Balancing Act… my little story
Balance. Quite a serious study for me, actually. Not simply a goal, not merely something to achieve, but an out-and-out way of life… maybe even a bit of a cult, if you will. As I look back and gather my thoughts, I realize the focus has been in these three areas (generally):
- Physical Organizing…house, chores, child, husband, work, exercise, and the Trash-vs-Donate pile (a sign over our garage reads: Take cover, we’re not sure what’s in here).
- Food…give-up/add-in… forever/whenever… wheat/sugar/dairy/meats/greens/reds/purples… vitamins/no vitamins…. every other week/month/year/decade (chocolate-covered raisins, excepted).
- Imaginary Organizing…as in, my calendar.
You see, I have a deep-seated-, somewhat perfectionistic-, search-for-sanity-driven belief that if I spend an appropriate amount of time in each of these areas, my life will flow in such a blissful and fabulous manner that little birds will flutter around my head bringing great joy.
Fueling my obses-, uh… interest, has been all the information out there about Balance and I’ve learned quite a bit. Quite a bit, indeed.
In fact, I’m now ready to share one of the most amazing things I’ve ever came across because I want everyone to live a blissful and fabulous life accompanied by joy-bringing birdies.
It hasn’t worked….not ever!
Not the 7 steps for this or the 26 notions for that or the 1001 best ways to fold socks. And let me just say that never have I seen a birdie flutter even four feet from my head that wasn’t looking for ephemera for its nest.
Now, this isn’t for the lack of trying (I mean me, not the birdie):
- I took classes. I went to seminars. I did retreats.
- I dressed for success in my skirted suit and soft-leather briefcase (red, if you must know).
- I learned to map, to schedule, to put myself last…and then first.
- I color-coded and cutified my filing system with imaginative names until I had no idea what was supposed to be filed in there.
- And after that little adventure, I dutifully zapped it all for manila and white and black and the plain ol’ alphabet (and I still can’t find anything).
Then I got married and was in balance-attempt heaven – that is, until I tried to balance my spouse (which went over really, really well). So, instead, we had a baby and I applied my vast balancing knowledge to motherhood…except instead of things going smoother, I lost all sense of equilibrium and worried about the cutting boards not being oiled enough (HGTV at 3:00 am). This led me to balance support groups with their 7-1/2 daily Steps to Balanced Bliss, but about half-way through the steps, I stopped being interested.
Of course, this story wouldn’t be complete without the 327 basic or quirky or success-oriented or golf calendar planning systems I purchased sure to make my life easier… which I’m sure they would have… if I could just have found the time to enter information into the system, understand how to use the system, and – ultimately – remember where I left the system.
I wouldn’t give up, though. I BELIEVED. “They” said it was doable and “They” were the gods and goddesses from the Land of Balance. As each new idea popped into the mailbox (actual and, then, virtual), I’d pull my dang bootstraps up over my shoulders, grab my “Balance or Bust” banner, and march on.
After years and years of this I started noticing something. Not only was life not blissful, not only was it not as fabulous as all those magazine articles, not only did life feel increasingly UNbalanced, I couldn’t find a joyful little bird to save my life.
One day the realization came that the focus of my life had become about obtaining balance instead of, say, living an actual life. It was all an act – not something a card-carrying balance-addict wants to know.
At first, I had a huge tantrum, did my share of teeth gnashing, and nearly threw in that spiritual towel.
BUT THEN… (dum, dum, duuuuuuum)…. life changed … or, rather, I began to change my life.
I got honest with myself and began exploring anything that began with “should.” Negative thought systems, thinking someone else had all my answers, habits and patterns that brought stress – nothing was sacred. My goal was, and still is, to live from my unique perspective… which meant I had to give up the concept of a perfectly balanced life.
Which sucked… at first… and then I started feeling something different. I started feeling freer. And more creative. And I laugh more. And it aint’ perfect at all but since I’m not havin’ a cow every other minute I can see the many possibilities ahead of me and take action based on what inspires me most.
Of course, I’m still looking for the perfect calendar system… (some addictions die hard)… dunno… maybe I’ll just have to create it.
In the meantime, I’ll continue living a Rarely-Balanced life….and lovin’ it!
© Beverly Belling 2012, all rights reserved
all photos and drawings are original and property of Beverly Belling unless otherwise noted