How’s your life so far? The Wheel of Life will tell you

The Wheel of Life, coming from the Buddhist tradition, is a really interesting tool to help visualize the different aspects of your life. It is said that we are born into one of six realms, based on karma from our past life: the realm of gods, titans, hungry ghosts, hell, animals and humans. The last is believed to be the only realm where we can escape samsara (the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth) and reach enlightenment.

In more practical terms, the Wheel of Life works by rating each category out of 10 and then taking a good, hard look at yourself. The aim is to better understand where you are flourishing, and what parts need more work. I was a little nervous to do this project — and then post it online — but here we go…

Making a Wheel of Life was a weirdly difficult experience.
Making a Wheel of Life was a weirdly difficult experience (featuring a photo of me at five years of age).

Here is how I analyzed myself:

Physical environment
I’m lucky that I am able to live in a cute apartment right in downtown Montreal. What do I struggle with? The amount of clutter in our tiny one-bedroom. Granted, most of what we have are books, plants and souvenirs from far away trips, but there is definitely something about living a minimalist lifestyle that is calling to me. I’ll have to do some research on how to achieve that without getting rid of all my beloved books!

This is definitely the area I struggle with the most. I am constantly going back and forth on what I want out of my career. Do I want glory? Recognition? Awards? Recently, at the Modo Yoga teacher training, we were asked, “would you rather be right, or would you rather be free?” I am implicitly choosing to be free. I’ve been refocusing on career lately, but instead of striving for dominion, I am looking at everything with new eyes — ones that see situations for what they are instead of letting people get inside my head. It’s a work in progress.

I have a very stable job and I’m great at saving, so technically, my finances are A-OK. I live very comfortably and for that, I am so grateful. My imbalance comes with insecurity — I am unwilling to change this stability in favour of searching for something better, that passion that ignites your dreams. Though I know it’s important to make smart decisions, I definitely need to push myself to take more risks in this pursuit of happiness — after all, the idea of a regular 9-5, a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence and a mini van makes me panic.

Health is a huge priority for me, but I always feel there is so much more to be done: acting more environmentally, ingesting less toxins and simply being conscious. As I get older, my knowledge of the health industry in North America grows, which is continuously encouraging me to change my habits for the better. My next challenge: reducing tissue paper and making my own natural cleaning products.

Family and friends
My sister had I have had a really rough time over the last year or so. Our arguments got so heated at one point, we wouldn’t talk for weeks on end. We’re four years apart, but have always been very close — we shared a tiny bedroom well into my teen years. She recently moved back to Sydney, Aus. and funnily enough, I think it’s brought us closer together. I was in the middle of my Modo Yoga teacher training when she left, so I couldn’t go to the airport and see her off. I was devastated, and we cried together on FaceTime. Though I would prefer her to be physically closer to me (at least, you know, in the same hemisphere), I am enjoying the friendship that we now have. My relationship with my sister is the foundation of how I interact with the rest of my friends and family — so I’m making it a priority to nurture and take care of what we have.

I definitely feel very comfortable in this section of my life. I always say my husband is my “better half” because we are very yin-yang. Many of the qualities I have to work hard to maintain (inherent calmness, open generosity and flawless friendliness), come easy to him. One thing I have noticed over the last few weeks is how consumed I have become with my own personal journey, both through yoga and my spirituality. It’s taken me a little while to realize how isolating that can be for him, so I’m working to share my stories — even when he has no idea what I’m going on about!

Personal growth
I have always thought that my personal growth was going exactly according to plan, that it was right on schedule. Recently, I noticed how much of that was actually complacency in accepting that I can’t change this or that, so why bother trying? I assumed this type of awareness equated personal growth. Nope. I’ve been taking the time recently to really look at where I am in my life and evaluate what I want to achieve. My main goal now: be happy.

Fun and recreation
Fun and recreation are definitely not things I prioritize in my life (unless you count going to yoga, then coming home to organize the bookshelf/pantry/closet for the hundredth time). As much as I enjoy doing different activities, I find that I rarely take myself out — unless I have errands to run. I don’t feel necessarily imbalanced, though I suppose that means I am? My friend, Hannah, does these “treat yourself” nights, called “Hannah nights.” I love that she takes the time to do things purely for her own enjoyment. In fact, it’s a requirement to respect “Hannah nights” if you’re going to be in her life. Maybe I’ll take a leaf out of her book and take myself out for dinner and a movie sometime.

Would you ever consider making a Wheel of Life? Which aspects do you think you are lacking in and why?

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