Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Balanced Life...

I've heard it said that balance is the point some people run right past on their sprint from one extreme to the other. And, I try hard for that not to be true for me, but I'm afraid it applies sometimes. Thus, I am able to recognize the trait well in others. School districts and some other politically motivated institutions are infamous for this particular quirk of character... Not just my school district... In fact, not just school districts at all... But, it is a trend that promotes terrible stress for everyone, ultimately leading to less productivity and (I'll go out on a limb here and suggest- GASP) maybe even a decline in student achievement... The exact thing the organization was trying to "fix" in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. I am certainly no expert on how to achieve the fleeting concept of balance. I get one area clicking along, and really start to feel successful and competent, when something breaks lose in another area. Maybe that is just life. Mostly I try today to offer myself the same forgiveness and compassion for my mistakes that I generally offer to others.

Beyond that, I try to practice balance... And, practice~ just like with students~ means exactly that... Practice. Not perfection. Not mastery. Practice.

My life is very busy. And, the busy-ness of life usually serves to throw me perpetually and evermore entirely out of balance. But, I'm learning that balance isn't about sitting pristinely on the fulcrum... It is about learning to adjust myself on one side of the beam to meet whatever situations are currently resting on the other side.

Life and its expectations are consistently changing, challenging me to sort out what is most important in the moment and for the future. And, sometimes I must concede that I cannot do it all. Or, at least, I cannot do it all well. Caring for the girls' medical needs, sorting out insurance, taking care of my home, spending time with my family, teaching and devoting an "appropriate" amount of time to my job (Teaching, and all it encompasses could easily take every bit of my life if I allowed it), engaging in things I enjoy, and taking care of my body, mind and spirit... It's all a balance. And, if I devote too much time and energy to any one of them, I am neglecting something else.

Honestly, having Micah at an "advanced maternal age", and Danielle's declining lung functions helped bring more balance into my life. I really have a sense of what is important, and what is much less important. I don't want to miss any moment with my kids. Never have I regretted spending time with Dave, shopping with Sarah and Dan or playing blocks with Micah in lieu of writing lesson plans, doing laundry, or cutting out laminating. Attending church, meditating, writing, reading... All of it recharges me so I have the energy to call back yet another medical provider or insurance representative.

The other thing that I'm learning about balance is that I must remain "mentally" balanced. When people have expectations of me, I can try to meet those expectations, but if I fall short, beating myself up about my shortcomings is completely unproductive. I cannot give all of my mental energy entirely to any one endeavor. I need to be vested in whatever I am doing in that moment. And, if I am not involved in the activity in the moment, I really don't need to invest a lot of energy dwelling on it. Further, constantly feeding myself a mental barrage of all I need to do only leaves me feeling overwhelmed. Making a list, working on the things I can, and being centered in the "Now" helps me feel competent and balanced... Being in the moment generally results in my presenting my best self and conceding that I am not in control. God's in charge, and I try to work as His servant. It's the best I have to offer. And, it is sufficient!

I have friends who are currently struggling with balance, and I would offer this suggestion... "They" can't have your mind if you don't let "them". You are worthy. You are good. You are doing exactly what you need to do in the moment. If you aren't, you know that too... You don't need anyone else to tell you. Be kind to yourself. Realize you can only do the best you can... And, your best is good enough. It is all God wants from any of us.

"Evermore in this world is this marvelous balance of beauty and disgust, magnificence and rats." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein

"There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves." - Frank Herbert

~Namaste', my friends...