The Wheel of Life – bringing back balance
By Brian Fitzpatrick
Imagine that you were going to ride from Sydney to Perth on a bicycle. You would need to have trained yourself for the challenge. You would need to build up your fitness in terms of leg strength and cardio-respiratory endurance. You would need some navigational and map reading skills to be able to know where you are and where you are going. You would need to have sound riding technique. And you would need the best bike and other gear you could get to make it possible. Even with all of that, it would still be a feat that would be extremely testing. Then there are the prevailing winds and weather conditions to cope with, let alone dealing with road trains, pot holes and whatever else the journey could throw at you. But what if some of the spokes of your wheel were broken? How bumpy and inefficient would each pedal stroke be? It would be downright painful! So, throughout the trip you would need to do some maintenance on your bike and body, to make sure you complete it.
Let’s now use the trip across the continent as a metaphor for your life experience. How often do you check in on how efficient your life journey is? What maintenance and repair systems do you have for yourself? One activity I do regularly is The Wheel of Life. I use it to rebalance myself, contemplate why things are a little clunky, and gain clarity about what I need to do to live the life I want.
Here’s how it works. Below you can see a diagram. On it I want to evaluate how I am travelling at the moment. I don’t over think this. I just take whatever comes. If the intersection of the lines was a zero score which means things are really bad, and the end of the line is a ten which means this part of my life is as good as it gets. Then I rate each part of my life from 1-10 and mark it on the page. Here are a couple of hints. When I check my Emotional balance, it’s not about whether I am happy all the time, but more about my ability to acknowledge and feel all of my emotions. My spiritual health is based on if I am living my life ‘on purpose’. The Third Place is the place outside of work or home where I can re-energise and get some me time.
Now go ahead and score each section and mark it on the line. Once that is done, join the dots and see how round your Wheel of Life is. It may have a few flat spots, so have a think about what you could choose to do make that part of your life richer. If your relationship arm was flat, you might decide to re-visit ‘date night’. If your physical arm is flat you might step up your fitness regime. If your social life is poor, it might be time to have friends over to dinner. A flat spoke on your finances might require a visit to see your financial adviser or to stick to the budget.
Beware that you don’t have a perfectly round wheel that is all low scores. Sure the wheel is round, but you won’t go far on it. It would be like riding across the country on a BMX bike. Give it a try. Do it with your partner in a different colour so that you can help each other choose the things that would re-balance and enrich your lives.
It’s a wonderful life!