The Great Balancing Act


live-unbalanced-1080x670There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Every want and every desire carries within itself the potential to turn into an obsession. The discipline that checks can devolve into cruelty. Adherence to rules and standards can lead to peace but also to the bondage of servitude. In order to live successfully and enjoy the ride, you have to learn to find the balance.

It seems God rewards common sense. Intuitively we know when we are out of harmony with ourselves. We know that what starts good doesn’t always end well. We can exercise the muscle and damage the joint. As we traverse through the thrilling peaks of life, we know we cannot sustain them and soon fall headlong into the valleys. What blesses us most is the level ground, the flattened hills, the filled in depressions, the balance. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Yet excitement and enjoyment only, like the delusion of drugs, leads ever to some future collapse. Exhilaration must be followed by some settling or else your heart blows up. But if nothing ever spikes your heart you may as well be dead. You have to occupy the middle territory.

It seems God made the world a metaphor for proper thought. All around us nature teaches us balance as abundant foliage in the summer drops off in the fall to make way for the spring.  Holes soon fill in and high spots eventually get smoothed out. The tide rolls out and rolls back in again. The enjoyments of life follow the struggles and without the struggles there is no satisfaction. Every weekend is preceded by its weekdays. Waking and sleeping, working and playing, accepting and rejecting, all choosing, all deciding part of one and part of another resulting in a balance. And life, it appears, offers itself to the one willing to seek until eventually located, only to be required again later on.

It seems God has designed our bodies and our minds to require a balance and if not indulged, though working out of balance for extended periods, eventually breaks down and wears out forcing its owner to stop until the balance returns. If you have too much going on and you are working too long and too hard, at some juncture the machinery fails and a short bout with illness or some other malady forces you to reconsider. You can drive yourself to extremes in acquiring great wealth yet have no-one left to enjoy it with because the journey drove them all away. You can have so many resources that you can live in perpetual play, until your play turns into a drug addiction or obsession or any unhealthy overindulgence in something fun. Your vessel was designed for equilibrium.

It seems God endorses moderation. The developed world is consumed with the symbols of youth, with the top of the chart being physical fitness disguised as leanness, code for being thin! The trouble being that generally the thin ones are also the youngsters. The older you get, the heavier you get, the less desirable you become. It is the “thin culture.” Enter a vast population of people virtually starving themselves to achieve some artificial level of fitness reserved for people whose full-time job is fitness. That’s not to say there is something wrong with fitness, but when the fitness exceeds logic and good sense or is so extreme that it requires a fourth of your waking hours, it is functioning as a compensation for something else. Every diet craze is solved by the watchword – moderation. Perpetual dieting, the bane of rational activity, always requires a period of deprivation followed by a period of bingeing on everything forbidden during the deprivation phase. The question isn’t how thin you are, the question is what are you really after with your thinness? You can enjoy all things in moderation, which is more of a mindset than a restriction. Level your mindsets…

The great balancing act of life is more about you being in control than any other factor in a life of a million variables. You, being the boss of your own butt, decide just how much time and energy you will give to a thing. If the effort required overwhelms you, it is likely too much. If the effort required is barely noticeable, it is probably too little. Continuing to work at your job long after you have left for the evening may get lots of work done, but it will work you over in the process. Your enthusiasm and commitment may be rewarded until you slip a little and find out rather harshly that you are in fact replaceable if the need so requires it. Working hard certainly isn’t the issue but rather why you are doing what you are doing and whether you are controlling it or “it” is controlling you. The balance of life is found in control.

In the profound humanity of our existence, we all find ourselves pushed and pulled to one extreme or the other. We all traverse mountains and then fall into our self-made valleys. We all like our likes too much and discover ourselves controlled by something we used to control and enjoy. It is part of our human condition and all of the emotions and joy and disappointment and sadness that goes along with it. Yet, our humanity is one of the best things about us. We feel and thus we act. And in our honest feelings we make fine tuned decisions and subtle adjustments ever seeking that which makes us feel the best about ourselves. The built-in balance mechanism a gift from God.

The question to ask yourself is, “How do I feel?” If you feel out of balance, rushed and harried, you are, so honor your feelings and make the change. This isn’t a decision other people make for you, it is a decision you make for yourself. It’s your life my friend, so pursue the balance only you can demand for yourself and enjoy your ride. It’s not being egotistical. It’s being responsible.

Just some good thoughts…

 

Advertisements

Getting Outside of your Own Head…


get-out-of-your-head-540Your life was meant to be lived, not analyzed. The best parts of your earthly sojourn lie beyond your capability to find them out. Love and God (which are synonymous), compassion, tenderness, kindness, peace, and joy all are experienced in your heart, not just inside your head.  Inside your head rests that great mechanism for analysis, which, if left to its own devices, will wear your ass out! So, at certain times, it is necessary to get outside of your own head…

The sphere we occupy has become a frenetic jumble of information doled out to an increasingly thirsty world obsessed with more and more gulps of information. We’ve lost the ability to just sit with ourselves absent electronic entertainment. We’re like the perpetual flicker of the television image, flashing from thing to thing in an ultra-passive state of inactivity! We wonder why we can’t sleep at night or sit for an hour with absolutely nothing to do. It’s a tuberculosis of thought minus the cough. We’re troubled and endeavor to think ourselves out of our troubles with a troubled and overloaded mind. It never dawns on us that the solution to our problem is found in our revery; in our quiet moments of clear thought. Yet onward we march down a road with a thousand forks, each promising a better existence; a nicer life.

It’s no wonder that a chance return to nature softens our harried outlook and delivers rest to our weary souls. In God’s creation we are as we were meant to be. We stand naked before the expanse of vegetation appearing random yet carefully placed. The innumerable trees ask for nothing but for our thoughtful observation. The majestic mountains with their symmetrical yet asymmetrical peaks or the shimmering sun lowering itself onto the gray, bubbly ocean speak to us in words we cannot form. They abhor our analysis and seek only to be enjoyed. All of life follows this sublime, experiential effect.

There is, of course, a time for our analytical thought, but that time has an end point. Otherwise we remain at work; a different work without break or lunch or shift’s end. We imagine we are accomplishing so much, but like the machine that runs around the clock, we finally seize and die. Our tasks have no conclusion, our thoughts never rest. Yet it is in rest and inactivity that we recharge. When we recognize, at last, that there is nothing we so urgently have to do, that we are finally free to accomplish.

It’s by no mistake that we feel the ever pressing urge to recognize the danger that may come our way, but our minds are too hurried to discern the real signs. We run from this and hide from that, never seeing what we were meant to see, but instead seeing everything else. We have an ideal that we fantasize, yet cannot reach it amidst the clamor! We want to love and be loved but have no time for it. We seek for peace but look for it in gigabytes of electronic mumbo-jumbo. We promise ourselves a rest after the yard is done, the meat is cooked, the house is cleaned and the final tasks have been wrapped up. Yet, to our dismay there is always another task, another job, another beckon for our immediate, rapt attention.

The most profound example is found in our children, who are really younger forms of ourselves before the information got to us. They have not yet lost the ability to turn on and off their thoughts in the spur of the moment. They can be engrossed in the Xbox one moment and lost in the fun of the playground the next. They are sure of what pleases them and pursue it wholeheartedly without worry or fear of some pending doom in the future. They don’t seek to arduously analyze their trouble, they simply ask for help. They haven’t yet falsely assumed that it is their lot in life to know everything that is going on at every particular moment. They simply exist with a joyful, exuberant confidence that they are always going to be okay. They have no factual basis for their belief, they choose rather simply to believe.

When you find yourself trapped in your own head, buzzing about from thought to thought, give whatever is eating away at you to God. Toss it away from yourself like you do when you accidentally discover you’ve grabbed something you’re not supposed to touch. The grasshopper that lights on your arm with his prickly feet and his foreboding tobacco filled tongue, must not be run through your high-powered processor, but clutched and discarded with all vigor! (smile) Neither would you spend an hour pondering why he chose to land on you. You simply dismiss the thought and return him to his natural habitat. You, being solely responsible for you, must also always seek to be returned to your rightful habitat.

Get outside of the confines of your own woefully limited thinking and look up or outside of yourself. Stop dwelling and rehearsing and ruminating and move on. How many of us have laid paralyzed in the morning, unable to sleep while being haunted by the possible disasters of the day, after finally deciding to get up, are immediately encouraged and blessed by the sanity of real experience? We look back upon our waking fits with a sort of embarrassment and shame. Getting up simply got us out of our own heads and worries and fears. So get up from the frightful, illogical horrors of your own mind and live. Get out there and see what is all around you. Know that wherever you are, God is there and that there’s nothing too big for Him!

The information age has certainly taken its toll on us, but it cannot overtake us, if we so choose! Make time for real things with real people in real life and escape from its electronic counterfeit. Turn off the news. Refuse the Facebook debate! Stop filling your head with predigested information and read a book instead. This life, no matter the age we live in, ever has the promise of new possibility, hand in hand with your God and mine…

Experience love and joy and peace and bliss. You can, you should!

Just some good thoughts…