences of an active life lived to its true potential?
  • No longer see yourself as ‘less than’? Are you ready to step up and be who you know you really are or who you really would be without your negative limitations?
  • Move towards a loving and integrated work/life balance and be a pioneer in this age of madness and madmen, chaos and catastrophe, mania and media,  and a beacon of light to those who struggle to find meaning and purpose?

If so, Now is the time to take action towards that which you want and the Magnificence You Deserve.

Invitation to Action

1. Take three big, long, deep, breaths………………., no, seriously, stop reading and take three big, long deep breaths, right here, right now…………………..! That’s Right…………….. Don’t you feel much better already?

Now put everything down, even your thoughts, your fears, your aspirations, your anxieties, your joys, your failures, your successes (for they are one and the same), and allow your imagination to invite in to your consciousness the steps you need to take to bring balance back into your life.


3. Know that Now is the time. Now is the place and Now is the first moment of the rest of your life.

4. DO SOMETHING with this information! Move towards what you want and a more joyful and fulfilled life. Go on!


Karen Clarke

Karen is a Trainer of NLP and Master NLP Coach, a Master of Hypnosis and Master of Time Line Therapy® certified by the ABNLP and TLTA. She has been running a successful private practice and is fully committed to assisting her clients to experience dynamic and sustainable positive change –

In relation to children and our youth this work is particularly exciting. Karen & her husband Wayne have been using these techniques with all three of her children and has had some exciting results. Their dream is to create a vehicle for young people to experience themselves as limitless beings with a limitless mindset. Together, we do make a difference.

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