You may know the Wheel of Life. This ancient spiritual concept that implies that all species reincarnate or move from one body to another to enjoy lifetime after lifetime. There is, however, another Wheel of Life concept that is just as intriguing. It’s a self-assessment tool telling you how well-rounded, literally, your life is. The rounder the better. I retook my Wheel of Life test this morning and was happy to discover the curves it has put on since I first tried it.
The idea is simple. There are a number of areas in our life, everyone’s life, that contribute to happiness, or the lack of it: Love, career, health, friends, fun, money, family, and spirituality. The concept implies that overabundance in one field, say money or career, cannot offset scarcity in another field, say health or family or love. Whenever there is an imbalance it will show, in the shape of, well, a not so well-rounded wheel.
And have you ever seen a wheel that’s not round that will do its job properly and roll? Nope, didn’t think so.
I love the concept. It’s such a straightforward and visually striking portrait of my current state of affairs. I also like that it stresses the importance of balancing out all aspects and the peril inherent in neglecting one for the benefit of another. I can tell from my own experience that the latter does not pay off. In case you wondered, this is what my wheel looked like about one or two years ago:
Yep, well. Not so good. Not even close to a wheel really. My marriage was in ruins. I had a very prestigious, highly-paid job but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore as I was on the verge of a burnout which my body was very keen and apt to point out to me. Evidently, at that time, I didn’t have much fun either. I simply had no energy left to do anything in the little free time I had available other than stay in bed and try to recover just enough to be fit to face another tough week at work. In fact, this would have been another very fitting visualization of my wheel…
I was also just starting to be spiritually aware. I’ve always had a keen interest in those topics but there is nothing better than an existential crisis to really open your eyes to this sphere. Not so much fun either. But certainly beneficial in the long run. I like to think that I’ve made good use of the time that has passed since. I thoroughly reconfigured how I approached my work and career life and took some very difficult but extremely necessary measures to add a few inches of happiness in that field of the wheel.
I accepted that I was not well and went on a long sick leave. In the end my world didn’t fall apart. In fact, my employer was way more understanding and supportive than I would have thought. Yes, it was career damaging, if you want to call it that. But it certainly was very important, no, absolutely instrumental, in re-establishing my health. And this is what I focussed on. Thankfully, wonderfully, I was able to do so without having to worry about my financial and job security.
I also had very supportive friends who stuck with me through very difficult times, listened to my whining, offered a shoulder to cry on and a big bear hug when I needed it. Knowing that I would do, and have done, the same for them when they went through similar rough patches in their life.
And while the untimely death of my father right in the middle of it was heartbreaking and extremely painful, it gave both of us a chance to heal very old, very deep wounds from long ago. My family is my family. Not all roses. But we have managed to make the best of what we had to work with. I can feel it in every single one of my bones. It was so worth it. I have rebuilt my inner structure. I feel I can stand upright now, having shed a lot, if not most, of the heavy baggage from my past.
And my love life. Well, my marriage is still over and the divorce is on its way. But I have, or time has, healed some of the wounds I carried from that last chapter of our being together. I have also learned a whole lot about myself, how I behave under certain pressures, what I regret having done, and what I regret not having done. I certainly have gained a lot of insight into what kind of relationship I want to have in the future. What I am able and willing to offer. And what not. So I like to think that I am well prepared to take another shot at it when the opportunity presents itself.
This is what my wheel looks like today:
Yep, there is still some work to do in the career and the love corner. As regards my career I am taking it in small steps. I’m not the big-gesture, leap-of-faith kind of person. As regards love, well, that will just have to happen naturally. Until then I feel calm and optimistic that things are at least heading in the right direction. And that is way more than I could say just one or two years ago.
So, all in all, I’ve added quite a few inches here and there. Without realizing it I have managed to make my wheel turn much more smoothly in the process. It’s still not perfectly round and I doubt it ever will be. I’ll run over hill and dale, sticks and stones which will surely take a bite off, here and there again. But I have learnt how important, how very, very important it is to always try to keep the wheel well rounded.
So that I can rock and roll with it through life, along the path I choose to travel.
What does your wheel look like? Here is a great online tool to visualize it.
Feature image © Pixabay/PaliGraficas