I’ve said many times that this notion we have of balance is active and not a point of stasis. But sometimes balance is easy, once you get the hang of it, like riding a bike. Other times it’s like crossing a rope bridge on a windy day with a big pack.
This season my experience of balance has been a lot more like the latter example. I’m off, the world is off, my home is off, it’s just crazy. I suspect I took advantage of the little surgery I had to just check out for a bit. Unfortunately that has made getting back on track even more difficult.
On the good side are my kids, my work and a lot of unexpected support. On the rough side is money, time, and overall despondency. I’m frustrated with people who are fixed minded about an issue that they clearly don’t actually understand. I’m frustrated with the vile, demeaning attitudes that people have decided are okay to unleash. I’m frustrated with the notion that being polite and having good judgement are somehow not positive attributes.
Then we do something like attend the Kaposia Gala. This is Orion’s day program and work placement group. I see Ramsey county, being the second county in the country to pass legislation allowing them to directly employ people with disabilities. I see a group of people encouraging young performers who have to work a little harder for clear speech or to get through a piece of music. I sit at a table with people in all manner of dress knowing that they all “dressed up” for the occasion, that what they have on is the best that they have.
When I speak with the disabled community, or those with chronic illnesses, I recognize that we share an understanding outside of “normal” experience. When I spend time talking with members at Gilda’s Club there is an inherent desire to make that most out of what we have. When I find the small things that make me smile I remember how important those small things can be.
So I struggle to stand in my own truth and not be blown over by the winds of the world. I shift and adjust and accommodate and work to hang on to the notion that things can be better. I go back to daily practices of gratitude and just take a moment to recognize all the privilege I have in my life. I may be swaying pretty heavily, but at least I’ve got a bridge.
Equinoxes are about balance. It’s the time where the amount of daylight equals the amount of night. The reminder of the season has me working on balance as well. I’ve finally gotten the internet back (knock on wood) and I’m actively trying not to let it absorb all of my time and attention.
I’ve written about balance, and about the fall equinox, many times before this. Sometimes lessons seem like the same things over and over again. But for me the reminders really do help. I still need to be reminded that balance is active, not static. One of the best ways for me to get that visceral understanding is to get on a boat.
Balance is about making sure that the list of things I need to do also includes time for my relationships. I am really bad about initiating contact, making the phone calls, checking in without a schedule. I also forget how much I need that interchange. I need to take time for the good conversations (and the hard ones). I thrive on sharing stories, information, lessons learned and lessons that we are still struggling to incorporate into our daily lives.
Balance is about finding time in between getting dinner on the table and earning enough money to pay the bills so that the floor gets swept and the laundry put away. Balance is about watering the plants, but not too much. It’s about bringing in the tomatoes before they rot on the vine and about drying the peppers before they go to mold.
In such a politically volatile climate balance is finding a way to be of service without overloading. It is about being firm and honest, and still polite. It’s not just the election. It’s the pipeline. It’s the nurses strike. It’s Black Lives Matter. It’s all the shootings, stabbings and bombings. Sometimes it is about shutting out Facebook (the wifi in your home going down is a really effective means of taking a break from the mudslinging).
Balance is about getting enough sleep. (I’ve had too many late night/early mornings in the last month!) It’s about taking the time for real food. (I’m pretty good about that, it’s just that I also try and do 6 other things while I’m eating it.) It’s about being in the moment. Sometimes that means writing things down so that you don’t have to hold them until you need them. Sometimes it means remembering to bring that grocery list with you when you go to the store.
So today I’m filling this blog with photos from sailing with friends. We need more “time out in nature” in our busy lives. We need to enjoy and appreciate our friends. We need to remember balance is active (like being on a boat) not static (like sitting on the ground). Have a happy Equinox!
Previous Fall Equinox posts:
The solution to the problem in the kitchen is clearly to do a remodel.
2 [ no obj. ] decide firmly on a course of action: [ with infinitive ] : she resolved to call Dana as soon as she got home.
That means calling contractors and getting bids to take to the bank to get a loan.
3 chiefly Chemistry separate or cause to be separated into components.
Components: Contractor, Banker, Clear the deed, Subordinate city loan, housing for Orion and I while the work goes on.
So far, so good.
• [ no obj. ] (of something seen at a distance) turn into a different form when seen more clearly: the orange glow resolved itself into four lanterns.
Contractors don’t want to waste their time writing up a bid on work that I 1. May not be able to afford or 2. May hire someone else for
The season is upon us and contractors already have work (with a GO) lined up.
There is probably more to do than I can afford and I have to prioritize.
This isn’t going to happen quickly.
The contractors who could do the work faster have larger teams/businesses and also larger prices.
Resolve: noun firm determination to do something: she received information that strengthened her resolve | she intended to stick to her initial resolve.
The only way this is going to happen is if I just keep plugging away at it.
Actually my whole life seems a little like this right now. I put the gardening on hold, not knowing what will be torn up. I can’t take it so I spent the weekend planting. I’ve mostly got things in containers, so they could be moved. But if this isn’t going to start until August I want tomatoes and basil!
The lawn has been mowed. That required having the tractor overhauled. The blades needed sharpening and there was a nut that disappeared.
The hose has a huge hole in it. It actually has for sometime. I bought a new hose long enough ago I can’t remember. I dug it out of the garage and hooked it up. It actually reaches everything! (Bonus, it doesn’t leak.)
Bills still need to be paid, and credit cards paid off – going back to the issues with the bank. I need to find time to write, time to garden, time to tend to Orion, time out for myself.
It all comes down to resolve.
When the sun is shining and the breeze is keeping the bugs away I have to remember not to play hookey from my life. I also have to remember to take a minute and appreciate the day.
I resolve to do both!
Definitions from the New Oxford American Dictionary
I don’t want to sit inside and write. It’s been unseasonably warm these past few days. Sunny and up into the 50’s! That may seem entirely reasonable, but typically we would expect another 3-8″ of snow in March not greening grasses.
Many of my friends are throwing open windows during the day just to air things out. I’d like to do that as well, but then there’s that little allergy piece. The warmer weather brings out all the mold. I’m not miserable yet, but I can feel it in the air (and in my eyes and in my breathing.)
I’ve been out and about quite a bit in the past week, birthday dining. I went to tea with a good friend. My kids took me out to dinner. There were seasonal rituals with much feasting (not really birthday related, but this one happens every year in competition with my birthday weekend so I’ve adopted it.)
I picked up some tulips at the grocery store to brighten my inside. Since the kitchen is becoming more and more useless I need the “pick-me-up”. I’m anxious to spend another day buried in seed catalogs and garden designs.
The spring thaw is an important lesson in balance. It’s easy to pick up a cold when the allergies are threatening the immune system. It’s easy to dress too warm, or not warm enough. It’s easy to put off the things that need to be done and just sit in the sunshine.
It’s too early to be out planting the gardens yet. Patience is part of the lesson here. It’s probably fleeting. Chances are very good we still have some freezing days ahead. Theres an unsettled feeling. A sense of growth, bursting forth that isn’t quite ready to happen.
The equinox is still a few weeks away, so spring isn’t officially here yet. Even when it comes, experience tells me that it won’t necessarily feel like it. Still the sun is shining, the days are longer and it doesn’t hurt to enjoy it while it’s here.
Happy birthday to me! I started the week ready to celebrate. There were meetings, cake, cupcakes and not enough protein. I neglected to take photos. I’ve always believed that the older you get the longer you get to celebrate. I do have plans for high tea this week along with a dinner out with the kids.
There seems to be a gap, a gap between expectations and reality, a gap between celebrating and aging. I’m a year past my last brush with cancer. I’m celebrating. I’m grateful. I’m thinner, have more energy, get a lot more accomplished and have better general health. I’m also ordering off the senior’s menu.
I’ve chosen to apply my birthday celebration logic to bridge the gap. Every time this year I order off a senior menu I’m officially celebrating my birthday. WOO HOO! Honestly, the smaller portions make a lot more sense post bariatric surgery than they would have without it. Another thing to be grateful for!
Gap number two is the time vs money gap. There is a saying if you have the time you don’t have the money, if you have the money you don’t have the time. I have found this to be generally true, although lately I’m feeling like I don’t have either. Clearly I need another round of rescheduling and rearranging priorities.
I’ve started seriously working on my next book – about Daily Practice. You would think that if I’m writing about it I ought to be able to put some of those things I’m writing about into play. That helps with the time piece, but doesn’t address the money part. I’m afraid if I go out looking for the part-time job that would bridge the money gap I’ll lose the time I’m spending writing. Such a dilemma!
I could also write like a mad fiend and then work like crazy to promote the new book. I could create opportunities to speak on the topic, and get paid for it. I could invest in my new lifestyle vision. It sure sounds good on paper!
The time vs money dilemma runs me headlong into the third gap. Which is an actual gap – as my kitchen cupboards are slowly falling off the wall. I’m looking at a major expense, no two ways about it. My kitchen was “old” when we moved in 23 years ago. It needs a serious remodel. Lot’s of planning (and time) and potentially moving for a bit. Certainly there is deciding what stays out and what gets packed away.
Disruptions happen, it’s part of life. Finding the way to stay on our feet, keep moving forward, continuing our Daily Practice, that’s balance. It’s an active word. It’s about making choices. So I go back to the first gap and decide I’m old enough to have earned a new kitchen for my birthday.
Happy birthday to me!
Have you ever had that perfect storm of a day where every one thing adds on to the trouble of the last, ending in disaster? Have you ever had a lovely simple plan fall into a deep abyss of obstacles and limitations until you just had to let go?
That was last Friday for me. I had the perfect storm of physical trauma and pain landing me in the ER for the weekend. Now I’m back at Monday knowing the only thing I can do is pick up the pieces.
Resilience, the ability to recover quickly, to bounce back, is easy to measure in physical terms. It’s harder when you start looking at bouncing back from an emotional blow. The thing is, we live in our bodies and very often those physical traumas carry an emotional impact as well.
I find it helps to recognize that I have choices about my point of view. I can choose to see this as starting over from scratch, or I can choose to see it as a fresh start. I can choose to focus on the limitations or I can be grateful for all the help and support I receive. I can choose to continue to be miserable, or I can choose to pick myself up and move forward – wherever that might take me.
It’s like rebooting the computer. Sometimes things get stuck, there’s a little glitch. A quick turn it off and turn it back on again straightens the world around and gets things moving. I’d like to think that’s what this weekend was for me. A reboot. A little “enforced time out” to regroup and get my body back on track. A reminder to take things slowly and not try to do too much, too fast.
The tricky part is not to do too little either. It’s okay to get a little tired. It’s not okay to get tired because I’m bored from sitting around all day doing nothing. It’s okay to take it slow, it’s not okay to always take the easy way out. It’s another one of those balancing acts that changes every day. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised if I don’t always get it quite right!
This is my fourth posting about this time of year. You might think I’ve “said it all”. I call my page Spiral Visions for a reason. It seems every time I come around I am never quite in the same place. There is a shift in perspective. Sometimes there are new things to see. Some things take on more importance and others fade into the background. The beginning of August marks First harvest, the Wiccan holiday Lammas and for me always Corn on the Cob.
Because of my surgery I don’t get local corn this year. I did “cheat” and have a couple of cobs shipped up from Georgia right before I started my liquid diet. I ate it reverently and with a nod towards this time of year. It was a feast meal, for me, in advance. It didn’t get me off the hook though. I still had to do something to acknowledge coming around the wheel of the year again. So I meditated for a vision.
I saw a cornfield. Flying high above the corn was the Thunderbird. The Corn Mother walked out from rows and I asked her for rain.
She said, “What you are looking for is balance. Three weeks of rain and three weeks of sun is even, but it is not balance. It is balance the crops need to grow, balance the people need to thrive. You have no sense of balance. You delude yourselves with notions of “fair” and “equal”. You believe that balance is static, stable. You are only fooling yourselves. Balance is like standing on the water. It is always shifting, but the movements are small. Large shifts will dump you into the deep. You need to climb out of the deep you find yourselves in and learn again to stand in balance upon the earth.”
She reached her arms up and corn silk streamed down from her sleeves like wings. She reached for the Thunderbird, and he swooped lower. She did not fly and he did not land. That night, there was no rain.
It is balance I am reaching for, yet again. Specifically a balanced relationship with food and nutrition. More globally it is a balance about making heathy and sustainable choices.
Enjoy your first harvests.
Up in the North where winters are actually cold, walking on water in February isn’t really as dramatic as it sounds. But as a metaphor it seems to serve how I’m feeling today. On the one had I have been getting a lot accomplished in the past few weeks. I had an article published by the Pagan News Collective; I’ve done some research on publishers for my book and am preparing to speak to more later this month; I’m enjoying my new stove and computer and my taxes are with the accountant. Generally speaking life is good.
On the other hand, the one where walking on water means you’re out in the middle of a vast expanse of frozen wasteland with the cold wind blowing and no place to hide, I’m feeling a little lost. I’ve been doing enough writing outside of this blog that I’m not sure what to put in it.
This things are really good/ things are really bad dichotomy seems to run pretty dramatically through my life. Even when things are at there worst I’ve always been able to put together a list of some things that are really good. Even when things are at their best there’s always something that needs more work.
Looking at it across that vast expanse of ice it seems to be very obvious that it’s all about perspective. The really interesting thing is that perspective is something we ALWAYS have a choice about. It may be difficult to find an alternative perspective, but no one can take the choice of perspective away. It’s something that’s worth thinking about.
If we are the one’s who choose our perspective then why don’t we always choose the perspective that serves us best?
That doesn’t mean that we should all look at the world through rose colored glasses. But maybe choosing to look at the bad stuff with the intention to actually do something about it is better than looking at the “bad” stuff to prove how miserable we are. Likewise (and this is a big one for me) taking time to look at the good stuff and not worry about all the things still on the “bad” list.
So maybe instead of worrying about what I’m going to write for this weeks blog I’ll just get in line at the drive through. A cup of good coffee always brightens my perspective!
We are approaching the time of the autumnal equinox, a point of balance between the light and dark. The story of the grasshopper and the ant is set at this time of year. It is also the time of sorting the wheat from the chaff. So the point of balance also becomes a point of choosing.
When we think of balance , it’s comforting to think about stability. The balanced rock has been there for hundreds of years. Balance in design is demonstrated by the stability of a house of cards. Even in the face of change, balance is demonstrated by the buildings that still stay standing through the earthquake or hurricane winds.
Trying to balance a life feels a little more like juggling fire on a high wire. We are in motion, buffeted about by forces we can’t control or predict, and trying to keep several balls in the air at once. Living the still life of a meditative monk is not the goal most of us shoot for when we seek balance in our lives.
Often the balance in life also comes down to the point of choosing. Which ball do you choose to drop to maintain your balance? Do you stay on the wire or take a different path? Does moving faster make it easier to keep going? Are you the grasshopper this year or the ant?
Although no one in my household is currently tied to the school year calendar, I have definitely been enculturated. This is where the fun choices come in. I have a tendency to set up new projects to start at this time of year. This year I’ve even been inspired to take an adult education class. I’m also preparing a presentation at the Women and Spirituality Conference. I even got some business cards printed.
Starting new things and getting summer things put away in anticipation of winter challenges my balance. I have found myself less and less able to do the heavy lifting that goes with summer clean up. I have had to learn to let go when I don’t have the space or strength to get all the yard furniture put away in the garage before the snow. The plants haven’t been well weeded and aren’t getting covered when there are frost warnings. My priority is making enough room in the garage for the car.
This year, a big part of maintaining balance for me has been about learning to give myself credit for the things I do manage to accomplish. It’s easy for me to become overwhelmed with everything I don’t get done. Especially when I “should” myself about them. I come into better balance when I acknowledge the accomplishments with at least as much enthusiasm as I morn the shortcomings.
I’m big on efficiency. I like to find ways to do as much as I can with as little effort as possible. It’s another thing I like about balance. It’s precarious. It only takes a little push to send everything moving in a new direction. When the timing and direction are right, great changes can happen with the touch of a suggestion.