Sunday, May 16, 2010
Out of Balance
The reality of how out of balance I am became apparent this morning as I was taking my granddaughter home after an overnight visit. I was taking her home early because I had work to do and errands to run. Yesterday we went to the lake, had a sushi picnic and watched a movie of her choice. It was a nice time but I was only partly there and partly wishing I could get on with my work. On the longish drive home this morning, she began to open up to me about her life. She's 8-years old and half of her life has been spent in chaos created by the adults around her. She's a bright kid, but like most 8-year-olds, she's awkward, messy, noisy, self-centered and overly-dramatic. She's the type of kid who gleefully tells me my hair looks like a bird's nest and that there are hairs growing out of my chin. Basically, she's a normal kid but she's having a hard time and when we stopped at a fruit stand and she was messing around with a piece of ice on the sidewalk, she unconsciously drew a heart ... broken into two pieces.
I suddenly realized that I was putting work and errands ahead of spending real time with her. She is more important to me than the errands I needed to run and the work that remains undone but my actions were telling a different story. It was too late to undo the taking her home early mistake but on the way back, after running my very important errands, I decided to get my life and my thinking back into balance. So the boxes and bags of stuff from the errands are scattered across the kitchen floor while I sit on the deck listening to the birds sing, sipping fresh berry lemonade trying to figure out how to bring back balance.
My first reaction was to do a 21-day "balance boot camp" ... to eat right, exercise regularly, meditate and blog daily, and make a lot of art. In other words live perfectly ... make up for my imperfections by being totally, completely, unquestionably perfect and balanced. It didn't take long for me to remember I've tried being perfect ... many times ... it never worked before and I know it wouldn't now.
But as I watched the trees with the leaves moving gently with the breeze, I was reminded that balance is not about rigid control, it's about flexibility and allowing everything to always be slightly out of balance as part of the continual shift that is balance. As much as I admire people who can say, "I've exercised every single day for the last 30 years," that's not me and it's not my form of balance. There's a mobile hanging over my kitchen sink and it has several pieces of minerals hanging from it's arms. If you push one part of the mobile, it swings wildly out of balance and then gradually comes back to a gentle motion moving to the unseen currents of the kitchen air.
Perhaps that's the balance I seek, keeping all the pieces of life that are important to me in motion and flexible. Letting life's currents send one piece into play for awhile and then another so that it's the gentle, unpredictable action that makes it interesting and in the long run, balanced. My life as a mobile is much more compelling than a 21-day boot camp, but less dramatic and probably requires more awareness and a moment-by-moment reflection on what's important and how I'm spending my time and my energy.