The art of weighing and measuring

How do you live a full life, find meaning, and deeply appreciate everything that comes your way each day?

My method is something I call the art of weighing and measuring. It's a lifestyle focused on awareness of what you're doing and how you're doing it while learning to appreciate the value of all life experiences - from the mundane to the challenging to the extraordinary.

A good place to begin is by reacquainting yourself with your senses. If you're sitting in a comfy chair, luxuriate in that comfort. If you're sitting on a hardwood chair, notice how your bottom feels against something that has no give.

Notice the quality of light, the temperature of the room and sounds that you hear - including your heartbeat. This simple practice of noticing opens us to the world of sensory awareness, a wonderful way to explore the art of weighing and measuring.

In any given moment - anywhere - you can pause and practice by asking yourself, "Am I aware of what's happening around me? Am I using all my senses?"

You might find it interesting to weigh and measure how often you want to speak - before allowing the words to come out of your mouth. This practice requires you to become aware of your opinions, your judgments and your need to give advice. Notice if you feel uncomfortable with silence and want to fill it with idle chatter. Ask yourself, "What will happen if I keep my mouth shut? Does what I have to say contribute to the situation or am I intentionally creating conflict?"

Weighing and measuring our words is an excellent practice for improving relationships. For those who are gregarious and outgoing, refraining from speaking helps you observe when your ego gets puffed up, when you need to be right or need to be the center of attention.

For those who are shy and insecure, weighing and measuring can be a practice of noticing how quickly you weigh in on the side of retreat. Asserting yourself by expressing thoughts through words can help balance your tendency for withholding your ideas or beliefs.

And, what about weighing and measuring your time? Are you aware of how much time you spend on the Internet or how much time you spend watching TV? Get out a stopwatch and clock yourself for a couple of days. Gathering data is interesting when it comes to weighing and measuring. It affords you an objective way to view how you are spending the precious minutes of your life.

Once we are aware of how we spend our time, we can make conscious choices to scale back the time spent on one thing to open up space for other things that may be more enriching. We can decide to find the time for activities that improve the quality of each day.

I have a friend who recently joined a sailing club. She doesn't have a boat and has never sailed, but she loves the water, enjoys social contact and wants to learn about sailing. In weighing and measuring, she realized that something was missing from her life. Initiating this new activity renews her sense of joy in learning, growing and socializing.

Another friend found that taking time for herself in quiet meditation improved her energy and outlook for the day.

What about weighing and measuring the things you ordinarily consider drudgery? If you don't like to clean house and end up powering through weekly all-day sweat marathons, try weighing and measuring. Break housecleaning tasks down into manageable pieces - clean one room each day and it doesn't seem so overwhelming.

Learn to rethink drudgery by refocusing and changing your perspective. Instead of complaining about cleaning, view those tasks as great ways to move your body. Then cleaning becomes an exercise routine. Go ahead - dance with the broom!

Weigh and measure the time you spend with friends, family and pets. Is there balance? Or do you need to spend more time with your family and do less golfing or playing bridge? Change what you do and see if your spouse is more appreciative or your children more communicative.

These simple evaluations, the daily weighing and measuring, are an art. It's a way of learning how to balance things. All work and no play? Well, we know where that one leads.

Ruth Marcus has a private counseling practice in Sequim, WA. Her book and free daily inspiration are available at

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