A friend of mine sent me her writing today about balance. I loved it. So many things she said applied to me: my historic addiction to crisis management for crises that I created for no apparent reason, involving myself in the business of others whether they wanted me to or not. Like her, my life was lived on the extremities and for a long time, anything less felt like a kind of living death. And I can still go there...if I am not careful to watch where my feet are...
What I have realized about balance is that if I am ever to do an inventory about my life and find it to be in balance, I have to keep the timeframe narrow, like 24 hours narrow. The only way I am ever going to be able to feel balanced or really correctly gauge where I am on the whole balance subject is if I keep the timeframe short.
When I stretch out the time too long, all I can see is imbalance and a fair amount of chaos. Mine and others. Monthly living or even weekly living is just too much for me. I have to stay in the day. Right here, in this likely monotonous day that will not be particularly different than yesterday or tomorrow. But this is where my life happens. Every day a new beginning for me to work on the stuff that vexes me. Every day a wrap up of all I tried to accomplish and somewhat succeeded and somewhat failed. Every day at the end of the day, I know as I inventory the day, exactly where I got it right and where I got it wrong.
What I love about the day at a time living is that I can make immediate changes that produce effective results now. I do not have to wait until next month or year, I can rectify what I did shitty yesterday today. The day at a time living is also keeping me from losing my mind currently. If I try to think about how much longer we are going to be in this COVID crisis, I might go completely insane. But if I just take the day I am given today and appreciate it and work my best efforts to make it a great day for myself and those I have contact with, the day seems much more full instead of empty. There seems a purpose and cadence to the day when I just focus on the next 24 hours, that goes completely missing if I am thinking about Friday or even Wednesday.
Balance comes for me but only in 24 hour increments. I have to stay in the day I am in if I want to find and experience the illusive creature we call balance. Right now, it is the only place I can find it and the only place I can make adjustments if I ascertain that I am off course, off the beam and generally lost.
And I feel the lost a lot these days. It is easy for me to lump the passing days into an endless stream, a review of the passage of time, punctuated by health crisis spikes and political shitshows. But really, my life, is just fine. I am here breathing, living, working, parenting, staying sober, taking care of myself as best I can. Trying to reach out to others to bridge the chasm of social isolation. Trying to provide myself and my kids what we need to call it another day and be positive about what we gave the day just passed.
As always, I am more concerned with what I get out of it, rather than what I put into it, but the end results will always be directionally proportional. The days that I am present, available, willing to serve while taking care of the fundamentals of my life: rest, nourishment (physical as well as spiritual), laughter, connection, loving concern, self care as well as extending myself to care for others, results in a day well balanced and it isn’t even hard. But if I hit the day ignoring the building blocks of my own internal condition, the day does not come off very well and I am at odds with even the limited amount of people I have to deal with on a daily basis now.
Balance, I find, is not really illusive at all. It is right here in this moment and all this moment contains. It is here with me and I can either ignore it, fight it, disconnect from it or rail against it, but balance doesn’t leave me really. It is just very easily left to be idle while I chase myself around with distractions that never lead me anywhere except into the prison of my own mind. Balance requires that I do the things that I know support my overall goal of being physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy every single day. The choice will always be mine to reach for the thing that feels exciting while ignoring the somewhat banal building blocks of a stable life. The choice will always be mine. However, the longer I am here, the less I want to climb the peaks and ride down into the valley. The more content I am to just sit here doing the deal one day at a time. Trusting the divinity that got me this far, taking care of myself and those I am responsible for and trying to reach out to others on the path who might need a friendly call or message.
Life is dramatic. It is just how life is. And I can allow this innate quality to sweep me away and off to places far more exciting than right here, right now. But, for me, that throws me into chaotic disorder that causes me to become emotionally unwell. By best and most useful life is lived right here in this day. Attending to the details of the day with a devotion that insists that faithful tending brings about the contented life I seek. Right here, right now. Tomorrow will come and my best chance of balance tomorrow is balance today.