Monday, January 17, 2011

it all hangs in the balance

As I was (rather comedically) trying to hang on to a yoga pose in one of my P90x videos the other morning, I got to thinking about balance. Or, rather, the lack thereof. The fact that, when I really think about it, most of my major resolutions for 2011 all hinge on the notion of balance, actually. Work/life balance. Spiritual balance. Emotional balance. Physical balance. 2011, for me, is all about the attempting to push the scale from lopsided to a little more evened-out. Attempting to achieve some sort of balance amidst all the things in this crazy life that aim to tip our see-saw one way or the other.

1. Physical Balance
Put me out on a field or a court and throw some sort of ball my way and I tend to be able to (at least 95% of the time) look pretty coordinated and balanced. But athletic balance, I've learned, is much, much different than real-life balance. You know, the ability to walk down a straight street without tripping kind. That, my friend, is something I've yet to master. Or even start to obtain. (If you don't quite believe me, I have plenty of scars, pants with ripped knees and even a ankle x-ray to prove it.) Balance is not one my strong suits. Or, as my family has taken to reminding me: Grace is definitely not my middle name.
So, as much as I hate it, I'm attempting to incorporate yoga into my routine. To balance out my body. To strengthen my core. To push myself in ways that may typical running or weightlifting isn't quite accomplishing.

I've got the mat. I've got the pants. And I've got a Groupon for 5 classes to kick it off.

Now, I just need to find a Wednesday that I can actually leave work in time to make the 7:45 beginners class.

Which brings me to the 2nd resolution...

2. Work/Life Balance

It's two weeks into January and already this year feels like the longest year in the history of my world. (Except, perhaps, my 20th year when I just couldn't wait to be 21 already.)
Whatever refreshment I felt after my holiday time off is a distant, distant memory. Work, officially, is kicking me in the butt. And while I'm trying to keep my outsides smiley and cheerful, my insides are grouchy, exhausted and on the brink of throwing my papers up in the air, running to the elevator and disappearing for a couple weeks.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a workaholic. Work is the one place in my life where I feel like I have it all together. Where I feel successful. Accomplished. Ahead of the game. But even that's not enough to combat that feeling that something's just not right when I spend just about every waking minute at work. When I neglect friends and family because there's one more thing I should get done before I leave tonight. When I can't remember the last time I left a work email unanswered because I was "off the clock".

I've gotta find the balance. I've got to stop shoving a work-out into the wee hours of the morning because that's when I know I'll actually get it done. I've got to stop canceling plans at the last minute because I'm stuck at the office. Or, worse yet, neglecting to make plans because I anticipate I will be.

The funny thing is, over break, I actually got pretty used to not being at work. And I realized that I could really, really like my life even if work wasn't a part of it. That's not saying I'm going to go quit my job and throw caution to the wind (unless, of course, one of these 5 lotto tickets is a big winner)... It just means I'm going to try to remember that defining myself outside of my job is just as (if not more) important than defining myself at work.

And so, like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, I'm chasing the elusive work/life balance.

3. Emotional Balance

I'm not completely sure how to classify this, but "emotional" seems as good a word as any, so here goes... It's really, really easy to get caught up in the me-ness of life sometimes. You know, the tendency to focus on what's happening to you and not take a step back to look at the bigger picture. I'm just as guilty as the next person when it comes to focusing on the bad, not the good. That's not to say that I walk around all sad and depressed all the time. In fact, I'd like to think that's not the case at all. I'm just saying that I have more than enough times when I find myself all caught up in how unfair things seems to be for me. (Sob.) I want to more willingly accept the fact that life, indeed, is incredibly unfair. Especially when you look at it from a limited, personal perspective. Any one of us can find 100 things to be upset or discouraged or down about. But we could also find a gazillion things to be happy about. To thank our lucky stars for.
I want to concentrate more on those things. More of the time.

4. Spiritual Balance

I'm trying to get better at the trusting in a higher plan. In letting go. And letting God. But it's a real struggle for me. I like to control things. I like to plan things out. I like to know where I'm going. And how I'm going to get there. Trusting, for me, is easier said than done. Even when it comes to God. I realize this is incredibly foolish, but it's the truth. It's like most of the time, I know and truly believe there's a bigger plan for my life and all these little things along the way are in pursuit of that plan. But sometimes, especially when I'm focused on the little things themselves, it's incredibly hard to see the bigger picture. Incredibly hard to trust that my utmost well-being truly is being looked after. I want something now. And God says "wait". I say "please". And God says "No, it's not best for you". It's that whole notion of learning to love and live the questions. So that, one day when the time is right, you'll eventually get the answer you need. Although perhaps not the answer you want right now.

And so I'm working on it. I'm praying about it. I'm trying to loosen the reins I have on my life because I know it's a silly thing. I'm trying to trust more. And look to Him for guidance when I can't seem to understand it on my own. Ultimately, I'm trying to balance this selfish, foolish desire for control with the trust and reassurance in His plan.


So those are the four big pillars that make up the mammoth balance resolution. I'm not saying it's an easy feat. But I do think it's an important thing to work towards, even if it may take a lifetime getting there.

Now excuse me while I go work on my Warrior II pose. (Grunt.)

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