When I was in high school, I went to see a chiropractor. I was captain of a club soccer team and the kicker on the high school football team. And my hip was hurting. It had been for almost a full semester. My parents and coaches were getting worried.
I’ll never forget that chiropractor visit, because what he said to me sounded straight out of a science fiction novel.
“One of your legs is a little longer than the other.”
It turns out that my hip and back were out of alignment and, as I result, I was literally walking around unevenly. Imperceptibly uneven. He popped all of the things back into place and, other than some soreness, the pain was gone.
As we pursue success and meaning in our lives, we often feel the pain and confusion of inconsistency. Although we may not know what to call it, or even that it is possible, it is often an absence of alignment that has us limping.
Laying the Tracks
We are tracklayers in our own lives. We build toward the outcomes we experience.
Imagine what it would be like if rail workers built a little bit of track to the northwest, another patch in the southeast, and another three counties over. The train wouldn’t go anywhere.
This is often how we approach laying track in our own lives. We do our best to set up something at work that feels comfortable, safe, and relatively meaningful. When we get home, we put on a totally different toolbelt and do the same, but in a different way. Then we have our friends. Vacation mode. Home with the parents. And on and on.
To make a complicated life more confusing, we are also trying to balance how to live our best life without being self-centered. How do we take care of ourselves, be aware of our limits, and love who we are without being conceited and self-contained? How do we love others while upholding boundaries?
It all looks different in our different settings, which is totally appropriate when handled correctly.
What is missing is alignment. We do not see how our work, our relationships, our free time, our self-stewardship, and our service are connected. How do they work together?
It often seems as if we are choosing between all of these realities. We visit one silo and then another, trying to keep the plates spinning in each (excuse the mixed metaphor here).
We run around, trying to perform in each of these areas, not realizing the key to thriving in each is to lay track connecting them all.
So, what is it that connects our work, home, and social life? What is it that binds being true to our self and sacrificing for others?
When we talk about a Transcendent vision and a set of values, we are talking about essential tools for how to structure alignment in your life. These are the things you carry around with you, whether you realize it or not, whether you name it or not, whether you are intentional about it or not.
The magic of alignment comes when we are clear within ourselves about why we do the things we do. How our values apply at work, home, social settings, etc. What is the opportunity to participate in our Transcendent vision in all circumstances and areas we encounter?
If we are not intentionally asking these questions, pursuing the answers, and communicating this within ourselves, we will start to walk off course. We will encounter unnecessary pain and confusion. But if we align with intention, we will set an effective track toward healthy and vibrant living.